MacAskill To Stand Down As MSP

Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has announced he will stand down as an MSP at next year's Holyrood election.

The member for Edinburgh Eastern said he is leaving the Scottish Parliament to ''pursue new challenges'', but said he would remain committed to the campaign for independence.

MacAskill, 57, was succeeded by Michael Matheson as Justice Secretary in Nicola Sturgeon's new administration after seven and a half years in the role.

During that time he made the controversial decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, on compassionate grounds.

He wrote to constituency members last night to tell them of his decision to step down in May 2016, the National reported.

The former solicitor told the newspaper: ''I'm proud of the commitment and efforts I made, but it will now be up to others to take things forward.

''I am not leaving parliament to retire, but am leaving to pursue what might be considered a third career.

''Independence for Scotland will remain dear to my heart and I will be committed to it.''