SNP: deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black to step down from 'one of the most unhealthy workplaces'

The young MP said she has spent nearly a third of her life in Westminster, "which gives me the ick"
Mhairi Black has announced she will step down at the next election (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Mhairi Black has announced she will step down at the next election (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Mhairi Black has announced she will step down at the next election (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black has said she will step down at the next general election, describing the parliament as “one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in”.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP was first elected in 2015, when a surge in support for the SNP saw the party win almost every seat in Scotland. At that point she was its youngest MP.

She broke the news of her departure on The News Agents podcast, telling host Emily Maitlis the culture in Westminster was "toxic".

“Honestly, because I’m tired is a big part of it. And the thing that makes me tired is Westminster," she said. “I think it is one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in. It’s a toxic environment.

“Just the entire design of the place and how it functions is just the opposite of everything that I find comfortable… It’s definitely a poisonous place," Black continued.

The SNP MP said while she trusts her parliamentary colleagues, those from other parties make it difficult for her to switch off, "whether that’s because of what folk can get away with in it or the number of personal motivations and folk having ulterior motives for things".

She added: “Given the unsociable hours that Westminster works as well, it feels like you’re spending a lot of your life there. In the run-up to the next election, I’ve realised, that will be almost 10 years that I’ll have been elected.

“So, a third of my life I’ve spent in Westminster, which gives me the ick," Black added.

Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was one of many who paid tribute to Black, tweeting: “Both gutted by and entirely understanding of this. Her reasons resonate.

“But what a loss of a unique talent, not just to the SNP but to politics generally. I only hope it’s temporary.”

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn simply tweeted that Ms Black is “in a class of her own”, while Scotland's First Minister and SNP leader Humza Yousaf highlighted Ms Black’s impact on politics, saying: “She has been a trailblazer – a passionate supporter of independence, equality, social justice, and simply of trying to make life better for her constituents and the wider Scottish public.

“She has also served as a role model for young people, especially women, with an interest or a desire to get involved in politics," he continued. "I know that Mhairi has been critical of the toxic, hostile environment of Westminster, which serves as an important wake-up call to those who are determined to safeguard our democracy.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.