DR RICHARD SIMPSON has confirmed he will not seek re-election at next year’s Scottish Parliament election.

The 72-year-old, who is the current list MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, will stand down after his present term expires in May.

Scottish Labour’s current spokesperson for public health, and former deputy justice minister, Dr Simpson served a total of 13 years at Holyrood.

He said: “It has been an honour and privilege to have been a representative for constituents over three parliamentary terms; the first in the first Scottish Parliament between 1999-2003 as the constituency MSP for the newly formed Ochil seat and then twice as a regional MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife between 2007-2016 “Constituents can rest assured that my staff and I will continue to work hard on their behalf up until my retirement next year.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support during my time in the Scottish Parliament.” After 29 years as a general practitioner, Dr Simpson was first elected in 1999 to represent the newly-formed Ochil constituency.

He then resigned in 2003 following a controversial row over striking firemen.

However, he returned in 2007 and come May will have served two full terms as a regional, or list, MSP.

As an MSP, Dr Simpson used his expertise as a GP and psychiatrist to inform public debate on a number of areas including alcohol abuse and youth justice and the NHS.

He was also founding member of Strathcarron Hospice in Denny has often called for reduced waiting times for those patients awaiting mental health treatments.

Recently, he introduced a Member’s Bill in the Scottish Parliament which would introduce new criminal justice measures to help tackle the country’s relationship with alcohol.

The Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) (Scotland) Bill would introduce banning orders meaning those who persistently break the law while intoxicated will be barred from entering certain pubs and off licenses.

The Bill would also compel courts to contact local GPs to inform them that a patient has been convicted of an offence of which alcohol was a contributory factor. The aim of this tactic is to ensure all problem drinkers have the support they need to deal with their health issues and prevent further offending.

However, he will also be remembered for curtailing a first minister’s question to Alex Salmond in 2012 to rush to the aid of a man who collapsed in the public gallery of the Holyrood debating chamber.

After attending to the man, he then returned to the floor to ask the former SNP leader to look into waiting times for those awaiting treatment for bowel cancer.