July 4, 2023 - 3:00pm

The SNP MP Mhairi Black is to stand down at the next election, she told a podcast today. Speaking to Emily Maitlis on The News Agents, Black said that Westminster is a “toxic environment” which has had an adverse effect on her “body and mind”. 

Telling Maitlis that she was “tired”, the 28-year-old MP told Maitlis that her decision was a direct result of operating in “one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in” and “a poisonous place”. More, “you can never really switch off” around fellow politicians, according to Black, as they’re frequently “looking for [professional] opportunities” rather than forging genuine personal friendships. Going further in her resignation letter, the MP referred to Westminster as “outdated” and “sexist” and denounced the UK Government’s “cruel policies”.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South representative was elected in 2015 at the age of just 20, making her the youngest MP in the House of Commons for 350 years. She remained the youngest member of the House until Labour MP Nadia Whittome’s election in 2019. Since December of last year, Black has been the Deputy Leader of the SNP at Westminster

Black stressed that “I don’t regret spending any of the time doing what I’ve done” and “fighting for what I believe in”. She follows the party’s former leader in the Commons, Ian Blackford, who announced earlier this month that he would not be seeking reelection.

Reacting to Black’s interview, former SNP leader and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, “Both gutted and entirely understanding of this. Her reasons resonate.” Sturgeon described her as a “unique talent” and expressed the hope that her withdrawal from frontline politics would only be “temporary”. In her resignation letter, Black stated that her immediate political future lies “as a campaigner rather than a candidate”. 

is UnHerd’s Deputy Editor, Newsroom.