I took several calls today from journalists asking if I would be putting myself forward for the East Edinburgh Westminster seat now that Gavin Strang has announced that after 37 years outstanding service to his community, he won't be standing again at the next election.
The answer is an emphatic no for one simple but crucial reason..If I were elected I would have to give up my ordination as a Church of Scotland minister. This is not a law of the church but the state. Along with Bankrupts, Peers and the mentally ill (oh and Church of England Vicars), I fall into the banned category. You can read a fuller list here
It used to be that a Church of Scotland clergyman had to demit their status when they were just a candidate, as Alistair Osborne had to do when unsuccessfully contesting Ayr in 1992, but recent legislation means we clergy can stand and only demit status (give up our vows) if we are elected. The new legislation can be seen here
That's all academic for me. I will give up a great deal to be involved in politics but I draw the line at loosing my ordination. I have always believed that I have never given up ministry, I simply live it out in a different way. To loose that understanding of being rooted in my sense of ministry would undermine any effectiveness I might have had should I have been elected an MP. That would not be a good start for any new political journey.
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