FORMER Scottish LibDem chief Tavish Scott is to quit Holyrood to take up a role with Scottish Rugby.

The MSP’s resignation will mean a by-election in Shetland, the constituency he has represented since 1999.

Scott has been appointed as Scottish Rugby’s head of external affairs and will take on his new position in August.

He said: “Representing the people of Shetland has been my life for 20 years. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to have been Shetland’s MSP since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

“I want to thank people the length and breadth of the islands for their support over the years.

“The bread and butter of representing people is helping solve problems and making their case to government, organisations and businesses.

“I have always enjoyed the challenge of serving Shetland and it is the part of the job that I will, without doubt, miss the most.”

Scott, who served as the Scottish LibDem leader from 2008 to 2011, added: “There have been many highlights, wonderful moments and intense political drama that I would not have missed for anything.”

Willie Rennie praised Scott as a “loyal servant of the Liberal Democrats and the people of Shetland as a parliamentarian, minister and leader”.

Rennie added: “From the day the Scottish Parliament was re-established, he has put the people of his constituency first and campaigned fiercely on their behalf.”

One of Scott’s most notable achievements in his 20 years as an MSP was to have a “Shetland mapping requirement” put down in law.

Whenever public authorities now publish a map of the country, they cannot, unless they have good reason for doing so, put the islands in a box.

Instead, they must be displayed “in a manner that accurately and proportionately represents their geographical location in relation to the rest of Scotland”.