Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell is to step down at the Holyrood election to spend more time with her family.

The announcement by the Clydesdale MSP means she becomes the seventh SNP MSP to confirm they will not be seeking re-election next year.

Her decision will reignite the debate over the difficulty of juggling the demands of family life with the pressures of Holyrood.

Last month, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross announced she is quitting Holyrood next year after serving a single-term to spend more time with her son.

Campbell, who has two sons and was the first Scottish minister to take maternity leave in 2014, said: “My husband and I are very fortunate – we have managed to find ways for me to do my job and have a family at the same time, with Fraser taking on most of the day-to-day parenting.

READ MORE: Holyrood: SNP MSP Gail Ross to step down at 2021 election

“But there is no getting away from the fact that the job – while immensely rewarding – is demanding in terms of pressure and time. I hope in future I can spend a little more time with my boys at home.

“So, after much consideration, now feels like a good time to prepare myself for taking a step back from frontline party politics and government.”

She added: “Once I stand down, I look forward to new challenges and, I hope, a better work-life balance – but until then, I will continue to work tirelessly for my constituents, and I will be pleased to continue serving in the Cabinet for as long as the First Minister wants me to.”

Campbell is the second Scottish Government minister to announce her departure in 2021.

Brexit Secretary Michael Russell said last week he would be stepping down as an MSP as it may be time for someone younger to “fulfil the demands of the constituency”.

The National:

Stewart Stevenson, former environment and transport minister, will retire at the next election, while Bruce Crawford, James Dornan and Richard Lyle have also ruled out standing again.

Campbell, who joined the SNP almost 25 years ago, said there had been “big changes” in the party and movement she signed up to as a “shy 15-year-old”, which she felt lucky to be part of.

She was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2007 – the youngest MSP to be elected for that session – and was appointed as Minister for Children and Young People in 2011.

In 2016, she became Minister for Public Health and Sport before taking up the role of Communities Secretary two years later.

Campbell said she was immensely proud to have been part of a government that has done so much to make Scotland a “fairer and more prosperous” country. She said examples of this included the “revolution in early years” – including an increase in childcare provision and the baby box – which would “leave its mark on Scotland for generations to come.”

She said: “Our work to support some of our most vulnerable children – raising the age looked-after young people can leave their care setting – is a positively life-changing action taken on the basis of listening and responding to the young people themselves.”

She added: “I’m also proud that the SNP has done so much to stand up for women, whether it is improving gender balance on public boards, action to tackle the gender pay gap, standing up for the pensions of the WASPI women, or opposing policies like the abhorrent rape clause.”

The National:

Campbell said her support for the SNP and independence is “as strong as ever” and she would continue to campaign for Scotland to secure its independence in the “not-too-distant future”.

She said: “I hope I have been a positive role model to younger people, and my message to anyone thinking of entering politics – particularly young women – is to go for it.

“It’s not always easy, and sometimes you really agonise over the decisions you take. But whether it is the relatively small victories you and your staff achieve on behalf of your constituents, or helping to drive forward transformational national policies in government – it is always, always worth it. Politics can – and does – make a difference.”

READ MORE: Gail Ross's decision to quit should spark rethink at Holyrood

However, her decision to quit is likely to promote further scrutiny of how family-friendly Holyrood is.

Unlike Westminster, where votes can go on through the night, the Scottish Parliament sits until 5pm on most evenings.

But when Ross announced her departure, she said her decision was due to the demands of travelling to Edinburgh and being away from home, sometimes for five days a week.

She said: “I want to be able to spend more time with my family, to watch my son grow up and to be more involved in local issues.”

Ross called for the use of video links to allow MSPs to video in to meetings and vote remotely, saying: “If we are to encourage into politics more young people with families who live far away from Edinburgh, this has to be considered.”

Last November, Campbell’s office in Carluke was vandalised, with a window smashed and “SNP out” sprayed on the building.