MY initial reaction to the news that Mhairi Black had decided not to stand as a candidate at the next General Election was one of sadness. However, having had a few days to reflect on the situation, a few questions have entered my mind. Firstly, if the environment at Westminster is so “toxic”, why stick it out for possibly another year and a half?

As best I remember, Mhairi became an MP in 2015 while still awaiting the results of her university degree course. She has had no real-world employment experience for comparison. As good friend of mine was very quick to point out “if she thinks being an MP is a difficult job, she should try being a nurse or doctor in one of Scotland’s A&E departments.”

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Mhairi is a member of a 45-strong group (44 this week) of SNP MPs. You would hope that there is some degree of strength in numbers with so many colleagues to share the load. I remember only too well stories of the treatment handed out to the late Winnie Ewing when she entered Westminster alone. There are around 30 bars and a number of rather nice well-subsidised restaurants in the Palace of Westminster. As my friend also said with a smile, “it must be a really awful place to work.”

My final questions to Mhairi would be: why did you stand to become the deputy leader of the SNP group when you saw you had no future at Westminster, and why did you rally the troops in Dundee, a couple of weeks ago, to join you on a campaign to win the next UK General Election when you had presumably decided by then not to stand in that election?

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The basic annual salary of a Member of Parliament is £86,584 plus expenses of course. I understand that MPs have rather generous pension scheme – no surprise there then! Ten years’ service (around the average tenure) will entitle an MP to £18,500 a year in retirement – a pretty impressive pension by today’s standards.

I wish Mhairi well in her early retirement but the old cynic in me sees her aiming for a safe SNP seat (if there will be such a thing) at the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2026 and maybe then a leadership bid.

Dr Iain Evans

MS Black is quite right to resign from that bastion of British Unionism and hatred of the SNP. Bring them all home from down there. With chaos, confusion and corruption at Westminster it is time to bring them all home. Bring back all the prodigious SNP talent we have down there. Use this political energy to increase popular support for indy. Let them campaign across the communities of Scotland. Bring them home and win sovereignty for Scotland. Follow the lead of Ms Black.

Thom Cross

READ MORE: IN FULL: Mhairi Black lays into 'sexist' Westminster in resignation statement

MHAIRI Black must think Yessers button up the back. A bonnie fechter maybe, but she is running away from the fight after barely taking part. She says she’s tired out by Westminster. Perhaps she is, but sadly she’s hardly been there to be tired of it.

A quick squint at Hansard shows she’s done less than a third of the work of some of her SNP colleagues. She was certainly well promoted under the previous regime but it has been sorely disappointing to many of us how little she’s actually done despite the opportunity.

She’s walking away now rather than fighting to retain her seat against the Unionist Labour Party ready to sell out Scotland even further. The only thing we can conclude from this is that the next Westminster election is going to be fought by an SNP team who think they are going to lose.

Like so much under Nicola Sturgeon, Mhairi Black was bluster over substance, she didn’t put in the work and it shows, and when things look tough and her local party look to her for leadership, she’s away. Hard work is never easy.

Ross James
via email

THE SNP’s independence convention was only a short time ago. A key part of it was a presentation by three SNP MPs – Stephen Flynn, Mhairi Black and Stewart Hosie – on how we were going to win the next General Election. Already two out of the three have announced they will not even be contesting their own seats.

Hardly a vote of confidence.

Brian Lawson

THE UK Government’s soundbite on Orkney discussed in Marjorie Ellis Thompson’s letter in The National on Wednesday actually means that after more than a decade of Tory government – totally devoid of integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level – democracy in Britain has been reduced to the point that it is no longer necessary for government statements to be true or even legally binding.

Liars cannot be called out and laws can easily be amended by the government, retrospectively if need be, in our archaic Westminster parliament.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

CONGRATULATIONS to BBC Radio Scotland, and in particular Bryan Burnett and his Get it On show on Wednesday night at 6pm, which celebrated 75 years of the NHS. The songs played, and the contributions from the radio audience, were very uplifting and appropriate for such a momentous occasion. The show can be found on BBC Sounds here. I can thoroughly recommend it to all, but suggest it should be compulsory listening for Good Morning Scotland producers and presenters, to hear the positive comments about NHS Scotland with many personal memories shared from the general public listening to the show.

Steve Smart
Newmachar, Aberdeenshire