I am really sad today because John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, has announced that he is standing down at the next election.
I've always got on very well with John. He has been a very good constituency MP, but I also shared an interest with him on various issues. It was John who spoke at the anti Trident march in Edinburgh in November 2007 and who addressed the protest rally against the Israeli action in Gaza in January of this year.
I've also heard him talk several times about his trips to various parts of the world as he became more and more interested in international development issues. I wonder if he might turn his attention to that in his future career.
He's given a great deal to his constituents both as MP and Councillor and to the Party over the last quarter of a century or so. He also strongly supported the West Lothian party in as many ways as he could. He had been the candidate in Linlithgow in 1999 and subsequently always supported the local effort. During the Livingston by-election in 2005, he was an invaluable support.
The House of Commons will be poorer without him and I wish him well for whatever he chooses to do in the future.