THE time I’ve spent as the Member of Parliament for Ochil and South Perthshire has been the greatest privilege of my life.

Now that your ballots have been cast and the election is over, I wish my successor well.

I’d firstly like to thank the 19,110 people who cast their votes for me last Thursday.

I’d also like to thank my fantastic campaign team for all their tireless work stuffing envelopes, delivering leaflets and knocking on doors, and of course my staff in Alloa who have worked so hard over the past two years to support constituents on a day to day basis. I’m grateful for all their help and support, which so often goes unnoticed by the wider public.

But mostly I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to be able to serve the people and communities here over the past two years.

While I’m deeply disappointed not to have secured a winning majority across the seat this time, I’m pleased that when the votes were counted last Thursday, the SNP won the clear majority of votes in Clackmannanshire.

In the past two years, I’ve been honoured to be able to support a range of individuals, local community groups and businesses to improve their lives and advance their work.

I’m glad to have been able to use my public profile to secure vital tax credits payments for families in need, and to pressure government to reverse perverse decisions which have left disabled constituents in absolute poverty.

I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact of volunteering on our communities here, from the selfless souls who give up their time and efforts to support their local foodbanks, to the inspirational but often unsung heroes and heroines who work behind the scenes to run the local gala days, sporting events and social outings which make such a positive difference to the lives of their friends and neighbours.

And I know of the huge economic opportunity here, based on the fantastic workforce and entrepreneurship that exists in our local business community.

While I won’t continue to represent Clackmannanshire in Parliament, I look forward to retaining and maintaining and nurturing the connections I’ve forged here since 2015.

Over the weeks and months ahead, I’ll continue to do what I can to make a local contribution, and play an ongoing part in improving the lives of everyone who lives and works here.

Those who’ve got to know me in this time will testify that I like to finish the tasks I’ve started. Now this particular election is over, that’s exactly what I’ll focus my attention on.