Badenoch MSP Dave Thompson has announced that he will be standing down at next year’s Holyrood election.
The SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch revealed that he will be retiring just a short time ago.
Mr Thompson has been an MSP since 2007, firstly as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands from 2007 to 2011 and then as the constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch since 2011.
He has formally notified the SNP’s National Executive Committee of his decision and a candidate will be sought to replace him with nominations open in June.
Mr Thompson said: "It has been a great privilege to serve as an MSP, firstly as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands and then as a constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
"I joined the SNP in 1965, 50 years ago, and have gone through many ups, but mostly downs, until eight years ago when I challenged the Highland Returning Officer in 2007and forced a recount which led to me becoming the 47th SNP MSP, giving us a majority of one over Labour.
"This led to the first ever - minority - SNP government and to where we are today.
"I am particularly pleased that I broke new ground in 2011 by winning the former Lib Dem stronghold of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch for the SNP for the first time with a majority of 4,995, paving the way for the recent spectacular Westminster victory for Ian Blackford, over an almost insurmountable Charles Kennedy."
Mr Thompson is currently recuperating from a broken leg sustained playing football with his young grandson.
He said: "This has been a difficult decision but I believe that it is the right time for me to now hand over the baton to a younger candidate. The party has never been in a better position and I firmly believe that I will see independence in my lifetime.
"I will, of course, continue to be involved with the SNP and plan to spend more time helping to develop Christians for Independence, of which I am currently convener.
"I will be 66 at the time of the Scottish election and still have many things I want to do if the Lord spares me.
"Indeed, I am quite excited about embarking on a new phase of my life when I step down from the Scottish Parliament and I am sure my skills and experience will be put to good use."