As a Glaswegian to the core, it has been a tremendous source of pride that I have had the opportunity and the honour of serving this great city for almost 15 years. Earlier this week I was delighted to be re-elected by my SNP colleagues as the City Government depute leader. But I had mixed emotions as I also took that opportunity to inform them that I would not be seeking re-election at next year’s local election.

Back in 2007 when I first stood for election, the SNP had just a small hand full of councillors and the city was still in the 40-year grip of Glasgow Labour. I stood in those elections with no real expectation of being elected, let alone embark on a career.

That first term, like the vast majority of my SNP colleagues who had become elected representatives for the first time, I learned how to be an effective local councillor on the job, advocating for and working with grass-roots community organisations to help drive forward change.

Over those years, as we learned the ropes, the hunger for change in the way that our city had been run for decades became increasingly evident, leading to the historic breakthrough election of the city’s first SNP administration in 2017.

Since then, it has been my honour to hold the roles of Depute Council Leader and the chair of Glasgow Life. These have given me an opportunity to work on the areas of politics that I am most passionate about; supporting people, enabling communities, advancing the role of culture and sport in improving wellbeing. It has also given me with a platform to sell our city internationally, to increase Glasgow’s profile, influence and visibility, and attract significant events and investment.

The last few years has been a time of both challenge and progress for Glasgow. Readers will be familiar with the progressive policies introduced by the SNP City Government: from the equal pay settlement, our holiday hunger programme and bold new climate action. But there have been many smaller changes in policy, approach, and culture that I believe are just as important.

Policies like the introduction of a city charter and citizens’ panels, forging new relationships, and bringing arms-length services back in-house, have helped make the council much more open, transparent and democratic than the one I joined in 2007.

Work undertaken across the council such as the development of local food pantries, transforming dozens of old blaes pitches to state-of-the-art sports facilities, investing in local parks and committing hundreds of millions of pounds into new housing, are all contributing to a city focused on making communities better places to live.

The last few years have also seen Glasgow named the world’s leading events and festival destination, a Global Green City and the European Capital of Sport for 2023. Our global reputation has rarely been higher.

We have helped create the solid foundations on which our Covid recovery and rebuilding will take place and through which we will become a fairer, more inclusive, more sustainable, flourishing city.

I have dedicated much of the past year to supporting community and grass-roots projects here in my home ward of Pollok. The crisis which has engulfed us all has also given me a chance for reflection and I feel the time is right for me to take on a new challenges and seek new opportunities outside of party politics. But over the next 12 months I will continue to play my part in our city’s recovery and helping ensure that every single Glaswegian has the opportunity to flourish.