A SCOTTISH Labour MSP is to stand down from Holyrood after being defeated in his bid to become his party's deputy leader.

Richard Baker, who has represented North East Scotland for more than a decade, will not seek re-election next May, party sources confirmed.

He was defeated by the left wing Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley for the deputy post last month, despite strong speculation that he was the preferred candidate of Kezia Dugdale, who won the leadership in a landslide.

Eventually, Mr Baker came last of three candidates, winning 30.4 per cent of first preference votes and being knocked out in the first round of the contest. In the final round, Mr Rowley defeated ex-Glasgow Council leader Gordon Matheson by a margin of more than 10 per cent.

He stood for the deputy leadership after failing to swap Holyrood for Westminster at May's general election. Mr Baker, who is married to fellow Labour MSP Claire Baker, stood in Aberdeen North but lost to SNP candidate Kirsty Blackman in the former safe Labour seat, on what was a disastrous night for his party.

A former NUS Scotland President and press officer for Help the Aged, Mr Baker served as a director for the Better Together campaign during the referendum. During his time at Holyrood, he has held a number of high-profile roles within Scottish Labour including holding the party's finance and justice portfolios.

In 2011 he was threatened with legal action by lawyers acting on behalf of Buckfast tonic wine, after he blamed the caffeinated beverage for violence and anti-social behaviour and led calls for it to be banned.