A SCOTTISH Labour MSP who had been seen as a rising star within the party has announced that he is stepping down from Holyrood.

Drew Smith, who was elected as a representative for Glasgow in 2011, said it had been a privilege to serve in the Scottish Parliament but that he was keen to seek "new challenges" after May's election.

The chair of the Trades Union Group of Labour MSPs, he was made the party's spokesman on the constitution in June 2013, a key position he held during the referendum campaign. Under Jim Murphy, he served as the then-Scottish Labour leader's parliamentary liaison and link with the Trade Unions.

He has largely avoided controversy during his time at Holyrood, having consistently made the lowest expenses claims of Glasgow's 15 MSPs. However, he faced calls to resign in 2013 after he was pictured taking part in a trade union protest outside the home of an Ineos director during Unite's bitter dispute with the owner of the Grangemouth complex. Mr Smith was pictured standing alongside a giant inflatable rat at the protest, but many condemned the union's tactics of targeting homes as being designed to intimidate company bosses.

In a statement, he said: "It has been an enormous privilege to serve as an MSP for Glasgow over the last four and a half years. For me, being an elected representative has been a privilege more than a personal ambition.

"It goes almost without saying that it's been an exciting and challenging time in Scottish politics, representing Glasgow has been my highlight, but I am grateful for the other opportunities I have had too, particularly serving as Chair of the Trades Union Group of Labour MSPs since 2011 and especially to have had a small part in the campaign for equal marriage which was won in this Parliament."