MSPs Ruth Davidson and Aileen Campbell have called on the Scottish Parliament to be more family-friendly to keep parents in politics as they prepare to step down next year.
Communities Secretary Ms Campbell announced on Sunday that she would not stand for Holyrood in 2021, citing her desire to spend more time with her family.
It came after Gail Ross, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, also announced plans to step down to have time with her family and watch her son grow up.
She said the demands of being in Edinburgh for much of the week have been difficult for her to deal with and called on Scottish Parliament bosses to consider remote voting and video meetings.
Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the Scottish Parliament needs to make changes if it does not want to lose talented people.
Ms Davidson, who said she wanted to see more of her family and young son when she stepped down as party leader last August, told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “I think in terms of the Scottish Parliament itself if they want women and men, if they are the primary carer for children, to stay on as MSPs there are suggestions that MSPs have made, including Gail Ross, of how they can make the parliament more family-friendly, and I think the parliament needs to consider that if they want to hang on to good people.”
She added: “If the Scottish Parliament is absolutely sure that it wants to be still considered the most family-friendly parliament in the world, if it wants to hang on to MSPs, if it wants to encourage more young women to come in, it has to start listening to MSPs that are making suggestions about how we can make this better, and it’s not just about women, it’s about whoever is the primary carer, that easily could well be and should well be in some cases the man, certainly in this day and age.
“We’re losing talent from the Scottish Parliament and I don’t think we’ve got talent to burn.”
She said the Scottish Parliament should consider ideas suggested by MSPs such as video conferencing and proxy voting.
Ms Campbell, who represents Clydesdale, told the BBC: “I think when parliament established itself 20 years ago it was really ground-breaking, it was seeking to be family-friendly, but undoubtedly there are challenges there for everyone who is a parent in parliament, it’s a tough going job, it’s rewarding and it’s not impossible to combine with family life – but it’s not easy to do that either.
“I guess that would apply to lots of other jobs across the country, people are trying to combine work with life but I think what the decision of myself, of Ruth Davidson and Gail Ross does, it does show into sharp focus what more parliament needs to do, what more we all need to do to try and ensure that we don’t discourage people from wanting to enter politics if they have a family because it is possible to combine it.”
In a letter to Ms Ross last month, the Scottish Parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee said it had identified practical concerns over remote voting and did not think it feasible to pursue it “at this time”, but has made a commitment to further consider the potential for proxy voting.