Jamie Baillie resigns as Tory leader and MLA for Cumberland South

Jamie Baillie, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, poses after the budget was presented at the legislature in Halifax on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

The Leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party has resigned from his position as leader and as MLA for Cumberland South effective immediately, citing personal reasons.

Jamie Baillie issued the surprise announcement on Wednesday via Twitter.

“My priority is my family and I ask that our privacy be respected,” Baillie said.

“It has been an honour and privilege to lead the PC Party for the past 7 years, and to represent the people of Cumberland South. I thank them both for the opportunity to serve.”

Leader of the Nova Scotia NDP Garry Burrill said that Baillie has played a significant role in the politics of the province.

“Though Mr. Baillie and I have different approaches to the key issues before our province, I nevertheless recognize him as a leader of stature who has played a major and significant role in the democratic life of Nova Scotian,” wrote Burrill in a press release.

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“On behalf of the NDP, I want to congratulate Jamie Baillie and wish him well in the upcoming chapters of his career.”

WATCH: Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie to resign

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Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie to resign – Nov 1, 2017

Baillie had previously announced he would resign as PC Leader in November, but the announcement is a shocking departure from the Baillie’s previous statements.

As late as Dec. 15, 2017, he had told Global News that he had no plans to resign immediately and would stay on as leader until an orderly transition to a new leader could occur.

“I’m very greatful in the support (from the party) and I want to see my time through,” he said at the time.

It’s not immediatley clear who will lead the Tories in the interim.

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Two candidates have announced they will seek the leadership position, but the party has not yet set a date for a leadership convention.

— With a file from the Canadian Press

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