Western Isles Election HQs launched

SNP candidate Angus Brendan MacNeil with his supporters outside of the campaign base in Stornoway.
SNP candidate Angus Brendan MacNeil with his supporters outside of the campaign base in Stornoway.

The SNP and Scottish Labour Party candidates have launched their general election campaign HQs for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency.

On Saturday, the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil, flanked by supporters, opened a campaign hub on Church Street, Stornoway, whilst the Scottish Labour Party’s Alison MacCorquodale has opted to deploy a touring campaign van, and has set the wheels rolling on ther campaign with the support of former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling.

Alistair Darling and Alison MacCorquodale with the campaign van.

Alistair Darling and Alison MacCorquodale with the campaign van.

Speaking at the opening of the SNP’s HQ, Angus Brendan MacNeil said that it had been “a great privilege” to represent the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency in Parliament, and added: “I know that people are really fed-up with the situation at Westminster.

“For Scotland, this Election is about choosing our own future – about what kind of country we want to be and about taking control of our own affairs.

“For the United Kingdom, the Election is about Brexit – breaking away from our European partners and exiting the free trade deals we currently enjoy.

“I hope”, Mr MacNeil concluded, ”to see as many people as possible in this short campaign and that you will again allow me to use my experience by representing you in Westminster by voting for me and for the SNP on December 12th.”

Commenting on the decision to run the party’s local campaign from a van, the Scottish Labour Party’s Alison MacCorquodale said: “We decided that a static office in Stornoway was a bit old-fashioned and that the emphasis should be on reaching out to every corner of the constituency.

“The Campaign Van will make that a lot easier and I am looking forward to meeting as many people as possible.”

Alistair Darling, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour government from 2007 to 2010, said: “As a veteran of many elections I think it is a great idea in a constituency like this to have a mobile HQ which allows [Alison MacCorquodale] maximum use of time meeting constituents and hearing at first-hand about issues and concerns.”

Mr Darling concluded: “The last thing Scotland needs now is another divisive referendum with so many urgent and important issues to address, with a direct bearing on families and communities in the Western Isles.”

Four candidates are bidding to be the next MP for the Western Isles in the general election on 12 December.

Jennifer Ross is standing for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, and Neil Mitchison is the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate.

Talking about her direction on the campaign trail last week when her candidacy was declared, Jennifer Ross said: “Every other candidate is offering a second referendum, or to revoke Brexit. The Western Isles was one of the highest Leave-voting areas in Scotland. “I will represent their vote in Parliament. I pledge to respect democracy and get Brexit done.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate, Neil Mitchison, also wants Brexit dealt with, but in a very different manner.

He told the Gazette at the start of his campaign: “This election is all about Brexit, and every vote for the Liberal Democrats counts towards our objective of stopping the damage Brexit has already done to our society.”