Ian Blackford, who has been selected as the SNP candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber in the upcoming general election, has said he is “ready for the challenge”.
Mr Blackford, from Glendale on Skye, will challenge long-standing LibDem MP Charles Kennedy for the seat at the general election on 7th May and has called on both Yes and No voters to come together to hold Westminter to account. He has twice before run as a parliamentary candidate and served as the national treasurer for the SNP. He was a member of the shadow cabinet with responsibility for social security and pensions, and is chair of the SNP Currency Commission. Commenting, he said: “I am delighted that the SNP members in Ross, Skye and Lochaber have selected me as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming Westminster election.
“We will be campaigning to win in this election. We will be asking the voters to put their trust in myself and the SNP to make sure that Westminster delivers on the vow that Gordon Brown made on behalf of the LibDems, Tories and Labour that home rule would be achieved in Scotland. We are asking both Yes and No voters to lend their support to the SNP so we can hold Westminster to account.”
Mr Blackford continued: “We also want to challenge the austerity programme of the coalition government, one which the current MP supports and the ongoing austerity plans of those two parties and the Labour Party. Austerity has failed, you can’t cut your way to prosperity. We need a focus that will encourage investment by both the private and the public sector, creating confidence and driving up productivity and living standards. We also need an MP who will stand up for all the voters in this vast constituency.
“One of my key priorities working with colleagues will be to fight for greater connectivity for the Highlands and Islands, both transport and digital. We need to create a competitive advantage. Those of us that live and work here know how important these issues are. I have a reputation as a local campaigner, something I want to create a key focus on if elected. One of the issues that I want to take forward is to make sure we benefit directly from the Crown Estate, we need to see our communities seeing the rewards of this directly.
“We need a hard working MP to fight for all the constituents in Ross, Skye and Lochaber. I am ready to meet that challenge.”
Among those welcoming Mr Blackford’s candidacy was Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Dave Thompson, who said: “I am delighted that Ian has been selected by the local party members to represent Ross, Skye and Lochaber in this year’s general election. Ian is a first class candidate and I am sure that he will represent the people of the constituency exceptionally well.
“We will all be campaigning hard to get Ian elected and show Charles Kennedy and the LibDems that the people of Ross, Skye and Lochaber will no longer tolerate LibDem austerity and public service budget cuts.”