SNP announce Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East candidate

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 18:16 on 10 December 2014.
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CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn joined by long –term party member, Stuart McDonald, earlier this week, as the party confirmed that Mr McDonald had been selected as the Nationalist candidate for the area in the forthcoming Westminster election.

Stuart McDonald (right), 36, was announced as the SNP candidate for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East earlier this week, and was joined by Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth to announce his bid to replace incumbent MP, Gregg McClymont, next May.

The 2015 Westminster General Election will be held on Thursday 7 May; however, opposition campaigners face a mighty battle in the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency to overturn the 13,755 majority taken by incumbent Labour MP, Gregg McClymont, in 2010.

Results from the 2010 show that the Scottish National Party won 9,794 votes – a 23.8% share of the overall results, compared to Labour’s 23,549 votes – 57.2 per cent of the returns. 

Other candidates standing in 2010, for the constituency included Rod Ackland for the Liberal Democrats, who won 3,924 votes (9.5%); Stephanie Fraser for the Conservatives who took 3,407 (8.3%); and, William O’Neill for the Scottish Socialist Party who won 476 votes, on a 1.2 per cent share of the total ballots cast.

Scottish Nationalist campaigners are hopeful, however, that they can win the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East with hard work – and believe that Stuart McDonald could be the man for the job.

The thirty-six-year-old grew up in Milton of Campsie – where he still lives. He attended Kilsyth Academy and has been active in the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth SNP Constituency Association for 20 years. He practiced as a solicitor before working at the Scottish Parliament and then as part of the Yes Scotland HQ team.

Mr McDonald was endorsed at a packed out local branch meeting, last month – and campaigning has already begun.

A rallying cry to party supporters was posted on the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth SNP Facebook page, as Stuart’s candidacy was formally announced. 

“With a strong team effort this constituency is winnable,” it read. “We are currently putting in place our campaign plans and have a lot lined up for the next few months. Information will follow to let you know how you can get involved in our campaign to win Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East for the SNP.”

Commenting on his selection, Mr McDonald said: “After the massive public engagement in the area during the independence referendum people don’t want to see the Westminster parties just settle back down to business as usual – politics in Scotland has changed for good.

“So whether people voted Yes or No, and no matter what party they have previously voted for, our message is that only a strong team of SNP MPs will stand up for the interests of the people of Scotland at Westminster - and ensure we obtain the meaningful new powers we need to tackle low pay and poverty, protect public services and create more and better jobs,” he added.

The SNP candidate described his selection as a “huge honour”, explaining: “It is a huge honour to be selected as the SNP candidate for my home turf and I am very much looking forward to meeting with as many local people as I can over the coming months.”

It is believed Mr McDonald will take forward his campaign on two main aims, which include protecting jobs at the Cumbernauld HMRC tax office site, and opposing hydraulic fracturing activities locally, by lending his support to groups against the controversial method of gas extraction known as ‘fracking’.
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