ELECTION 2021: Moray candidates give thoughts as count begins
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WITH the Scottish Parliamentary Election count in Moray just getting under way, the candidates have given their thoughts on proceedings.
Tim Eagle (Conservative), Jo Kirby (Labour) and Sheila Ritchie (Lib Dems) are present at the count – with Richard Lochhead (SNP) isolating.
UKIP candidate Robert Stephenson has not turned up.
Richard Lochhead is the incumbent, and is hoping to defend a majority of 2875.
He said: "It's a very unusual election and a difficult one to predict. The new arrangements mean we can't sample the ballots so we are in the dark until the declaration.
"But we got a great response on the doorsteps and visiting polling stations."
Tim Eagle, expected to be his main rival, said: "It's still too early to say who might win.
"We always hope to win but the reality is Moray has been an SNP seat since the formation of the Scottish Government. This was never going to be an easy seat to take.
"We knew that going in and we wanted to try our best. Douglas Ross has won a couple of times, we want to win and I hope we still can but we are just not sure."
An increase in voter share would send Labour candidate Jo Kirby home pleased.
Labour polled at 10.6 per cent in the 2016 election.
She said: "I think it's a really positive picture. The last 10 weeks have just been the beginning, we have five years ahead of us.
"If we can hold our vote I'd be pleased. We are never going to win in Moray – that's the way it goes.
"But if we can hold our vote and provide a base for the council elections next year then I'd be happy with that."
Liberal Democrat candidate Sheila Ritchie has the same aim.
She added: "We are starting from a low base and I'd be very happy with any increase in the vote.
"I think we are being squeezed here. It looks like the vote is polarised between the Conservatives and the SNP and I suspect our vote has gone to the Conservatives and the anti-independence."