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ELECTION: Aberdeenshire North and Moray East frontrunners reflect on campaign issues


By Alan Beresford

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The count is under way in Aberdeen for who will represent Aberdeenshire North and Moray East. Picture: Beth Taylor
The count is under way in Aberdeen for who will represent Aberdeenshire North and Moray East. Picture: Beth Taylor

THE cost of living crisis and cuts to public services have been among the issues dominating on the doorstep in the campaign for the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.

The campaign to capture what is a brand new seat - which includes the eastern half of the former Moray constituency such as Buckie and Keith - has proved eventful from the start.

There were shockwaves when Scottish Conservative leader and former Moray MP Douglas Ross threw his hat into the ring in place of the expected candidate, sitting MP David Duguid.

Labour candidate Andy Brown was suspended by the party after alleged social media remarks which appeared to state he believed neither Russia nor President Vladimir Putin were responsible for the Salisbury poisonings in 2018 - something he vehemently denies.

Reform UK hopeful Jo Hart also fell foul of social media for anti-royal posts made during the late Queen’s jubilee in 2022.

SNP candidate Seamus Logan. Picture: Beth Taylor
SNP candidate Seamus Logan. Picture: Beth Taylor

SNP candidate Seamus Logan said the party’s campaign to claim the seat had started long before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired the starting gun for the general election.

He said: “We’ve been on the stump for the last seven months talking to a lot of people.

“Of course, there’s disillusionment with politics, something which has been going on nationally, but we also found lots of support for the SNP on things like what we’re doing to tackle the cost of living, what we’re trying to do to protect public services like the NHS and the closure of the minor injuries units in Fraserburgh and Peterhead, which went down like a lead balloon.

“Slashed funding for public transport hurts a lot of vulnerable and older people as well.

“Those things didn’t play well on the doorstep for the Tories. I think we got a broad message out to people, including the true position on oil and gas which has been totally misrepresented by the Tories saying we’re switching the taps off, that is absolute rubbish. That’s why we’ve spent seven months getting our message across.”

Mr Logan went on to pour scorn on an EXIT poll which claimed that he had just a one per cent chance of taking the seat compared to Mr Ross’s 99 per cent, saying it was not representative of what he had been hearing on the doorstep.

He went on to state that the dramatic and surprise removal of Mr Duguid as Tory candidate had “not played well” with voters.

He continued: “There are two key things here.

“First of all, what is the size of the Reform vote and, secondly, if Labour don’t get a good vote tonight, where will those votes go? Obviously we hope they will go tactically to the SNP to get rid of the Tories. We did find that in the doorstep a lot, people were desperate to get the Conservatives out - not just the Conservative Party but that particular candidate [Mr Ross].

“People are disgusted by the way David was treated. He’s a decent man, a family man and I wish him a speedy recovery.”

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party candidate. Picture: Beth Taylor
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party candidate. Picture: Beth Taylor

Speaking after his arrival at the P&J Live where the count was taking place, Mr Ross said: “We'll just have to wait and see [about the result].

“There's a lot of counting to be done by the outstanding staff here. We're just waiting to see the votes pile up and who's successful and who's not. I may be successful, I may not be successful. But I have, over the last four weeks, put in everything I could and my team's outstanding help and support has made all the difference.

“And I look forward to hopefully being returned as MP for Aberdeenshire North. But as I say, it could go either way at the moment. It's simply on a knife edge and that's my focus at the moment.”

Turning to issues which featured on the doorstep, Mr Ross continued: “The issue with David Duguid obviously came up.

“David's still in hospital and we want to make sure he continues his recovery. He's been in hospital since April and the hope is he can continue that rehabilitation as quickly as possible and he can get back home as soon as possible as well. So that did come up.

“So did other issues, national issues, local issues, both Scottish issues and UK issues, right down to very, very local issues.

“As with any campaign, there's a variety of points that the public want to put towards their candidates. We had one hustings, where we had a range of issues discussed. It looks the same on every doorstep. That's what people are looking for.”

He went on to say he was reluctant to read too much into the EXIT poll predicting a crushing win for him, noting it “struggles sometimes to get the Scottish context absolutely correct”.

Andy Brown (Scottish Labour, but will sit as an independent if elected).
Andy Brown (Scottish Labour, but will sit as an independent if elected).

Also standing in the constituency is Liberal Democrat candidate Ian Bailey.

Jo Hart (Reform UK)
Jo Hart (Reform UK)

The constituency is expected to declare at around 4.45am.


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