Election candidates quizzed by Lochaber audience

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Ross, Skye and Lochaber candidates standing for election were quizzed last night at a Lochaber Chamber of Commerce hustings.

Ian Blackford (Scottish National Party), Ronnie the Crofter Campbell (Independent), Jean Davis (Scottish Liberal Democrats), Robert Mackenzie (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) and Peter Ó Donnghaile (Scottish Labour) gathered at the Nevis Centre in Fort William for a question time-styled event ahead of tomorrow’s general election. Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Bruno Berardelli led the event in which candidates were asked questions from the audience.

A 85-strong crowd grilled the candidates on Brexit, a second independence referendum, taxes, farming and crofting, social care, policing and defence, and how these effect and impact the Highlands and Islands.

Getting the ball rolling, one member of the audience asked if the candidates were proud of the campaign literature they had produced and whether they believe it offered a positive message for voters.

Mr Blackford said he wanted to let people know what he had done for the constituency in the past two years as MP, and stressed the importance of focusing on local issues. He said: ‘I want to tell people what I will do as your MP if I have the privilege to be elected.’

Ms Davis said her key issues were ‘fighting’ for people of the Highlands to ‘have a say in the final Brexit deal’ and making sure people are heard. She said: ‘I want to be a Highland champion for you and get that message across so people in the Highlands are listened to and, most importantly, heard.’

Mr MacKenzie explained this was his first time standing for election and said it was important to let people know about his background. He said: ‘I am a local farmer and own a growing farm diversification business, so I know what it’s like to set up my own business in the Highlands. I want to be a strong local voice for people in Brexit negotiations.’

Mr Ó Donnghaile said he was proud of his campaign literature, and that his party had a strong manifesto he can get behind. He said: ‘We have produced a very positive message about the importance of rebuilding the British economy.’

Mr Campbell highlighted his crofting background in Roy Bridge, his campaign for land reform and how he thinks Scotland would be welcome in Europe following Brexit.

Lewis Sturrock from the Something New party was not in attendance.