Labour picks Dugdale’s former advisor to take on Blackford

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A former senior advisor to Labour’s ex-Holyrood leader, Kezia Dugdale, has been picked by his party to contest the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat for Westminster currently held by the SNP’s Ian Blackford.

John Erskine was announced as the party’s candidate for the next general election following a meeting of the constituency Labour Party in Fort William on Saturday.

Mr Erskine previously stood in the neighbouring Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency at the 2015 general election where he secured the best result for Labour in the Highlands, as well as being a Highlands and Islands regional list candidate at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.

He has extensive experience of working in Scottish politics and now works as a communications professional for one of Scotland’s leading legal regulatory organisations.

Following his selection, Mr Erskine said: ‘It is an honour and a privilege to have been selected to stand for Scottish Labour in my home constituency of Ross, Skye and Lochaber and I look forward to running a positive campaign on Labour’s plan to put people before privilege, ending austerity and taking on the vested interests holding people back.

‘Labour will do everything we can to stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit which the Tories want to sell off our rights and protections. The SNP is only focused on one thing, independence, and the Liberal Democrats have lost the trust of the Highland electorate by enabling austerity.

‘Only Labour will rebuild Britain and invest in every community from Fort William to Dingwall to deliver a country and economy that works for the many, not the few.’

Mr Erskine was born and raised in the Highlands, attending both Maryburgh Primary and Dingwall Academy.

He gained a B.A.(Hons) degree in Philosophy and Politics and a postgraduate qualification in Strategic Public Relations from Stirling University.

He started his career working for Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart in Inverness before going to advise Iain Gray MSP and then Scottish Labour Leader Ms Dugdale in the Scottish Parliament.