Meet the candidates vying to be Argyll and Bute’s MP

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On December 12, four election candidates will battle it out to become Argyll and Bute’s MP.

Voters in Argyll and Bute will have to choose between Rhea Barnes (Labour), Gary Mulvaney (Conservative), Brendan O’Hara (SNP) and Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat).

The Oban Times spoke with each of the candidates before next month’s election.

Rhea Barnes said: ‘I am a student, hospitality worker, law clinic volunteer and local girl from Taynuilt. I welcome the opportunity to stand for Labour and fight for a better future for my home.

‘Argyll and Bute is a beautiful place to live but there are problems; bills go up, the NHS fails, public services are cut and privatised and wages stay the same. I know that we can do better as a country and in a wealthy, moral and modern society I believe that nobody should be too poor to live.

‘I have been through the system and I understand when things don’t work so let’s do something about it.’

Gary Mulvaney said: ‘We need an MP that is able to push our needs from within government, not a member whose party’s sole obsession is independence and the politics of grievance and division. As a local councillor of 17 years, I know the issues that affect our towns, villages and the 23 islands we inhabit and having worked in business, I understand the challenges they face too.

‘There is so much to do and I am ready to get started. The Lib Dems and Labour cannot win here this time, so unionists need to come together, lend their vote and vote tactically to stop Nicola Sturgeon.’

Brendan O’Hara said: ‘There is no such thing as a good Brexit for Argyll and Bute. Our Shellfish producers, our farmers or our tourism industry will suffer. That’s why in my four years as your MP, I have vigorously opposed a hard,Tory Brexit. Brexit also threatens our NHS, with President Trump saying a UK-American trade deal could allow giant, profit-driven US drug corporations access to the NHS.

‘Are we to be part of an isolationist UK, adrift from Europe or can we be a progressive, outward-looking, independent European nation? A vote for the SNP says that Scotland has the right to choose its own future; one far removed from the chaos of Brexit.’

Alan Reid said: ‘I was the MP for Argyll and Bute for 14 years until 2015 when I lost the seat despite increasing my vote. I am standing again because I want to stop Brexit and have no more Independence Referendums.

‘The divisions these cause are bad for the country. We need to concentrate instead on attracting more jobs to Argyll and Bute and improving our public services, particularly the NHS and more child care.

‘Climate change is another threat we must tackle by generating electricity by renewable means. Doing so can bring jobs here. We must also complete the job of bringing superfast broadband to every home.’