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Kate Forbes wants to see progress in tackling the affordable housing crisis in the Highlands as well as the delivery of a new hospital in Fort William after being successfully returned as constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
Over the past parliamentary term, Ms Forbes was instrumental in securing millions of pounds of investment in rural tourism infrastructure at various hotspots across her vast constituency and successfully fought to save Portree Hospital from closure and restore 24/7 nursing cover to the Isle of Raasay.
The 31-year-old has said she wants to see significant progress on affordable housing, along with vital infrastructure improvements – such as a new Belford Hospital and a safer Munlochy Junction – over the course of the next parliamentary term.
‘First and foremost, I am grateful to the people of this constituency for their support,’ she said after taking a massive 56.1 per cent of the votes at Friday’s count in Inverness.
Ms Forbes, who served as Finance Secretary in the last parliament, took 24,200 votes in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, increasing her majority by almost 7,000 votes.
‘I never take a single vote for granted and I am sincerely grateful for the trust placed in me by the people of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch,’ she added.
‘As we begin to emerge from the Covid pandemic, I am under no illusion about the challenges ahead for the economy, health and education of the Highlands, and I will continue to work tirelessly for my constituents – just as I have done over the past five years. A lot has been achieved, but there’s lots more to do.
‘The lack of affordable housing has been well documented. It’s a common problem in all parts of my constituency, so it is something I want to give specific focus to.
‘I also want to see vital infrastructure projects moving forwards as quickly as possible. The new Belford Hospital is long overdue, as are road safety improvements at the notorious Munlochy Junction.’
Ms Forbes also paid tribute to her political opponents, adding: ‘In a day where political exchanges on social media often generate more heat than light, I would like to thank the three opposition candidates, John Erskine, Jamie Halcro-Johnson and Denis Rixson, for their own good natured campaigns and contributions.
Scottish Conservative candidate Jamie Halcro Johnston was equally magnanimous in defeat.
‘I would like to thank all of the election staff and others who made Thursday’s vote possible under such difficult circumstances and my fellow candidates for running a good-natured campaign,’ he said.
‘I congratulate Kate on her re-election and wish her well in serving this wonderful constituency.
‘Scottish Conservatives will continue to provide a voice for voters across the Highlands and Islands who want to get on with our recovery and rebuild our region.’
Constituency and Regional Returning Officer for Highland and Islands, Donna Manson declared the results for the Scottish Parliamentary constituency of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch on Friday evening. The turnout for the constituency was 68.7 per cent.
Votes given were as follows:
Erskine, John – Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Co-operative Party – 3,855
Forbes, Kate – Scottish National Party (SNP) – 24,192
Halcro Johnston, Jamie – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – 8,331
Rixson, Denis – Scottish Liberal Democrats – 6,778