By a Newsnet reporter
With just over one week of campaigning to go, the SNP has received a boost in the Aberdeen Donside by-election after another former rival came out in support of party candidate Mark McDonald.
One week after former Labour councillor Norman Collie gave his own backing to the SNP candidate, he has now been joined by former Lib Dem Aberdeen City councillor George Penny.
Mr Penny represented the Dyce/ Bucksburn/ Daneston ward on Aberdeen City Council between 2007 and 2012, the same ward that Mark McDonald represented during his time as a councillor.
Commenting on his endorsement of the SNP candidate, Mr Penny said:
“Mark is an active part of the Dyce community having represented the area first as a councillor and then as a regional MSP.
“He grew up here, he lives here with his wife and family and I know just how deeply he cares about this community.
“My endorsement for Mark is a personal one because I know that he is the right person to represent our communities.
“Having worked with Mark on the council, I know that if he is elected then people in Aberdeen Donside will be getting an MSP who will fight tirelessly for people living in the area he represents.”
Welcoming the support of the former LibDem councillor, Mark McDonald said:
“I am absolutely delighted that George has decided to give me his support. To have gained cross-party support first from Norman Collie and now from George Penny really is a huge boost
“While we may have different political views, we both care deeply about Dyce and about Aberdeen Donside and I am honoured that he is putting his trust in me to represent this area as an MSP.
“If I am elected I am determined to ensure that their trust and the support of every voter in Aberdeen Donside is well placed by being a strong local voice who will always put the needs of these communities first.”
The support for Mr McDonald by former Labour and Lib Dem councillors is a blow to Labour candidate Willie Young who is seen as the main challenger to Mr McDonald. Yesterday the Labour man received backing from former Aberdeen manager Sir Alex Ferguson who urged voters to send a strong pro-Union message.
Local issues dominate though, with threats of school closures and the Haudagain roundabout bottleneck raised frequently.
The Labour candidate has accused the SNP of short changing Aberdeen. In response the SNP point out that in a previous by-election, the Labour party accused the SNP of favouring Aberdeen.
Aberdeen Donside was held by the SNP in 2011 with 14790 votes (55.4%) against Labour’s 7615 votes (28.5%), thanks to the popularity of Brian Adam, whose untimely death from cancer triggered the by-election on June 20.
Scottish Labour will be hoping for a good showing as evidence of a resurgence of the party under Johann Lamont. Anything less than a ten per cent swing from the SNP to Labour will be seen as a poor result.