Nine candidates to contest Aberdeen byelection


   By a Newsnet reporter

With the deadline for candidates for the Aberdeen Donside byelection passing on Friday, nine candidates have officially declared their intention to stand for election in what is considered a safe SNP seat.

The byelection was called following the death from cancer of Brian Adam MSP, who held the seat for the SNP with a majority of 7000 over his Labour rival.

List MSP Mark McDonald has been selected to represent the SNP.  He was brought up in the constituency, attended Dyce Academy and lives in Aberdeen Donside with his wife and two young children.

Mr McDonald has represented the North East in the Scottish Parliament since 2011 and is a member of Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee, and is a substitute member on the Local Government and Regeneration Committee.   Mr McDonald is also convenor of the Cross Party Group on Video Games Technology, and is co-convenor of the Cross Party Group on Carers and the Cross Party Group on Dementia.  Prior to being elected as an MSP, Mr McDonald sat as a councillor on Aberdeen City Council.

Mr McDonald stood down as a list MSP in order to contest the byelection, and has been replaced by French born Christian Allard.

Local councillor Willie Young will contest the seat on behalf of the Labour party.  Mr Young sits on the council as the representative of the Bridge of Don ward in the north of the city, the area covered by the Holyrood constituency.  He is the convenor of the council’s Finance and Resources committee, and is also a member of the Education, Culture and Sport committee.

The Conservatives have also chosen a local councillor, Ross Thompson, who represents the Hazlehead/Ashley/Queens Cross ward.  Mr Thomson is vice-convenor of the council’s Education, Culture and Sport committee.  Mr Thomson found himself at the centre of some controversy when he launched his campaign earlier this month, when he claimed that Aberdeen council did not know what impact the bedroom tax would have on the city.  The council immediately informed STV news that 2000 local residents would be affected by the benefit cut.

The Lib Dems are fielding Christine Jardine, who was formerly a journalist who has worked in has worked in Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.  In September 2011 it was announced that Ms Jardine had been appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron as a policy advisor on Scottish issues.  She unsuccessfully fought the Inverness and Nairn seat for the Scottish Liberal Democrats at the Scottish Parliament elections in May that year.

The Scottish Green candidate is local community councillor Rhonda Reekie.  Born in Strathaven, Ms Reekie was educated at Bridge of Don Academy and Aberdeen University.   In the UK General Election in 2010 she unsuccessfully stood for the Greens in the Aberdeen South constituency.  Ms Reekie lives in the Aberdeen Donside constituency, in Bucksburn. An active member of the local community, she is a member of Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council and the Beacon Community Centre management team.

James Trolland will be standing for the Scottish Democratic Alliance.  Mr Trolland will be the party’s first ever candidate for the Scottish Parliament, and the byelection the party’s first electoral test.  Formed in 2009 out of the now defunct Scottish Enterprise Party, the SDA campaign for an independent Scotland outwith the EU.  Mr Trolland is the party’s deputy chairman and political officer.

UKIP are fielding Edinburgh businessman Otto Inglis.   Mr Inglis previously stood for the party in the 2010 general election in the Dunfermline and Fife West ward and in the 2012 Edinburgh Council elections for the Almond ward.

The remaining candidates are David MacDonald, of the Scottish National Front, and Tom Morrow of the Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”.