THE FORMER news editor of the Orcadian and Orkney Today newspapers has been selected to contest the Orkney and Shetland seat at next month’s general election.
Speaking on Friday evening Robert Leslie said that after electing Liberal Democrat for more than half a century it was time for the Northern Isles to try “a new track”.
“We need a loud and clear SNP voice to say we’re fed up with the broken Westminster system, which has sidelined Scotland and made a mockery of the claim that the UK is a family of equal nations,” he said.
Working as energy officer at Orkney Housing Association the 49-year-old said that as part of his work he is witnessing daily the effects of fuel poverty.
“No one in our islands should have to choose between heating and eating when we have so much renewable power on our doorsteps,” he said.
“As your SNP MP I’d lead a campaign to overhaul energy policy and ensure the Northern Isles can play our part in a fair transition to a low-carbon economy, based on affordable, renewable electricity.”
He added that neither Orkney nor Shetland voted for Brexit, yet both island communities were likely to suffer most if the UK leaves the European Union.
“Our farmers, crofters and fishermen will find important markets blocked by tariffs and form filling. The SNP alone has consistently opposed Brexit. We stand for remaining in the EU and reforming it – particularly the Common Fisheries Policy.”
He added: “Our Lib Dem MP supported the damaging roll-out of Universal Credit and changes to women’s pensions, causing unnecessary hardship to thousands of islanders.
“Spending cuts, driven first by Alistair Carmichael’s Tory/Lib Dem coalition and then by increasingly right-wing Tories, have damaged households across these islands. Inequality is growing. Just look at the disgraceful statistics for foodbank use in Orkney and Shetland.
“I will always oppose austerity and seek a fairer future for all. And the SNP will always fight to keep Scotland’s NHS safe in public hands – away from grasping American drug cartels.
Leslie is married to Kara, and they have three daughters, Ria, Isla and Ruby.
In his spare time he is a side drummer with Kirkwall City Pipe Band and an enthusiast for live music. He is also the author of the recently published history of Orkney Rugby Football Club.
The general election will be held on 12 December. Robert Leslie is the third candidate for the Northern Isles constituency so far. He joins Alistair Carmichael for the Lib Dems and Coilla Drake for Labour.