A lawyer from the Scottish Highlands has been chosen as Conservative candidate for Orkney and Shetland.
Donald Cameron, from Spean Bridge in the Highlands, and will contest the Orkney and Shetland seat in the General Election in May.
Since 2005, Mr Cameron has been an advocate acting for a range of clients in public law and agricultural and crofting law in the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary and Scottish Land Court. He has appeared in litigation in Orkney, and recently represented Sustainable Shetland as junior counsel in their appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
He studied at Oxford University and then City University in London, before undertaking an internship at The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, USA.
Mr Cameron is married with three young children and has worked on Conservative campaigns in Scotland as well as managing a family business in the Highlands. In addition to having direct business experience, he has had experience in both English and Scots law.
Mr Cameron has stood in previous Scottish parliamentary and UK General Election campaigns with significant success, but not outright victory – he stood against Charles Kennedy in the Highlands in 2010 – and said he was “delighted” to have been selected as candidate for the Northern Isles.
On his first visit to Shetland on Monday he said it had been a “fascinating day” which had incorporated visits to Sumburgh Lighthouse and St Ninian’s beach, and which he spent “getting a feel for the place and trying to understand the issues people face”. He said: “The countryside is stunning, breathtaking, and the people are very warm and friendly.”
His recent connection with Shetland was in SuS’s appeal to the Supreme Court, and he said: “I’m in favour of onshore wind energy in the right place but I don’t believe we should compromise our landscape and environment.”
He had seen the issue before in other remote and rural areas, he added.
Living as he does in a rural area, Mr Cameron feels he can identify with many of the problems faced by Shetlanders, such as “fragile communities lacking infrastructure and communications”. He would strive to improve this, especially in the more remote areas of the isles, if elected.
He said: “I really care about that and feel remote areas get a raw deal. I would like to promote better web coverage and broadband speeds.”
Maintaining good transport links, both inter-island and to the mainland, would be another of his priorities if elected. He would work to reduce transport costs and improve efficiency for both passengers and freight to and from the islands, and said: “I appreciate how important it is to travel on a reasonable budget.”
As MP, he said, he would also concentrate on standing up for the interests of local businesses and the rural economy at Westminster, and encourage sustainable economic activity and financial discipline at a local and national level.
Additionally he would encourage “constructive co-operation” with Westminster by the Scottish parliament and support efforts for greater openness from government and more grass-roots participation in local decision-making.
He stressed that if elected he would “without doubt” move to the area: “You can’t represent a constituency without living in it.”
Although he acknowledged that “local issues are what people care about”, he cited some important national ones too – namely, to sustain the economic recovery and to fight to keep Scotland in the UK.
He said: “I think that the track record of the Conservative-led UK government has delivered a strong and growing economy and that the party’s long-term economic plan will secure a better future for our families. Just as important, I passionately believe that Scotland’s place is within the Union and I promise that if elected, I would continue to campaign relentlessly for a United Kingdom.”
He added that he thought the break-up of the UK would bring “huge economic dislocation”.
Chairman of the Shetland Conservative Association, Maurice Mullay said: “We are delighted to have a Conservative candidate for Orkney and Shetland of the calibre and quality of Donald Cameron. His legal and business background is a tremendous asset and will ensure that he can represent the islands and islanders interests at the highest levels with ability, confidence, diligence and enthusiasm.”
He added that Mr Cameron’s engaging personality would be of considerable benefit in dealing with the general public, officials and politicians.