Robert Leslie has been announced as the SNP candidate who will fight the Northern Isles seat in the upcoming general election.
The community councillor from Kirkwall was formerly a reporter and news editor with The Orcadian and Orkney Today.
Speaking after being selected by Northern Isles’ SNP branches, Mr Leslie said: “Orkney and Shetland didn’t vote for Brexit, yet we could suffer most if the UK leaves the EU. 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.
“In my daily work I see 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. 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.
“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.
“After voting Lib Dem for over half a century it’s time the Northern Isles tried a new tack. 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.
“Westminster has not served our islands well. The SNP government in Edinburgh has done far better. It’s time to bring all the functions of government home to Holyrood.
“If elected I will stand up for every single one of my constituents and ensure that the voices of Orkney and Shetland are heard at Westminster.”
Born and brought up in Orkney, he has a wife, Kara, and three daughters, Ria, Isla and Ruby. Alongside publishing local history books, Mr Leslie is also a side drummer with Kirkwall City Pipe Band.
The Orcadian joins three other candidates: Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, Scottish Labour’s Coilla Drake and independent David Barnard.
Campaigning in the general election began in earnest this week, with voters going to the polls on 12th December.