Nigel Don re-elected MSP with an increased majority

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ANGUS North and Mearns played its part in last week’s SNP landslide, re-electing Nigel Don as MSP with an increased majority - and more than half the votes cast.

Popular Tory stalwart Alex Johnstone took second place, 7,286 votes behind, but with more votes than the Labour and Lib Dem candidates together.

The total number of votes cast was 24,954 from an electorate of 52,124, which represents 47.87 per cent.

The result was as follows

North Angus and Mearns

Nigel Don (SNP) 13,660

Alex Johnstone (C) 6,374

Kevin Hutchens (Lab) 3,160

Sanjay Samani (LD) 1,760

SNP majority 7,286

In 2007, the last time there was an election for the Holyrood Parliament, the SNP vote was 10,194, Conservative 5,287, Lib Dem 4,888 and Labour 3,114. It can be seen that the Labour vote actually increased, only by 46 votes, but that was sufficient to elevate the party from fourth to third place.

And despite the Lib Dem candidate being well regarded, he had no power to withstand the electoral tsunami that engulfed his party nationally.

The might of the SNP vote took everyone by surprise, even the party’s leadership according to deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Our own investigations, on election day, revealed that there were voters who do not agree with independence, but who voted SNP on the basis of the party’s record in government.

One Angus lady told us that she would normally vote Conservative, but had voted SNP. She said that the their policies had brought her benefit, and that was the reason.

Having had time to draw breath after the count, Mr Don said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been elected as SNP MSP for Angus North and Mearns. The fact that so many of you have given me your trust by voting for me is overwhelming. This is a responsibility I will respect and you have my pledge that I will work hard for every one of my constituents.

“At this point, I wish to pay tribute to my campaign team and constituency activists without whose unstinting support I would not have received this position. We fought a positive campaign and did not take any of your votes for granted, working to earn each one.

“I should also like to thank my campaign opponents for fighting a mainly tough but clean campaign and acknowledge the return of Alex Johnstone as a regional MSP for the North East. My work as your representative starts now and I shall honour commitments already made to take on the matters that really matter to you. These include the need for a grade separated junction at Laurencekirk, coastal erosion and concerns about the tax recently imposed on the oil industry.

“I have commented throughout the campaign about how important I believe tourism is to the economy of the area and that I see a major role for me in helping to bring tourism opportunity providers together. This would be to work together to develop a cross-constituency approach to promote events and venues which could attract a much wider participation.

“Nationally as a member of the Scottish Government, I shall work with my SNP and, where possible opposition, colleagues to deliver on the promises made to you during the campaign.

“Lastly I would like to reiterate my thanks and appreciation to all of you for placing your confidence in me to represent you for the next five years.”

Local campaigners are determined not to take their teeth out of a fly-over or underpass on the A90 at the Marykirk/ Laurencekirk junction on the A90. Accidents have decreased since the 50 mph speed limit was imposed, but there remains a belief that the junction is far too busy for it to remain as it is.

r In the Angus South seat, former newspaper sports editor Graeme Dey won the seat previously held be SNP veteran Andrew Welsh, who retired from Holyrood before the election.

Mr Dey polled 58.47 per cent of the vote, almost three times the support enjoyed by his nearest rival, Tory Hughie Campbell Adamson.