The Western Isles Labour Party has selected a North Uist woman with a strong history of community involvement as the party's candidate for the next Westminster General Election.
Alison MacCorquodale, from Paiblesgarry, currently works as an Economic Development Officer for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. An Honours law graduate from Aberdeen University, she is also secretary of UNISON’s Western Isles Local Government Branch.
Her immediate message was that the Western Isles is in urgent need of a strong political voice to address the specific needs of the constituency.
Ms MacCorquodale said: “It is essential our priorities are represented with consistency, tenacity and focus on outcomes.”
She added: “The future of our fragile islands’ economy depends on attracting more people here while retaining our current population. I will work constructively with anyone, regardless of party label, to achieve these outcomes”
On Brexit, Ms MacCorquodale said: “Personally, I voted to remain but respect the democratic process. I will be having immediate discussions with representatives from the key sectors – including Fishing, Crofting and Tourism - to find how their needs and priorities can be reflected in negotiations. Their voices must be heard”.
Ms MacCorquodale said that Holyrood and Westminster issues could not be separated entirely and that she would campaign to highlight the “scandalous” treatment of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s finances by the Scottish Government.
She said: “At a time when the need for an economic Deal for the Islands is being recognised, it is unacceptable and nonsensical that Western Isles has suffered the harshest settlement of any Scottish local authority with a £504 per head of population cut in funding over the past five years.”
“Through my trade union work, I know the suffering this has already caused our communities in terms of both job losses and reductions in vital services. This has not been a recession, it has been a robbery. Our people are our greatest asset and the fact our communities face another four years of cuts is untenable.”
Alison MacCorquodale paid tribute to the efforts of her predecessor as Labour candidate, Ealasaid MacDonald, who made the seat into a marginal with a ten per cent swing to Labour. She said: “I want to build on the great work that was done at the last election and will be a candidate who listens to and acts on behalf of the people of the Western Isles”.