Only days after the runaway success of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to the Isle of Lewis, it was a buoyant and cheerful group of Labour party members who thronged to the official opening of a modern office in Stornoway for their regional MSPs, David Stewart and Rhoda Grant.
And keynote speaker at the event this afternoon (Wednesday August 30th) was one of the party’s rising stars in Scotland, the Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird. In June’s General Election, Lesley Laird was elected to represent Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. Ms Laird was born in Greenock and is a former deputy leader of Fife Council. She worked in human resources before being elected as a councillor in 2012.
The new office – which gives Labour representatives a high-street presence in Stornoway on the Perceval Square side of Cromwell Street – replaces one accommodated in some small premises in Church Street.
David Stewart, introducing Ms Laird, said it was great to moving to an office that reflected the importance of the Western Isles as a constituency. “This is a seat that I firmly believe we will win in both the next General Election and the next Scottish Parliament election as well. This is an important step in the development of the party and I would like to thank everybody who has been involved.”
Ms Laird said this was her first visit to the Islands and she had had a full schedule of meetings involving Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, crofters, local retailers and fishermen’s representatives.
“We need all our membership to be standing tall and proud at this time, we had a really good campaign over the summer period,” and this would be continued. She reminded the audience of the inspiring effect of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit last week. “He talked so positively about the visit,” she said.
“We have, I think, wakened up the Labour vote and I think it is very important we continue to build on that and push forward.” She said she would be out campaigning again this weekend and every weekend. People now wanted to talk to the Labour Party about the basic fundamental matters which concern people.
Rhoda Grant said the party had come very close to winning locally in the June General Election despite the short time available for the capaing. Referring to the resignation of Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, she said that the party should “do her credit” by continuing to march on and should remember it could do nothing to achieve its aims unless it was able to take power. “Let’s get up and at it,” she concluded.