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Labour candidate for the Western Isles in the coming UK General Election Torcuil Crichton has invited 'The Rest is Politics' podcast duo, Alasdair Campbell and Rory Stewart to come to the islands in the next few weeks. 

That was reported overnight by the duo, hosts of Britain's biggest podcast, as they considered the impact of the shock announcement made in the pouring rain by the solitary figure of Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak outside 10 Downing Street yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, May 22).  

Alasdair Campbell and Rory Stewart – in their podcast about the impact of the surprise announcement – compared the quality of the decision to go to the polls to that of former SNP leader Humza Yousaf's sudden decision to scrap the Bute House agreement with the Scottish Green Party.  They lamented the failure to consider the fact that school holidays started in Scotland and Northern Ireland before the election date.

The duo explained how a ripple of shock spread across the political world in the UK during yesterday as rumours of an election decision spread – along with reports that some Conservative MPs were sending letters to party chiefs declaring they had no confidence in their present leader.  

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil says he welcomes the announcement of a General Election, an action which he says is long overdue, and confirms he will stand as an Independent in the General Election on July 4.

Commenting, Mr MacNeil said: “Clearly, the Tories have run out of steam. Rishi Sunak has decided to 'do a Theresa May' with an unexpected announcement and I understand some Tory MPs are wishing they got rid of Sunak earlier, they are not in a good situation.

“Labour’s Keir Starmer is an imitation of Rishi Sunak with much the same policies with a very light red tinge.

“For myself,  I look forward to standing as an independent, which I have been doing for the last year, I am continuing to offer my services to the people of Na h-Eileanan an Iar. I am confident about this election, especially given it is the 4th of July, which is Independence Day, independent for independence.

"It is looking like this next parliament will be in need of independent voices who are not afraid to talk truth to power, too many Labour nodding dogs will not be a good thing.

“As an independent MP, I continue to assist a large number of constituents every week as I have always done.

“My constituents will have seen no difference in the last year since I parted ways with SNP, other than I have no restrictions of party membership and am able to act and vote on what I think is best for my constituency.

“I hope to be successful in the election on the 4th of July and have the privilege of serving the people of the Na h-Eileanan an Iar again following this election.

“I would also urge constituents to apply for a postal vote if they are planning a summer holiday the first week in July, so they do not miss out on their democratic right to vote.”

Responding to the Prime Minister announcing an election is to take place on 4 July, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Jamie Dobson said:  “The chaotic Conservatives and the scandal-hit SNP have made a mess of our country for too long. People have had enough, and it’s time for change.

“There was a time you could see your GP at the first time of asking, and your dentist still offered NHS care, Scottish education was amongst the best in the world and all the ferries worked. It was so much easier to rent somewhere to live or to buy your first home, our economy was growing and business thrived.

“But for nearly twenty years, the SNP have been ignoring the people who do most of the heavy lifting. You’re working harder, but it feels like you’re falling further behind - like you’re being taken for granted.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to bring people back together, putting Scotland at the heart of a reformed UK and fixing our broken relationship with Europe. We want to help everyone who can't get a GP appointment or see an NHS dentist, support our schools and deliver for business.

“We’ll reduce your bills and tackle climate change by rolling out a national insulation programme, and we’ll get the government-owned water company to clean up its act and stop filling our rivers and our beaches with sewage.

“Liberal Democrats have won the safest of Conservative seats in record by-election wins, just beaten the Conservatives in the English local elections, and Scottish opinion polls show we are growing.

“If elected, I will be a champion for our community and fight on your behalf for a fair deal. It’s time for change.”

Torcuil Crichton, the Scottish Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, said: “I’m glad the Prime Minister has finally called a General Election. The Labour Party is ready, I am ready, and the islands are ready for change.

"There is a vitally important choice at the election. People across the Western Isles recognise there will be continued decline under the Tories and SNP — or a route to prosperity with Labour.

"Islanders need proper representation to give us a direct connection to a Labour government and to take the lead on issues like jobs, housing and depopulation.

"This is why it is so important to vote Labour in Na h-Eileanan an Iar. 

"Most people, regardless of how they voted in the past, agree on the need to improve the NHS, to have ferries that run, proper childcare and well-paid jobs to grow the economy.

"Like me, they are astounded by the chaos of the Conservatives and despair at the incompetence of the SNP.

"In their many guises, the SNP have proven they cannot deliver on islanders’ priorities. Nationalist politicians are now divided and still do not offer any credible path for supporters of independence. 

"We can use this election to divide ourselves again, or we can come together to work for what is best for the islands and Scotland.”

"The biggest advances in health, wages, and security for ordinary people have come under Labour governments. We can do that again. This time, it has to be Labour.”

The SNP candidate, Susan Thomson, has said that she ‘relishes General Election challenge’ and welcomes yesterday's announcement by the Prime Minister.

She said: "We can all see that Westminster isn't working for anyone – particularly in Scotland. The Tory administration, under successive disastrous Prime Ministers, has been chaotic.

“Unfortunately, it is also clear that Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party simply cannot be trusted to sign up for Scotland either."

Speaking at home in South Uist, SusanThomson said, "Scotland's future is best served with the powers of independence where decisions are made in Scotland, for Scotland.  

“I am looking forward to the opportunity, over the next 6 weeks, of making the case for Scotland and a vote for the SNP in Na h-Eileanan an Iar."

 

The Leader of the Scottish Christian Party Dr Donald Boyd (69) was selected as its candidate for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency in the next General Election late in 2023.

Dr Boyd, the leader of the Scottish Christian Party since 2010 and a retired medical doctor, said then: “I am happy to represent my mother’s native isle, which I have known since childhood.

“The House of Commons needs to have a Christian voice at such a time as this, and Western Isles voters have the opportunity to provide this.”

Dr Boyd says he has applied Christian principles to local, national and international politics as an Inverness Community Councillor and an ecclesiastical representative at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg

He believes he has a wide knowledge of the interaction between Christianity and politics and says that, if even 50% of Christians in the constituency would vote for him, this would give a Christian voice promoting the solution to the many problems that are destroying the foundations of UK society.