SNP candidate is chosen for Rutherglen seat
Row as MSP told he takes area for granted
The SNP have selected their candidate to run in the Rutherglen seat at next year’s Scottish election.
And 48-year-old Clare Haughey wasted no time in drawing the battle lines by accusing current MSP James Kelly of taking the constituency for granted.
Ms Haughey is a mother-of-three who works as a mental health nurse for the NHS.
She beat off a challenge from six other prospective candidates, including Cambuslang East councillor, Christine Deanie.
A former member of the Labour Party, who campaigned with Labour for Indy during the Independence referendum, she describes herself as being “passionate about improving healthcare services and reducing healthcare inequalities.”
She says she is “an active trade unionist,” who is a divisional convener in UNISON.
After joining the SNP in the aftermath of the referendum, Ms Haughey acted as a team leader during the general election campaign and is currently social convenor on the party’s executive committee.
Ms Haughey, who says she used to argue with her own mother in favour of independence when just a child, said in a statement last week: “I believe I reflect the new face of the Scottish National Party, and am determined to actively campaign and strive for an independent Scotland.
“I have been inspired by the overwhelming support of this cause from local people and their unity of purpose in seeking to change existing inequalities in our society.
“Our constituency has been taken for granted for too long, by politicians who expect to be returned reelected, despite their inactivity and failure to represent the views of their electorate. I will be a strong voice for the Rutherglen constituency.”
Among her priorities, she said she will secure a new secondary school for Halfway and oppose the Cathkin Relief Road.
The Reformer quizzed her on her Labour past and she said: “The decision (to join the SNP) was made during the Indyref when it became quite clear to me that my beliefs were no longer held by the Labour Party.
“Mhairi Black stole my quote, I didn’t leave the Labour Party, the Labour Party left me.”
However, her suggestion he takes the constituency for granted was rubbished by James Kelly MSP, who said: “I take nothing for granted. Since first being elected eight years ago, I’ve handled just under 8000 individual constituent enquiries with cases ranging from housing and GP provision to cuts to college places, and everything in-between.
“Over the last few days alone, I’ve held a drop-in surgery, picked up casework on the doorstep, and even answered questions on Facebook.
“I have a record of taking local issues to the floor of the Parliament. For example, last week I called on the Scottish Government to invest in local GPs, and made the case for a living wage for employees at the new Rutherglen McDonald’s.
“Ms Haughey is to be congratulated on her selection. I am going to run a positive campaign – I hope she will join me in a respectful debate.”
Mr Kelly currently enjoys a slender majority of 1779 although the SNP will be favourites after winning the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat in May’s general election.
I will be a strong voice for the Rutherglen constituency
Candidate Clare Haughey, the SNP’s candidate for Rutherglen, enjoys Owl Magic at Overtoun Park