Lib Dems favourites but ex-party chief backs SNP

Andy Myles is vot­ing SNP in North East Fife to head off a Tory resur­gence

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - Kieran an­drews po­liT­i­cal ediTor

An in­de­pen­dence-sup­port­ing for­mer Scot­tish Lib­eral Demo­crat chief ex­ec­u­tive has backed the SNP in North East Fife de­spite his party be­ing the book­ies’ favourite.

Andy Myles, who was a spe­cial ad­viser to ex-Lib­eral Deputy First Min­is­ter Ni­coll Stephen, said he was vot­ing Na­tion­al­ist to head off a Con­ser­va­tive resur­gence, with Tory candidate Tony Mik­lin­ski also push­ing hard in the mar­ginal seat.

For­mer local coun­cil­lor El­iz­a­beth Riches is stand­ing for the Lib Dems and UK leader Tim Far­ron has cam­paigned in St An­drews as the party bids to win back the seat it lost to the SNP in 2015.

Mr Myles said: “With the usual qualms about tac­ti­cal vot­ing, I’d vote for a pro-Euro­pean, broadly lib­eral, sit­ting MP, like Stephen Gethins in North East Fife, if I thought there was the slight­est dan­ger of the pro-Brexit Con­ser­va­tive Party win­ning.”

His in­ter­ven­tion fol­lows ex-Lib Dem candidate and Euro­pean Com­mis­sion of­fi­cial Si­mon Horner, who lives in Cu­par, giv­ing his back­ing to Mr Gethins while Andy Collins, the Green candidate two years ago, has con­firmed he will not stand and will in­stead vote SNP.

Anal­y­sis by Bet­fair puts the Lib Dems as favourites to re­claim the seat at 4-5, al­beit in a very tight race with the SNP, who are placed at evens.

Speak­ing about Scot­land as a whole, Neil Mon­nery of the book­mak­ers said: “If they can en­er­gise the union­ist vote and is­sue a ral­ly­ing call to those who op­pose the SNP, this could be the Lib Dems’ best re­gion and that in­cludes heav­ily Re­main-pop­u­lated Lon­don.”

The Lib­er­als fin­ished 4,344 votes be­hind the SNP in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tion but Scot­tish leader Wil­lie Ren­nie won back the Holy­rood seat in last year’s Scot­tish elec­tion, and the con­stituency is third on his list of tar­get seats north of the bor­der.

Mr Gethins, the SNP’s Europe spokesman, said: “I am de­lighted to have the back­ing of Andy who has made a huge con­tri­bu­tion to politics over the past 25 years and more.”

A Lib­eral Demo­crat spokesman said: “It’s un­sur­pris­ing that some­one like Mr Myles who shared a stage with Ni­cola Stur­geon dur­ing the 2014 in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum is sup­port­ing the pro in­de­pen­dence candidate in this elec­tion. Lib­eral Democrats stand firmly against another di­vi­sive in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum un­like the SNP and Mr Myles.”

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