Camper­van trip is no jolly, says MP as he sets off on tour of duty

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

A NEWLY elected MP who has de­cided to visit nine Scot­tish is­lands in a rented camper­van said he chose to do so not know­ing it might ‘frus­trate’ peo­ple.

Bren­dan O’Hara, elected in May to serve Ar­gyll and Bute at Westminster, set out in the large camper­van on Tues­day morn­ing to ‘ful­fil a prom­ise’ he had made to is­lan­ders that he would visit as many is­lands as pos­si­ble as soon as he could.

Vis­it­ing Bute, Coll, Tiree, Colon­say, Is­lay, Jura, Mull, Iona and Gigha, Bren­dan said it will be an in­ter­est­ing trip.

Bren­dan said: ‘I’m in no doubt that this is the most beau­ti­ful con­stituency in these is­lands and rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple who live and work here is a huge priv­i­lege.

‘I was de­ter­mined to use this time to get around as much of the place as I can to meet folk, hear their con­cerns and ideas and help them with the is­sues they face.

‘Be­ing an MP means putting your con­stituency first and this is one of the many op­por­tu­ni­ties I’ll take to do just that.

‘I am look­ing for­ward to the next two weeks im­mensely.’

How­ever, the par­lia­men­tary novice was taken aback when he heard that some of his con­stituents viewed his road and ferry trip as a ‘ bit of a jolly’, He replied: ‘It is not a jolly at all. It means I am on my own for 14 days trav­el­ling around the is­lands.

‘When I get back to He­lens­burgh, I al­most im­me­di­ately need to go back to Lon­don.

‘It is cer­tainly not a hol­i­day. I will be vis­it­ing vil­lages and towns and knock­ing on doors.

‘I see it more as ac­com­mo­da­tion and an of­fice that al­lows me to see peo­ple where they live - rather than them travel- ling to see me.’ When asked how peo­ple should con­tact him when he is on tour, he pro­vided this an­swer: ‘If it is day­light hours and peo­ple see the van, then I would be de­lighted if they would knock and say hello.’

Bren­dan said he will be eat­ing in ho­tels and restau­rants as he is not that keen on light­ing a gas burner in the van. He con­tin­ued: ‘I will be buy­ing ev­ery­thing I can on the is­lands.

‘I will ar­rive with a box of tea bags and two pints of UHT milk.’

‘If it doesn’t work and peo­ple are an­noyed with the van, then I won’t do it again. But we will try it and see what hap­pens.’

VAN MAN: Bren­dan O’Hara is vis­it­ing the Is­lands in his camper­van

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