Fi­nal votes push as poll is loom­ing Last-minute can­vass­ing forThurs­day’s by-elec­tion

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Clark

Can­di­dates in the High­land ward by-elec­tion made a last-gasp bid for votes at the week­end.

Vot­ers in High­land Perthshire will go to the polls on Thurs­day to elect a suc­ces­sor to the late coun­cil leader, Ian Camp­bell.

The elec­tion is likely to be a fight be­tween the Con­ser­va­tives, who are de­fend­ing the seat, and the SNP, who could draw level with the Tories on 16 coun­cil­lors if they are vic­to­ri­ous.

John Duff, who is stand­ing for the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive and Union­ist Party, said: “Over the last few days, my team and I have been work­ing very hard through­out the High­land ward de­liv­er­ing leaflets con­tain­ing my elec­tion pledges to res­i­dents and high­light­ing the lo­cal is­sues which have been brought to my at­ten­tion dur­ing the cam­paign.

“In ad­di­tion, I have per­son­ally been can­vass­ing widely in High­land Perthshire.

“As a lo­cal res­i­dent, I have en­joyed dis­cussing the is­sues of im­por­tance to vot­ers in the area in­clud­ing how the coun­cil can im­prove the ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties at Pit­lochry High School, the du­alling of the A9, the pro­vi­sion of lo­cal health ser­vices in Aber­feldy and the state of the roads.”

Hop­ing to give the Tories a bloody nose, as well as a quick re­turn to coun­cil, is the SNP’s John Kel­las.

Mr Kel­las, who lost his Strath­tay seat last year, said: “Clearly the choice in High­land Perthshire is the SNP or the Tories, a choice be­tween in­vest­ment in ser­vices and ad­vanc­ing lo­cal is­sues within the coun­cil, or a Tory fu­ture with more cuts to ser­vices. John Duff

“We have been con­tact­ing our sup­port­ers with let­ters and mak­ing sure peo­ple ac­tu­ally do turn out and vote. It is dif­fi­cult to get peo­ple mo­ti­vated for a coun­cil by-elec­tion, but my re­spon­si­bil­ity is to make sure they vote, be­cause the stakes are high.

“Prin­ci­pally, this by-elec­tion is about High­land Perthshire, but also the fu­ture of Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil, is in the hands of the vot­ers.”

Seven can­di­dates will be on the bal­lot pa­per for vot­ers on Thurs­day.

Chris Ren­nie (Lib­eral Democrats), Mary McDougall (Scot­tish Greens), Jayne Ra­m­age (Labour), Denise Baykal (in­de­pen­dent) and Avril Tay­lor (in­de­pen­dent) will all be hop­ing to spring a sur­prise.

Ms Tay­lor said the ex­pe­ri­ence for an in­de­pen­dent was very dif­fer­ent to those with party back­ing: “I am one per­son, and what the com­mu­nity needs, I am lis­ten­ing to and fight­ing for. From my point of view at a lo­cal elec­tion it should be an in­de­pen­dent rather than large po­lit­i­cal par­ties.”

Lib Dem Chris Ren­nie also said: “There can be a rad­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty­rooted ad­vo­cate for High­land Perthshire as op­posed to just an­other SNP or Con­ser­va­tive politi­cian be­ing elected, Kel­las John but it is only pos­si­ble if ev­ery­one turns out and votes for me on Thurs­day.”

Green can­di­date May McDougall said: “Get­ting around High­land ward has given a valu­able in­sight into some of the chal­lenges, namely com­mu­ni­ca­tion, dis­tance, trans­port and costs in this the largest ward in the au­thor­ity in terms of land mass.”

The polls will be open across the High­land ward from 7am un­til 10pm on Thurs­day, April 19. The of­fi­cial count will take place the fol­low­ing day from 9.30am on Fri­day, April 20 at Breadal­bane Com­mu­nity Cam­pus in Aber­feldy.

Bid for re-elec­tion

Hop­ing to de­fend seat

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