Jardine to stand in Aberdeen Donside by-election

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A FORMER adviser to the Scottish Secretary is to stand for the Liberal Democrats in the Aberdeen Donside by-election on 20 June.

Christine Jardine will contest the seat made vacant by the death last month of SNP MSP Brian Adam, who had cancer.

Jardine, who stood unsuccessfully in a different constituency in the last Holyrood election, said: “The north-east needs a strong voice in parliament, not yet another nationalist who will bang the drum for independence.

“For too long the SNP government has overlooked ­Aberdeen.”

She wants the Scottish Government to reverse cuts to council services and improve rail links to the Central Belt.

Jardine was a former journalist at the BBC and the Press Association. She contested the Inverness and Nairn seat for the Lib Dems in the 2011 Holyrood election and was a special adviser to Scottish Secretary Michael Moore.

In 2011, the Lib Dems finished behind the other main parties with 6 per cent of the vote in Aberdeen Donside.

Adam beat his nearest rivals Labour with 14,790 votes, 55 per cent of the total cast.

Labour has put forward city councillor Willie Young to contest the by-election and the Conservatives confirmed their candidate as city councillor Ross Thomson.

The SNP is expected to formally name its candidate early next week, although the current SNP regional north-east list MSP Mark McDonald is tipped to stand as the candidate in Adam’s seat.

McDonald would have to resign his current seat and that would trigger his automatic replacement by Christian Alland, a Frenchman who attended university in Dijon, who is next in line to enter parliament under the Holyrood list system.

In addition to the main Scottish parties, Ukip has also pledged to field a candidate. Last week Peter Adam, the party’s general secretary in Scotland, said: “We will select a candidate next weekend, so it’s our intention to fight.

“Our branch in Aberdeen is small relative to the resources available to the SNP and Labour.

“We realise it’s a hard nut to crack here, but we have to take strength. It will build for future contests.”

Despite the SNP’s comfortable majority, Labour has a strong track record in the area at Westminster and council elections and will put up a fierce contest.