Alex Salmond faces cross-party fight for Gordon

AN UNOFFICIAL cross-party alliance to stop Alex Salmond’s campaign to become an MP in Gordon has been unveiled by the Lib Dems as SNP activists warn that the former first minister faces a “close” fight to win the Aberdeenshire seat.

Former first minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Former first minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Lib Dem candidate Christine Jardine has been publicly endorsed by Labour and Tory party members as well as a former Yes voter from last year as she became the focal point of a coalition to stop Mr Salmond to return to Westminster.

The development came as Mr Salmond claimed in an interview over the weekend that the SNP would ‘hammer’ the Lib Dems in the contest.

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But one SNP activisit in Gordon reportedly told The Observer: “We think Salmond will win. But, actually, listening to what everyone says behind the scenes, it is going to be very close.”

The Electoral Reform Society has also identified the seat as being marginal, suggesting the race may be close.

Ms Jardine told the Scotsman: “I think people in Gordon feel they have already been hammered by the SNP’s underfunding of NHS Grampian and Mr Salmond’s government’s centralising of police and fire services.”

Likening Mr Salmond to the infamous English King Edward I, known as the “Hammer of the Scots”, she added: “I am amazed that he using that phrase ‘the Hammer of the Lib Dem Scots’ with all the historical connotations that phrase holds.”

In a broadcast interview, Lib Dem Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, whose own Inverness seat is under threat from the Nationalist surge, said: “I’m confident actually that when people are faced with a choice between Liberal Democrats and the SNP that people will choose the Liberal Democrats because they want a strong and stable government.”

The cross-party event in Inverurie saw Labour’s George Simpson, Conservative Lachland Rhodes and Yes supporter Jen Wilson join Ms Jardine to confirm they will be voting for her on 7 May.

Lachland Rhodes, from Clatt, said: “I have been a Tory voter all my life, but here in Gordon the potential for Alex Salmond to win this seat for the SNP is such that a vote for the Liberal Democrats is imperative to keep him out of Westminster.

“While my own political views are unchanged, I believe that Christine Jardine would be a dramatically more effective representative for our local community than Mr Salmond, and she would spend less time “grandstanding” in Westminster to promote the party above the needs of the of people in the constituency. Also, importantly, a vote here for the Lib Dems would be the most effective way of stopping the SNP bandwagon.”

Mr Simpson of Tarves said: “I’ve always voted Labour, and I have not changed my view on that. But this election is going to be close. Its a straight choice and I’ll be voting for Christine because I want her as my MP and not Alex Salmond.

“I worked with her during the Better Together campaign and I know that she will put the constituency first. “She’ll stand up for us on issues like health and support for the oil industry, the things that really matter to the people of Gordon.”

Yes voter Ms Wilson, from Inverurie, raised concerns over Mr Salmond’s record on public services in the north east as First Minister.

She said: “I voted Yes in the referendum but I believe Christine will be the best MP for Gordon. She cares about people more than anything else and will work hard for us for the next 5 years.

“She wants to fix our health service and make sure young people get the best possible start in life. That’s more important to me than an abstract constitutional idea that people have actually rejected.”