They’re off! Race to Westminster begins ...

Roger Mullin, SNP candidate for General Election 2015, opens SNP office on Kirkcaldy High Street
Roger Mullin, SNP candidate for General Election 2015, opens SNP office on Kirkcaldy High Street
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Parliament will be dissolved on Monday, firing the starting gun for the election campaign - but the parties are already active on the doorsteps locally. The Press rounds-up their activities in the countdown to the big vote on May 7

The countdown to the 2015 General Election has begun - so brace yourself for lots of political activity!

Kenny Selbie, Labour candidate

Kenny Selbie, Labour candidate

Parliament formally dissolves on Monday, signalling the start of the campaign.

But the key parties have already got their local teams out and about in their bid to land the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat vacated by Gordon Brown MP who is stepping down.

It’s a traditionally solid Labour hold - the party has been returned to Westminster since 1935 - but the Ashcroft poll suggested it may be up for grabs as Scotland returns to the polls for the first time since last year’s historic referendum which energised so many.

It’s a straight head to head between Labour and the SNP - and they have six weeks to win your votes before polling day on May 7.

Dave Dempsey (Conservative), Jack Neil (UKIP) and Callum Leslie (Lib Dems)

Dave Dempsey (Conservative), Jack Neil (UKIP) and Callum Leslie (Lib Dems)

Kenny Selbie is the man charged with holding Kirkcaldy for Labour.

The local councillor has been out and about - his campaign team has knocked on over over 2000 doors, spoke to hundreds of voters and visited local groups and businesses.

Mr Selbie has made visits to FiFab, Lochgelly High School, Lochgelly Care Home, Muir Group, Purvis Group, Kirkcaldy YMCA and The Cottage Family Centre.

He said: “I have been meeting groups from all over the constituency during the campaign to talk about local issues such as problems with buildings, anti-social behaviour and environmental issues.

“My campaign team plan to talk to as many voters as possible by polling day through door knocking, phone banking, a public meeting, and holding street stalls.”

Meanwhile, SNP candidate Roger Mullin opened his HQ on High Street on Tuesday. He said the party had an “obligation” towards helping the town centre so chose the shop on the corner of Kirk Wynd as his base.

He said: ‘‘We sought out and got this rather big facility, which, behind the scenes, is going to be a working area for the campaign.

“It’s our, albeit modest, contribution to High Street development. It puts me in a stronger position if elected to say we are putting our money where our mouth is.”

On the campaign trail he is pushing two themes.

“One is the national theme, whereby we want to see stronger representation for Scotland in Westminster.

“We also want a strong campaign on local matters. This constituency has largely been neglected for years. The people here have been taken for granted for generations, so we’ve got to end that.”

Candidates are on message for campaign

UKIP joined the fray this week, unveiling Jack Neill as their candidate.

The former Inverkeithing High School pupil is a student at the University of the West of Scotland.

He said: “As a UKIP candidate with libertarian leanings, I will campaign for smaller government, low taxation, less government interference in private life and local referenda while campaigning to preserve the United Kingdom and protect Scotland from the manifestation of Scottish nationalism which I believe is holding our country back from more pressing issues like the economy, the education system and the state of our fully-devolved NHS.”

Tory candidate Dave Dempsey has been busy meeting voters.

He said: ‘‘I’ve also mostly been carrying on with my day job as a Fife councillor.

“I strongly believe that it would be wrong to concentrate heavily on getting elected to Westminster by neglecting the job I have on account of already being elected locally.

‘‘Voters want someone who’ll work for them afterwards. I’ve shown I can do that.”

Liberal Democrat candidate, Callum Leslie told the Press that he would embark on a positive campaign.

He said: “We are concentrating in our areas of strength and showing voters across the constituency that Liberal Democrats are the best local representatives.

“We have strong records of local action, particularly in Kirkcaldy, Burntisland and Kinghorn, of having achieved real change for local people.”