New era dawns as SNP triumph in North East Fife

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A WEEK after his historic election victory, North East Fife’s new MSP has vowed to build a reputation as a “hard-working” local representative.

Rod Campbell was carried into office atop the SNP ‘tsunami’ that swept over Scotland on polling day.

The shock result ended more than a decade of Liberal Democrat dominance in North East Fife, ousting Iain Smith from the Holyrood seat he had held since 1999.

Mr Campbell, a 57-year-old advocate, told the Fife Herald he would carry out his duties to the best of his ability.

He said: “Although I’ve been elected as an SNP MSP, I can pledge that I will work to the best of my ability for all the people of North East Fife, regardless of political persuasion.

“I want to be known as as a hard-working local MSP.”

Mr Campbell, who was sworn in on Wednesday, admitted dissatisfaction with the Westminster coalition had “undoubtedly” played a part in the huge 15 per cent swing away from the Lib Dems in North East Fife.

He said: “During the campaign I lost track of the number of folk who said to me on their doorstep that they used to be Lib Dem.

“My task now is to keep them in the SNP fold.”

Spectators at last Friday’s vote count in St Andrews knew they were witnessing history in the making when rumours began to circulate of a sensational SNP victory.

Despite being “exhausted” by the time the result was announced, Mr Campbell was able to celebrate his win with a glass of champagne at a local bar before being whisked away to an SNP bash in Edinburgh.

He said: “I’d been up all night watching other results come in so I was exhausted by the time the North East Fife seat was announced.

“I didn’t stay long at the SNP do because I had to be up early on Saturday morning for a group photo at Holyrood.

“It’s been a busy few days — quite fraught with one thing and another.”

One of those things was press speculation earlier this week claiming a final decision had been made to hand RAF Leuchars over to the army — rumours that proved to be unfounded.

Amid suggestions the SNP has favoured the campaign to save RAF Lossiemouth, Mr Campbell said: “Leuchars is a big issue and it doesn’t help when people are getting misinformation from the press.

“Closure of Leuchars would have a major impact on the constituency and the wider Fife area, and I have been in discussions with other SNP MSPs about keeping up the campaign.

“We’ll be doing our best to retain two RAF bases in Scotland.”

Edinburgh-born and currently living in Perth, Mr Campbell insisted his lack of ties to North East Fife would not prove an obstacle to serving his constituents.

He said: “My grandmother was from Anstruther so I have historic ties to the East Neuk, and living in Perth I’m only 15 minutes or so away from Newburgh.

“I’ve stood in North East Fife on three previous occasions so I think people will see a loyalty to the area.

“But to be honest hardly anybody mentioned it, and I haven’t ruled out the possibility of moving to the constituency.