SNP: We can win Brown’s seat

David Torrance MSP
David Torrance MSP

Nominations are closed, three shortlisted candidates are selected and the SNP’s battle for Gordon Brown’s seat has officially begun.

What’s more, the party believes it can win the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, decimating Labour’s massive 23,000 vote majority at the last General Election.

David Torrance MSP said: “We go into the Westminster election for the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in a positive mood, buoyed by the surge in membership throughout the area and firmly believing that we have the potential to win.

“The decision by Gordon Brown to stand down at the next election raises an interesting scenario as to where his personal vote will go.

‘‘Irrespective of that, the SNP will be campaigning to win the seat.”

The party has shortlisted three candidates.

Roger Mullin is an honorary politics professor at Stirling University, who cites the support of David Torrance and MSP Alex Neil on his website.

Lesley Backhouse is chairman of the Breastfeeding Network, who lives in Burntisland, describes herself as “left-of-centre” and hopes to be Kirkcaldy’s first female MP.

Also Councillor Bill Brown, who has represented Glenrothes West and Kinglassie since 2012 and taught computing at Fife College for 33 years.

All three are due to appear at a hustings taking place at the SNP’s Cowdenbeath branch tonight (Thursday).

In the wake of the independence referendum, membership of the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath branches has risen six-fold.

The SNP at its national party conference last month passed a motion to allow party members a vote to decide constituency candidates after just three months’ membership.

Previously, party members were required to have completed 13 months’ membership.

The final candidate will be chosen in February.

Mr Torrance added: “It is essential that the MP who is elected provides the best possible representation, not only for the interests of the constituents, but has the ability to represent the interests of what is best in helping to secure the future for a prosperous Scotland. Someone who will fight to end the austerity that currently prevails and which has impacted on so many across the constituency.”

In the 2010 election, Mr Brown secured 29,559 votes, while Douglas Chapman (SNP) secured 6,550, representing a 3.3 per cent swing from SNP to Labour.