Selection Box: A New Tory face in Central Scotland?
Margaret Mitchell, the Tories’ lone backbencher, may not be returning to Holyrood next year.
Her ‘base’ constituency, as it were, has always been Hamilton South, where she stood in 1999, 2003 and 2007. But the successor to that constituency will not have her as the Tory candidate. Instead, they’re going for Graeme Brooks.
The plot thickens: only two constituencies in the region – Coatbridge & Chryston and Cumbernauld & Klsyth – have not yet announced their candidate so she’s running out of potential backers, unless she switches region, and perhaps makes a pitch for Rutherglen, and the Glasgow list.
But if she is standing again (she may have decided to stand down), she might find this hard: she’s the party’s only backbencher – even the retiring Bill Aitken and Ted Brocklebank have some sort of portfolio – and has been banished to one of the two Scottish Parliamentary Gulags: the Equal Opporunities Committee (the other is Subordinate Legislation, incidentally).
And of course, Central Scotland has been a problem region for the Tories before: in the first session of Holyrood, it was represented by the – how to put this? – somewhat unorthodox figure of Lyndsey McIntosh, whose fall to third place on the List for 2003 granted Mitchell her big chance, while McIntosh herself defected to the Scottish People’s Alliance, which came 11th, outpolling only UKIP. While Mitchell is unlikely to put up even that token resistance, it seems that the Tories of Central Scotland (and the Tory Leadership as well) have found another of their representatives wanting.
Which begs the question, are there any Tories at all in Central Scotland who’ll make the grade as Scottish Parliamentarians?