McDonald to contest Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross seat for Labour
The Labour Party has chosen its candidate to contest the seat of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross for the forthcoming general election.
Cheryl McDonald will try and claim the seat which is held by Jamie Stone of the Liberal Democrats.
The seat has not been kind to Labour at the polls over the years, both under its current boundaries and before Easter Ross was moved to the constituency ahead of the 1997 election.
Robert Maclennan was the last Labour candidate to take the seat in 1966 when he pulled off a shock result to topple Liberal Party MP George Mackie by 64 votes.
Mr Maclennan (later Lord Maclennan) would hold the seat for Labour until 1981 when he switched sides to join the fledgling SDP that had been formed by the "Gang of Four" of Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers.
Labour though was unable to win it back as Mr Maclennan's own personal support ensured he would remain as MP (both for the SDP and as a Liberal Democrat following the merger between the former and the Liberal Party in 1988) before handing over to fellow Lib Dem John Thurso in 2001.
With the exception of the SNP's win in 2015, the seat has been a Lib Dem stronghold with Labour coming a distant fourth in the 2017 general election that saw Jamie Stone retake the seat for the Lib Dems.
I have always actively campaigned on the issues which I feel are important to us all.
Ms McDonald said: "I live on the north Sutherland coast with my husband, and my family are also here. We feel part of this community and have been warmly welcomed.
"I originally trained as a nurse and enjoyed my work, particularly caring for elderly patients. I returned to college and subsequently worked as a resettlement officer and manager, helping homeless people find homes and dealing with alcohol and drug addictions of clients.
"Returning to college, I became a lecturer in literacy and numeracy, managing an adult education department.
"During the last few years I have been supporting my family through some tough times.
"I volunteered as a youth worker and also helped run a credit union, as well as being a member of my regional police liaison committee and a founder member of a town improvement team.
"I have always actively campaigned on the issues which I feel are important to us all – having public services that are accountable to us, jobs which give people a decent living, women's rights, education, disability issues and poverty, all these things which make our daily lives easier or incredibly hard."
Ms McDonald was put forward by the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross branch of the party following the deselection of original choice Bill Curran by the Scottish Labour Party for an alleged breach of discipline.
Jamie Stone is again contesting the seat for the Liberal Democrats. Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor Karl Rosie is the SNP candidate.