New Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Maree Todd ready to 'hit the ground running'
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Maree Todd has vowed to stand up for people across the north Highlands after winning the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross seat at Holyrood.
The SNP candidate beat her nearest challenger, Molly Nolan of the Lib Dems, by 2591 votes. Ms Todd took 15,889 votes while Ms Nolan gained 13,298.
The turnout for the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross constituency was 64.8 per cent, with 36,993 votes cast.
Ms Todd, the former Highlands and Islands regional MSP and children's minister, will now be returned to Holyrood to represent the constituency, replacing Gail Ross, who stood down for family reasons.
Ms Todd said: "It is the privilege of my life to be elected to represent the people of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. I’ve been elected to represent everyone in this constituency, regardless of whether they voted for me, and I promise I will do this to the best of my ability.
“The journey to get to this point has only confirmed to me what I always knew about this part of Scotland I call home, we are full of passionate, innovative and committed folk who all want the same thing – the Highlands to be the best possible place to grow up, live and work in.
“I will work for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross to ensure this ambition is realised and our voice is heard in Holyrood.
“Despite first appearances, we politicians generally want the same things for our constituents, regardless of party. We want people to be healthy, wealthy, and live in peace with each other. How we get there is where we differ but fundamentally, we share more with each other than sets us apart. I want to thank my fellow candidates for a respectful debate. Not once did any of us make personal comments, derogatory remarks or consciously make misleading statements, which is testimony to the calibre of candidates here.
“I look forward to hitting the ground running – thank you.”
Ms Nolan congratulated Ms Todd on her victory.
"People across Caithness, Sutherland and Ross deserve an MSP that will put them first. I genuinely hope you are successful in doing that," she said.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats should be proud of our campaign.
"We did what was right: speaking up for rural communities, demanding better healthcare provision and challenging to do more on the climate emergency.
"But turning around a majority of nearly 4000 in one of the largest seats across Scotland in just a matter of months is no mean feat. I am sorry we couldn't do it this time."
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate Struan Mackie gained 5170 votes, while Marion Donaldson of Labour took 2016.
Tina McCaffery of Freedom Alliance had 289 votes and Harry Christian of the Scottish Libertarian Party gained 222 votes.