Holyrood candidate confirmed by SNP

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SNP hopeful Paul Wheelhouse was formally adopted in Hawick on Saturday as the party’s candidate to contest the new Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency in the Holyrood elections.

The economist and education consultant first stood for the SNP in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk in last year’s General Election when he came fourth, polling nearly 4,500 votes.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “I’m keen to tackle hidden poverty, the lack of well-paid jobs and affordable housing for many and the poor public transport, the latter a legacy of Tory bus deregulation. The cost of running a car or HGV is becoming unaffordable as fuel prices continue to rise.”

He was proposed as an SNP candidate by Scottish Government culture minister Fiona Hyslop, who met young voters in Kelso with Mr Wheelhouse earlier on Saturday.

She said: “Paul and his team are working very hard to win this constituency and the betrayal by the Lib Dems of those who voted for them offers Paul an excellent opportunity, as he provides a highly credible, articulate and determined alternative to both his main opponents.”

Mr Wheelhouse, from Dundonald near Belfast, who was born in the same hospital as his 2010 rival, sitting MP and Scottish Secretary of State Michael Moore, also condemned the LibDems for betraying voters.

He called for a different style of politics which looked to longer-term needs and said the UK had squandered Scotland’s £280billion of oil and gas revenues while Norway had capitalised on its resources.

Concerning independence for Scotland Mr Wheelhouse said: “It is our mission, but it is not change for change’s sake that we seek, but rather the means to improve the lives of all who live here. Independence will give us the policy tools to do the job.”

Educated at Stewart’s-Melville and Aberdeen University, Mr Wheelhouse, a husband and father, joined the SNP in 2003 and lives in Berwickshire.

In 2010 the community councillor took 9.2 per cent of the vote and increased SNP’s share of the vote by 0.6 per cent.