Published: 18/05/2017 13:00 - Updated: 18/05/2017 13:06

Former headteacher aims to win back strath seat for Lib Dems

Written byEmma Crichton

Ritchie Cunningham, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Lib Dems
Ritchie Cunningham, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Lib Dems

A former head teacher will be challenging Drew Hendry in next month’s Westminster General Election.

Ritchie Cunningham, who was rector at Inverness High School for 23 years, will stand for the Liberal Democrats in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey on June 8.

The Nairn man, who missed out on success in the recent Highland Council elections, standing for Nairn and Cawdor, said his priorities are fighting against independence and centralisation, as well as protecting Britain’s place in the EU.

"I will speak for the Highlands against the centralisation of services to the Central Belt and ensure our area gets the funding it deserves – it has been short changed by the SNP Government," he said.

"I will also continue the Lib Dem fight to protect HIE which the SNP seemed determined to marginalise.

"The Highlands and Islands Development Board, forerunner of HIE, was a Liberal idea forced onto a Labour government and has done much to develop the Highlands"

"I will campaign for road and rail improvements like the A82, A9, A96 and the rail lines to Aberdeen and the central belt."

Mr Cunningham hopes to continue the success of former high-profile Highland Lib Dems, including Danny Alexander, Russell Johnston and the late Charles Kennedy.

"Liberal Democrats have a record of delivery here, with giants like Russell Johnston, Danny Alexander, Charles Kennedy, Jo Grimond, Robert McLennan and John Thurso, who did so much for the Highlands," he said.

"I want to be part of a strong Lib Dem team to follow their example."

The seat was previously held by Mr Alexander, former chief secretary to the treasury, until he was unseated by Mr Hendry with a majority of more than 10,000 votes.

The sitting MP will contest his seat and will also be up against Labour’s Mike Robb.

The Scottish Greens said last week that they will not be fielding anyone in the Highlands and Islands.

Former Aird and Loch Ness councillor Jean Davis is standing for the Lib Dems in Ross, Skye and Lochaber while sitting Tain and Easter Ross councillor Jamie Stone will represent the party in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

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