SCP to field candidate in General Election
The Scottish Christian Party is hoping to field a candidate in the forthcoming general election and a contest is to held in the early new year to select a candidate.
A £30,000 campaign war chest has been promised to the Scottish Christian Party (SCP) candidate fighting the Western Isles constituency in the forthcoming general election. The party’s political candidate will be chosen in February after a US-style Open Primary contest open to all islanders.
This is thought to be just the second time the American system of allow all voters in an area to select a prospective candidate for an election in the UK. The first was in August when the Sarah Wollaston was picked to fight the Totnes seat for the 2010 general election for the Conservatives.
The candidate selection will be conducted by a secure internet vote and via a computerised telephone poll. The primary will be organised and controlled by the Electoral Reform Service though its £30,000 cost will be borne by the party.
Voting in the Primary will be between Thursday 21 January and Thursday 11 February 2010.
Christian Party leader Rev. George Hargreaves who stood in the Western Isles as a SCP candidate for the Western Isles at the last general election pledged the campaign cash saying: “We are in it to win it. “Whoever wins the prize will be well resourced.”
“The £30,000 campaign fund is the maximum allowed under the law and we are spending a similar amount on the Primary."
The successful candidate will have a rented campaign office at his disposal in a prime spot in Cromwell Street in Stornoway town centre. The party plans to fight the SNP after blaming the Nationalists for launching a controversial Sabbath ferry into Lewis this summer while Sabbath trading is another issue troubling the party. Rev. Hargreaves has stated:
“In 2010 and 2011 the Scottish Christian Party shall run election campaigns based on building on the strengths of the Western Isles, not destroying them. We intend to see the people of the Western Isles united behind it uniqueness, not divided by its diversity.”
Mr. Hargreaves also believes that the Calman report could benefit the Scottish islands. He said that the 10 pence (income) tax should be used to advantage for the Western Isles and peripheral islands to attract new business and attract population to the islands
The presence of the Scottish Christian Party in the Western Isles election fight could well upset the two-horse race between the SNP and Labour. It will also impact on any opportunity or desire that there might be for a local Christian to stand as an independent.
In the 2007 elections for the Scottish Parliament Mr. Murdo Murray, a former Technical Director with Western Isles Council stood as a List Candidate for the SCP.
Mr. Murray participated in a recent on-line discussion regarding the Sunday sailing issue and the wider subject of Christian representation in the political process.
In the course of the discussion Christians Together interviewed Mr. Murray on a range of issues affecting the Western Isles. It is understood that Mr. Murray was not present at a recent public meeting in Stornoway hosted by Rev. Hargreaves.