Five business leaders in the Highlands are appealing to voters to ditch their traditional party allegiances and back Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
They argue that he has been at the forefront of the campaign to breathe new life into the economy locally and nationally and people should be “grateful” he has spent the last five years sitting round the Cabinet table in London.
The business people, who have signed an open letter to voters in the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency, said Mr Alexander had been a “strong, authentic voice” and ensured local concerns had been heard in the corridors of power like never before.
But the Liberal Democrat, who is defending a 8,765 vote majority, is facing an uphill battle to win a third term due to a surge in support for the SNP.
The letter has been signed by Martin Gale, chairman of BSW Timber in Grantown on Spey, Frank Strang, chairman of Shetland FM and George Gow of George Gow Butchers in Kingussie.
The other signatories are Samantha Faircliffe, managing director of Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore which created the Ginger Rodent beer in Mr Alexander’s honour, and Alan Savage, chairman of Orion Group in Inverness, who recently donated £50,000 to Mr Alexander’s campaign.
The letter states: “Over the last five years the Highland economy has seen strong growth and thousands of jobs have been created.
“People thinking about how to vote on May 7 need to know how has this happened and should be asking how can we make sure this continues?
“As people who run businesses in the Highlands employing thousands of people, with no party allegiance, we believe that the answer is to re-elect Danny Alexander.
“We don’t choose a party, we choose a local MP.
“Whatever your traditional party allegiance, if you care about jobs, growth and economic development in the Highlands you should do the same.”
Also standing in the constituency are Drew Hendry of the SNP, Conservative candidate Edward Mountain, Mike Robb of Labour, Isla O’Reilly of the Greens, Ukip’s Les Durance and Donald Boyd of the Scottish Christian Party.