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Danny Alexander gets £50,000 from north business chief

Alan Savage
Alan Savage

Danny Alexander has received £50,000 from one of the most prominent business figures in the Highlands to boost his re-election campaign.

The chief Treasury secretary was given two £25,000 donations last month by Inverness-based Orion Engineering Services – a firm run by former Inverness Caledonian Thistle chairman Alan Savage.

The pair worked together this year as part of the Better Together campaign against Scottish independence, which Mr Savage also donated money towards.

Confirming the donation, Mr Alexander last night told the Press and Journal: “Alan Savage is a hugely successful local businessman and I’m very grateful for his support.”

A £25,000 donation from Orion Engineering Services was added to Mr Alexander’s House of Commons register of financial interests on November 24, and another, which was also worth £25,000, was listed the following day.

A further £10,000 was handed to the MP by nightclub firm Ministry of Sound, whose boss James Palumbo has regularly given money to the Liberal Democrats in recent years.

That donation was also officially registered on November 24.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a social research charity and another regular Lib Dem party donor, gave Mr Alexander a £3,750 donation which was lodged on December 5.

It means that Mr Alexander’s general election campaign war-chest has been swollen by £63,750 in just the last few weeks.

The senior UK Government minister is expected to face a tough fight to hold onto his Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey seat in May, despite winning with a majority of 8,765 in 2010.

In 1992, the predecessor of Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber was famously the closest four-way result in a Westminster election since 1918.

Recent polls have suggested the SNP is on course to take the seat in what would be one of the biggest stories of the election.

Highland Council leader Drew Hendry has thrown his hat in the ring to be the SNP candidate, along with two of his local authority colleagues, and a decision is due this month.

Labour has selected Mike Robb, and the Conservative candidate is Edward Mountain.

Mr Savage and Mr Alexander spoke at the same events on behalf of Better Together more than once this year, including at Elgin in June and Newtonmore in April.

The boss of the engineering recruitment firm Orion Group – who was chairman of Caledonian Thistle from 2006 until 2008 – announced in March this year that his company was donating £1.25million towards a redevelopment of the Highland Hospice in Inverness.

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