MP pulls out of race for Aberdeen University rector – because he might win

Andrew Bowie

Conservative MP Andrew Bowie has claimed he pulled out of the race to be the next rector of Aberdeen University – because he was worried he might win.

Scottish Green Party co-convener Maggie Chapman was up for re-election for the role as student representative after her three year term ended.

Other candidates in the election were West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Mr Bowie, student Angus Hepburn, and singer and philanthropist Fiona Kennedy.

But the contest was abandoned earlier this month after about a dozen complaints about “campaign irregularities” – understood to include hundreds of posters going missing for Ms Kennedy’s campaign – and a fresh election will be held in the new year.

Mr Bowie, however, has said he will not be standing when it is re-run and suggested his campaign had been aimed only at having a Tory face among the candidates.

“I’m pulling out of the race,” he said. “I am not allowing myself to be re-nominated.

“First time around, the Conservative Association decided as a group they wanted to put a Conservative forward and I said it would be a great honour.

“I never for a moment imagined I would come close to winning and the hiatus caused by the disgraceful actions of the Chapman campaign team has given me the chance to take stock.

“I am incredibly busy as a new MP so I’ve decided, right now, I don’t have time to give this role the full attention it deserves.”

Ms Chapman’s campaign team flatly denies removing any posters and insists the claims are unsubstantiated and that in fact the Conservatives believed they were on course to lose.

In a statement on her official campaign page, Ms Chapman said: “It is clear the attempts to get me/my campaign disqualified are the actions of people who thought they had lost.

“It is against natural justice to annul an election where the winning candidate’s ‘breaches of the rules’ are entirely unevidenced.”

A University of Aberdeen spokesman said: “The University Senate has voted to endorse the Election Committee’s decision to annul the results of the Rector’s election.

“Plans for a new Rector election will be presented to Senate in January.”

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