Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Election rivals threaten to ’empty chair’ SNP’s Ian Blackford in local hustings

Ian Blackford
Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford’s election rivals have threatened to “empty chair” the SNP Westminster leader unless he agrees to take part in Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency hustings.

Liberal Democrat Craig Harrow, Tory Gavin Berkenheger, and Labour’s John Erskine have put their names to a statement calling on Mr Blackford to attend local debates.

And they have threatened to go ahead with an empty chair in his place should he be unable to participate.

The statement was issued after the nationalist was unavailable for a hustings event that Dingwall Community Council had hoped to organise.

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber candidates were approached by Dingwall Community Council, as members had hoped to hold an event next Thursday, December 5.

If that date was impossible, candidates were also offered five other options across this week and next week.

Last night, Nigel Greenwood of Dingwall Community Council said the event had been cancelled because it had proved too difficult to get candidates to appear.

“We have been unable to get a date for which all the candidates are available. So I’m afraid we had to cancel it,” Mr Greenwood said.

Mr Greenwood said Mr Harrow of the Lib Dems had indicated that he would take part. But Mr Blackford’s agent said the SNP politician was unable to commit to any of the dates.

Mr Greenwood added: “I was told by his agent that he was tied up and his whole campaign was organised. Therefore he didn’t have any spare time. His agent said he didn’t have any spare availability at all.”

The statement from Mr Harrow, Mr Berkenheger, Mr Erskine and Richard Lucas of the Scottish Family Party said: “As candidates we consider constituency hustings are an important part of the democratic process.

“We understand the SNP candidate has other jobs but we would ask that he focuses on constituency interests and attends hustings.

“We are willing to participate without him and ‘empty chair’ the SNP candidate.”

A SNP spokesman said: “Ian is an incredibly hard-working and dedicated representative for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.

“Ian is holding a large number of public meetings throughout the constituency including a well attended public meeting in Dingwall last Friday.

“He will also be taking part in the all-candidate hustings for the BBC next Tuesday.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]