A top farming figure has announced his bid to become the SNP candidate for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire.
Jim Fairlie, who set up Scotland’s first farmers’ market in Perth, is seeking the nomination after party stalwart Roseanna Cunningham announced she would not be seeking re-election in 2021.
Mr Fairlie, whose late brother Andrew opened Scotland’s first two Michelin starred restaurant at Gleneagles, will go up against Strathmore councillor Fiona Sarwar and Calum Smith, who works alongside Ms Cunningham at her constituency office, for the candidacy.
Mr Fairlie’s father Jim and brother Phil held senior positions in the party, while Andrew was on the 2014 Yes campaign advisory board.
He said: “There is no doubt that the world has changed quite dramatically for all of us in recent years, and there are some major factors we are going to have to deal with, whether it’s financial, environmental or constitutional.
“It seems to me that the best people to make decisions about how we resolve these issues, are the people who live here.”
Announcing her entry in the race earlier this month, Ms Sarwar said: “As a councillor at Perth and Kinross it has been a real privilege to listen to the community, liaise with council officers on their behalf and work for the betterment of us all in highlighting the very real challenges we are currently facing in Scotland.”
Ms Sarwar added: “My work as a councillor in a rural ward within Perthshire has prepared me for the work ahead. I am confident that my skills, values and experiences mean I am ideally suited to represented this constituency in the Scottish Parliament.”
Mr Smith, who said he had been working independence since he was a schoolboy, announced his bid on social media. He was part of the campaign team in Perthshire South and Kinross-shire during the 1995 by-election.
“Having been so involved in the history of SNP representation in this constituency, I very much want to be part of its future,” he said. “I have no illusions about the reality of being an MSP, I know what the job is about and I know how Parliament works. I’m ready to get down to business from day one.”
Ms Cunningham announced her decision to stand down last month. She said: “With another election fast approaching I have to do some hard thinking, by the time of the next election I will be two months away from my 70th birthday, and by the end of the next term I would be nearly 75.
“This year, of all years, has made age a more relevant factor than it may otherwise have been.”