There is now a selection contest taking place for the SNP candidacy in Cunninghame North and, to be clear, I have no objection to that process.
Whilst I appreciate that this is an attractive constituency to contest for the SNP, it was hard won from Labour with a slim majority of 48 which Kenneth and our dedicated activists built up to 8,724 and 51.7% of the vote.
So it is important that anyone seeking this candidacy is factual in his/her comments.
Sadly, Mr Osama Bhutta has suggested, on the first day of his campaign, that our incumbent MSP, Kenneth Gibson, “makes speeches every now and then” and “turns up for photo-ops.”
Mr Bhutta seems to know very little of this constituency and indeed declared publicly that he was willing to stand in any seat in Scotland willing to nominate him. He should therefore refrain from attempting to trash and undermine Cunninghame North’s MSP who is well respected and been a tireless worker for his constituents for thirteen and a half years. Indeed, if he had not worked so hard, this seat would not be such an attractive prospect for Mr Bhutta!
His remarks are also extremely insulting to those dedicated team of activists who have knocked countless doors, delivered vast numbers of leaflets and supported a multitude of events led by Kenneth, working hard to build the case for independence for Scotland, whilst Mr Bhutta lived abroad for ten years. Under Kenneth’s leadership, he and the activists of this constituency chapped more doors than in any other constituency in last Decembers’ General Election, bar Fergus Mutch’s campaign in Aberdeenshire West, a picture replicated in previous elections.
During this selection, Kenneth will leave the tittle-tattle to those who choose to engage in that behaviour but if Mr Bhutta is serious about “unity,” he should recognise the work of all those activists in this constituency who chap doors and deliver leaflets in all weathers, who have been a huge support to Kenneth and the cause of independence, generally. It has been a rather poor start for the ambitious Mr Bhutta.