Inside Holyrood: My focus over the next five years will be on improving health care, job opportunities, schools, infrastructure and broadband - and 'unmet promises' from the SNP
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Newly re-elected MSP Edward Mountain states his priorities for upcoming parliamentary term.
I am delighted to be re-elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent the Highlands and Islands for another five years. It is a privilege for me to represent a region I have come to love during the course of my life.
Looking back, last week’s Scottish elections were like no other due to the pandemic. In previous campaigns I have always enjoyed canvassing at stalls in town centres and chatting with voters on their doorsteps. That wasn’t possible this election and it did feel strange.
The restrictions meant the campaign relied mostly on delivering leaflets, online hustings and reaching out to thousands of people via telephone.
The results showed an eight per cent increase in my vote share for the constituency of Inverness and Nairn, a significant growth in support which I am truly humbled by.
This strong backing in Inverness and Nairn contributed to the Scottish Conservative’s overall success in the Highlands and Islands regional list. It was a historic night for my party as we returned four MSPs to Holyrood for the first time and consolidated our position as the strongest opposition to the SNP.
Looking ahead, I am more determined than ever to stand up for the people of the Highlands and Islands and to ensure our area has a strong recovery from the pandemic.
Over the next five years my focus will be on improving health care provision, job opportunities, schools, infrastructure and broadband. These are the issues that were brought to me during the last session of Parliament and they still need to be addressed.
When it comes to health, for instance, I will continue to press both the SNP Government and NHS Highland to urgently resolve the treatment backlogs. The UK’s vaccine programme has been hugely successful, and attention must now turn to remobilising NHS Highland to ensure some patients are not waiting up to six years for hip operations.
Our crumbling Highland school estate has also waited too long to be either modernised or rebuilt. I pressed for new schools to be built in Tain and Nairn and I will continue to campaign for Highland pupils to receive the modern school buildings they deserve.
I will also hold the SNP Government to account for their unmet promises to deliver vital infrastructure to the Highlands, whether that’s superfast broadband or a new Highland prison.
I will not be deflected by other matters in relation to politics as rebuilding the Highland economy, reducing hospital waiting times, improving schools and delivering key infrastructure are the issues which matter most.
I look forward to returning to a new session of parliament and if you need my assistance my office is always here to help.