Constituency Profile: Ross, Skye & Lochaber
Ross, Skye & Lochaber is the most beautiful constituency in the UK. Of course, I would say that, as I live here. But there are a lot of things about Skye and the west highlands that so many don’t know.
The constituency has the highest number of young people going to university anywhere in Scotland. The vast majority of the goods we produce are in agriculture. Tourism from the rest of the UK remains one of the greatest sources of income for the area.
Most importantly, our population boom in recent years is thanks to retirees from the rest of the UK settling in the area, or new parents looking for a peaceful place to raise their family.
But there are huge issues that past MPs (Lib Dem, now SNP) have failed to tackle. The Isle of Skye in particular is blighted by lack of training programmes – apprenticeships for school leavers in particular. The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has all but decimated the fishing industry and has left coastal villages a shadow of what they once were.
The digital revolution has failed to reach the western highlands, with many people lacking basic computer skills. Farming communities are still isolated as governments in Holyrood and Westminster refusing to build new rail tracks to help connect villages that are 100 miles apart. Fuel poverty is through the roof.
This shouldn’t paint a negative picture of the constituency, because with a Conservative MP representing the area, we could achieve so much under Boris Johnson. Gavin Berkenhegar, the Conservative candidate, is a born and bred highlander who understands very well the needs of local people and in particular – farming communities.
We need to put the west highlands back on the map and back Gavin – and the Scottish Conservatives – to help deliver a good brexit deal for our farming and fishing communities – and defeat the divisive nationalism of the SNP.