Election candidates announced

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The local Scottish Conservative & Unionists have announced their biggest ever list of candidates for the council elections in May.

The local party are in buoyant mood following their successes in the Scottish Parliament elections last year where five Conservative MSPs were sent to Holyrood from the North-East Region – an increase from two in 2011.

The party is also in the enviable position of having won the last three by-elections in Aberdeenshire over the last 16 months – in the Huntly, Strathbogie & Howe of Alford, Inverurie and District and Banff and District wards.

Commenting on this, Conservative Group Leader, Jim Gifford, said: “We are entering this election campaign in good spirits and with high expectations and ambition.

“We have had an extensive selection process across Aberdeenshire and will be fielding at least 23 candidates on May 4th.

“We have an impressive list of people standing in all 19 wards with a great spread of returning, experienced councillors and a raft of new people with a broad range of backgrounds and experience.”

Jim Gifford will himself be standing for re-election having been selected to contest the Mid Formartine ward and will be joined by existing councillors Michael Roy, Mark Findlater, Gillian Owen, Ron McKail, Moira Ingleby, Wendy Agnew and George Carr.

The two by-election victors from last year – Colin Clark and Iain Taylor- will also be standing again in Inverurie and Turriff respectively.

Former councillor Sandy Wallace is standing to be elected again in Stonehaven and he will be joined by first-time candidates Andy Kille, Dianne Beagrie, Alan Fakley, Marion Buchan, Sebastian Leslie, Dominic Lonchay, Alistair McKelvie, Robbie Withey, Paul Gibb, Ann Ross, Colin Pike and Jeff Hutchison.

Following the three by-elections, the Scottish Conservatives had a group of 17 councillors and the party hopes to improve on that figure in the new Aberdeenshire Council, which is being increased from 68 to 70 councillors in total.