Liberal Democrats choose Dundee West candidate

Announcement from the Dundee Liberal Democrat website today :
Dundee Liberal Democrats have announced that well-known Dundee law student, McManus 2013 Citizen of the Year and Dundee football referee, Daniel Coleman has been selected as Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee West in advance of next year’s Westminster General Election.
Daniel has been Chair of the Dundee Youth Council, a former Deputy Head Boy at St Paul’s RC Academy and student at the University of Dundee, and has represented the city as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
Following the announcement of his selection as the LibDem candidate Daniel said:
“I am delighted and privileged to be selected as the LibDem Dundee West Candidate in the 2015 General Election. I am thoroughly looking forward to taking part in the political process and engaging with the people of Dundee West. It is essential we maintain political interest after the referendum and I am determined to work hard for everyone across the constituency.”
Born in St Mary’s and was educated at Hillside Primary School, Lawside RC Academy, St Paul’s RC Academy and currently the University of Dundee, Daniel is determined to bring in a new, fresh and vibrant face to politics in Dundee.
On leaving secondary school, Daniel became the sole Scottish representative on the British Youth Select Committee at Westminster on Education issues, where he took his experience of the Curriculum for Excellence to discuss issues with a wide UK audience.
In 2011, he was elected to the Scottish Youth Parliament to represent Dundee West and then resoundingly re-elected in 2013. In that time Daniel tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the young people, representing and taking forward their views and concerns. Furthermore, in March 2013, Daniel became Chair of the Dundee Youth Council, serving 18 months making him the longest chair to date. Daniel qualified as a SFA Football Referee in 2011 and has officiated in four cup finals and a Youth Scottish Cup Semi Final.
Daniel has been actively campaigning for the Scottish Liberal Democrats across Dundee West.     Liberal Democrat councillor for Dundee’s West End, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, added,
“Daniel will be one of the Liberal Democrats’ youngest candidates at next year’s General Election but he already has a wide range of experience and will bring a fresh of fresh air and much enthusiasm to the General Election campaign in Dundee West. I am delighted that our members in Dundee have chosen Daniel to be our parliamentary candidate in Dundee West and will be working with him and the LibDem Dundee team in the run-up to May 2015.”
A photo of Daniel with Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Cllr Fraser Macpherson at the Tay Rail Bridge is below :

Willie Rennie – Today Scotland is stronger #LibDemNo #nothanks

Speaking after the result of the referendum became clear, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP said,
“Today Scotland is stronger.
“Scotland has made. Proud and conscientious choice.
“The people of Scotland have examined our relationship with the people of the rest of the United Kingdom and have decided no to walk away.
“Scotland will never be the same again.
“And as a result of Scottish votes, Britain will never be the same again.
“These are exciting times. This No vote means we can get on with delivering more powers inside the UK this morning.”

Dundee Liberal Democrats’ Summer BBQ @DundeeLibDems

This afternoon saw the Dundee Liberal Democrats’ Summer BBQ take place, with grateful thanks to Penka and Iliyan Stefanov for hosting in their lovely garden!
It was a lovely afternoon and excellent food, drink and conversation.   Here’s some photographs from the BBQ :
Summer BBQ
Cllr Willie Wilson from Perth, Alison McInnes MSP, Cllr Tim Brett
from NE Fife and Craig Duncan, Dundee LibDem Convener
Penka and Iliyan Stefanov


Willie Rennie’s Dundee visit today @willie_rennie

I was delighted, along with Dundee LibDem colleagues, to welcome Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to Dundee today.
As well as media interviews and a walkabout in the West End, we also did door-knocking and speaking with local residents in Broughty Ferry.
Here’s some photographs from today :
With Willie and local party secretary Daniel Coleman at Riverside
Willie at Wave 102 Studios
Outside Dundee Contemporary Arts in Nethergate

LibDem campaigning in Leven!

Along with my Dundee local party Convener Craig Duncan, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie MSP and Tim Brett and his North East Fife LibDem team, I had a very enjoyable evening campaigning in a lovely, sunny Leven – a couple of photos below :
With Tim, Willie and Team in Leven
Willie, Craig and me – campaigning for a stronger Scotland after Scotland rejects independence

The Independence Debate

No … not that one!     Earlier today, Cllr Jimmy Black, arguing the case for “Yes” in the referendum campaign and I – arguing the “No” case – participated in a debate at Sinderins Court for the residents of both Pennycook Court and Sinderins Court.
Chaired by Tina Bell of Home Scotland, I think all agreed it was a good natured, polite and positive discussion and a thoroughly wothwhile event.
Later on, along with my Dundee LibDem local party Convener Craig Duncan, I was campaigning for our good friend Cllr Tim Brett, in Newport on Tay.    
Tim has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate in North East Fife, replacing Sir Menzies Campbell, who has been the constituency’s highly respected MP for the past 27 years.   
We had a great response on the doorsteps, reflecting Tim’s hard work in the area.    Here’s a photograph of some of the team from tonight:

Another increase in the personal tax allowance

Back in 2010 at the general election, the Liberal Democrats gave a commitment that, if part of government after the election, we would deliver income tax cuts of £700 for working people.  
It was on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto, it was on all those leaflets that came through your door and it was a top priority in the negotiations that lead to the formation of the coalition government.   This week, this commitment is delivered into people’s pockets.  
From this week the personal allowance, the amount you can earn before you pay income tax, will be £10 000, up from £6 475 in 2010.    That is the £700 tax cut delivered.
Right from the formation of the coalition in 2010, the Liberal Democrats have insisted that raising the personal tax allowance to £10 000 is our first tax priority. Lifting the personal tax allowance helps the people of Dundee and it rewards work.
Here in Scotland, it means £700 tax cuts for more than 2 million people with 263 000 lifted out of income tax altogether.  Across the UK as a whole this tax cut will benefit over 25 million taxpayers.   Between the two Dundee Westminster constituencies, some 71 990 taxpayers benefit.
The party will continue to fight for further tax cuts for the working people of Dundee.  The Budget saw more progress, raising the allowance to £10 500 in April next year.  It’s the Liberal Democrat aim to raise it even further in the next Parliament to £12 500.  
That would mean a two term Liberal Democrat government would deliver a total tax cut of £1 200.  Tax cuts for working people are a vital part of building the stronger economy and fairer society that Dundee deserves.

Willie Rennie’s New Year Message @willie_rennie @scotlibdems

“I am hopeful for 2014.  I’ve been checking the tea leaves and it’s going to be a good year.
I am confident the economy will continue to grow and that we’ll create more jobs, cut taxes further and increase pension higher.
I am also confident we’ll reaffirm Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom family of nations so we can share risk and reward for generations to come. We won’t undermine the progress by splitting Scotland from the UK.
My confidence also extends to a boost to nursery education to give children the best start in life.
And I am confident that there will be critical steps towards more powers through home rule for the Scottish Parliament.   Our plans means we can determine our destiny on the domestic agenda whilst sharing with the rest of the UK to benefit from the best of both worlds.
With this progress we are anchoring the UK in the centre ground.  Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society so that everyone can get a chance to get on.
We can’t trust Labour to deliver a stronger economy, we can’t trust the Conservatives to deliver fairness and the SNP are too obsessed with independence to deliver either.
Scotland has a shop window to the world with the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and decision on our constitutional future.  Rarely will we get such an opportunity to show who we are and how we carry ourselves.
This year we can also discover a bit more about who we are and what makes our country tick.  
I think we will show the world we are an outward looking, confident, compassionate and economically thriving nation.  That we are proud Scots who want to share in good times and in bad with our friends in Liverpool, Manchester and people right across the UK.
But to make this year the great success we want it to be we need everyone in Scotland to be a part of it.  It’s now up to you.”

North East Scotland LibDem Committee meeting

Today, alongside Liberal Democrat colleagues from across the North East Scotland region, I attended the latest meeting of our regional committee that took place in a sunny Aberdeen.
Kris Chapman, regional committee Chair, has stepped down as Chair following his recent appointment as the party’s Campaigns Officer for Scotland, and I was delighted that Craig Duncan, Convener of the Dundee Liberal Democrat local party, was elected as the new Chair.
Kris is a great addition to the party’s secretariat in Scotland as we move towards the European election and the referendum next year, and Craig will be an excellent and enthusiastic Chair of our NE regional committee.
Pictured below are Kris (left) and Craig (right) after the meeting:


Dundee Liberal Democrat Team

Dundee Liberal Democrats held our AGM last night and Craig Duncan was elected as the new local party Convener with Joe Setch of Dundee Liberal Youth being elected as Vice Convener.    Thanks were expressed to Allan Petrie who has stood down as Convener.    Allan remains on our local party Executive and we are delighted at welcoming new members to the Executive too.

The photo (above) is of (from left) myself, Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron MP, Craig, Scottish LibDem Leader Willie Rennie MSP and Joe during Willie’s and Tim’s visit to Dundee last year.

North East Scotland Liberal Democrat Conference

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being one of the guest speakers at the North East Scotland Liberal Democrat Conference in Laurencekirk.   It was a thoroughly enjoyable day with a great turnout of Liberal Democrats from right across NE Scotland.
Christine Jardine, who has been selected as our party’s candidate at the forthcoming Aberdeen Donside Scottish parliamentary by-election, gave a rousing speech.  Christine is a hugely impressive candidate, pointing out that “The North East needs a strong voice in parliament, not yet another nationalist who will bang the drum for independence.”
It was also good to hear from Cllr Fergus Hood, Aberdeenshire councillor for East Garioch, who, last week, left the SNP to join the Liberal Democrats.  Fergus spoke with passion about his vision of improved facilities and services for the people of Aberdeenshire and how it is the Liberal Democrats who are delivering.
Here’s some photographs from a great day (and with thanks to my colleague Daniel for his help with this!):
Addressing the conference
George Lyon MEP with some of the Dundee Team!
Christine Jardine (second right) with Cllr Steve Delaney of Aberdeen City Council, Alison McInnes MSP, Willie Rennie MSP and Malcolm Bruce MP
Willie Rennie MSP with Dundee delegates
Willie Rennie MSP addresses conference

More LibDem Dundee Team campaigning for #bettertogether @UK_Together

On a beautiful evening yesterday, Alison McInnes MSP and I joined a group of LibDem colleagues in Broughty Ferry to speak with residents about the case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.   See photo of some of us below:
From left – Alison, Daniel, Craig & me
The reception was hugely supportive of Better Together (and I mean hugely supportive – 95-5!)
I was also delighted that Alison joined me with joint ward surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre earlier yesterday afternoon.

North East Scotland Liberal Democrats

I was delighted earlier today to be elected as Secretary of North East Scotland Liberal Democrats at its EGM in Aberdeen.
I am pleased to work alongside the new Chair Kris Chapman (from Aberdeen South and North Kincardine Liberal Democrats), Vice Chair Cllr Iris Walker (Liberal Democrat Councillor for Westhill and District) and Treasurer Sanjay Samani (from Angus and Mearns Liberal Democrats) – all pictured (in order as mentioned above!) below:
North East Scotland Liberal Democrats are holding our regional conference in early May and we are delighted that Willie Rennie MSP, George Lyon MEP, Sir Malcolm Bruce MP, Sir Robert Smith MP and our North East Scotland LibDem MSP Alison McInnes are all taking part.