Friday, 7 March 2014
Over 100 SNP members and supporters gathered in the Palace Hotel, Peterhead, last Friday at a special event held by Peterhead Branch of the SNP commemorating the 40th anniversary of Douglas Henderson gaining the old East Aberdeenshire constituency from the Conservatives to become the area’s first ever SNP MP at the election on 28 February 1974.
Guest speakers at the event were First Minister Alex Salmond, local MSP Stewart Stevenson and Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford. Also attending the event was Alex Farquhar, who was the SNP candidate in the 1970 General Election who made the seat winnable by attracting 30% of the vote and over 9,000 votes in what was the SNP’s best showing in the North-east at that time.
Peterhead Branch SNP President, Bob Ritchie, who was the party’s election agent in the 1960s and 1970s regaled the audience with tales from those early elections, including one where a lost election deposit in 1964 had to be financed with a bank loan, backed up by twenty guarantors at the insistence of the bank. And all for the princely sum of £200!
Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:
“I still get constituents coming to me who remember Douglas Henderson fondly, not only as a hard-working constituency MP but also as a very genuine person. His loss, in 2006, was sorely felt but his legacy lives on and I know he would have been playing a full and active part in the current Referendum campaign had he still been with us.”
Stewart Stevenson MSP added:
“If we are to make the country we all Scotland believe it can be, we need personal tax powers, business tax powers, social security powers, employment powers, powers over Scotland’s budget, powers over the minimum wage, immigration powers and the powers to represent Scotland internationally. In other words, the same toolbox of powers that other independent countries take for granted.”