Lawyer targets SNP clean sweep of Edinburgh in 2016

A CAPITAL lawyer seen as one of the SNP’s rising stars has been selected to fight the only Holyrood seat in the city which the SNP does not currently hold.
SNP candidate Ben MacphersonSNP candidate Ben Macpherson
SNP candidate Ben Macpherson

Ben Macpherson, 31, was chosen by party members from a crowded field of ten hopefuls to be the SNP candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

The seat has been represented for the past 16 years by Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm, who held on with a majority of 595 at the last Holyrood election in 2011 despite the landslide which saw all five of the other Edinburgh constituencies fall to the SNP.

But Mr Chisholm is standing down next May.

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Former Lord Provost and ex-council leader Lesley Hinds has already been selected as Labour’s candidate for the seat.

Mr Macpherson, who has not stood for election before, is Edinburgh born and bred and works for a big law firm in the city.

He has been a member of the SNP since 2005 and an active campaigner in the north of the city since first getting involved in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.

He defeated former Leith councillor Rob Munn and equality campaigner Jamie Szymkowiak, among others, to win the nomination.

Mr Macpherson had an endorsement from former SNP leader Alex Salmond who described him as “an outstanding speaker at SNP conferences and first-class activist” who would be “a great asset” to the SNP group at Holyrood.

Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie, who also endorsed Mr Macpherson, said: “There were a number of good candidates in Edinburgh Northern & Leith, but Ben stood out as someone of exceptional talent and ability with a bright future ahead of him.

“He is a good speaker and connects with people one-to-one.

“He will take our message to every part of the constituency and help us to win a seat which has previously been difficult for us to win against the Labour incumbent.”

Mr Macpherson’s parents moved to Edinburgh in the late 1970s.

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Before retiring his father ran a design consultancy while his mother has been a doctor with the NHS for over 30 years.

He has a degree in philosophy and politics from York University and another in law from Edinburgh University.

He said it was a great honour to be selected.

He said: “I believe that I have the energy, empathy and experience to be both a strong representative for the constituency and an effective parliamentarian. I live in the constituency and I’m passionate about doing all that I can to make a difference for the communities here, and for Scotland more widely.

“If elected, I would stand up against austerity and fight strongly for those affected by it.

“At a national level I’m also passionate about progressing Scotland’s renewable energy potential, effective land reform and measures to reduce inequality.”