Edinburgh lawyer chosen to contest Labour seat at Holyrood next year

Ben Macpherson
Ben Macpherson

A young lawyer from Edinburgh has been selected by the SNP to contest the single Holyrood seat in the capital which the party does not hold.

Ben Macpherson, 31, was selected by the party from a pool of ten to fight for the Edinburgh Northern and Leith seat at next year’s elections.

Incumbent Malcolm Chisholm has held the seat for Labour since the inception of the Scottish Parliament, securing it again in 2011 with a majority of 595 in an election where all other Edinburgh constituencies were held or gained by the SNP.

However, he is standing down next year at the Scottish Parliament elections, with ex-council leader and former Lord Provost Lesley Hinds becoming Labour’s candidate for the seat.

A member of the SNP since 2005, this will be Mr Macpherson’s first election.

He beat a pool of hopefuls including equality campaigner Jamie Szymkowiak and former Leith councillor Rob Munn for the nomination and was endorsed by former leader Alex Salmond, who called him “an outstanding speaker at SNP conferences and first-class activist”.

SNP MSP for Edinburgh Southern, Jim Eadie, 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.

Mr Macpherson’s earned a BA in philosophy and politics at the University of York before gaining and LLB and Diploma from Edinburgh University.

He described his selection as an honour and said that with his legal training, compassionate personality and constructive attitude he believed himself capable of being an effective parliamentarian.

Mr Mapherson added: “I live in the constituency, I’m Edinburgh born and bred and I’m passionate about doing all that I can to make a difference for the communities here, and for Scotland more widely.

“Along with a team of outstanding activists, in the weeks and months ahead I will be working hard taking the SNP’s positive vision for the next parliament out to the people of Edinburgh Northern and Leith.”

Speaking about his priorities within the constituency he said it is clear that sustainable development as well as support of the creative industries are, among others, key issues.

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

“I would also of course look to work constructively with all relevant parties to help deliver improved public services and infrastructure.”

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