Government Chief Whip of the House of Commons and Conservative candidate for Surrey Heath, Michael Gove was in Deeside and Donside this week supporting his party’s candidate (and old friend) for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Alexander Burnett. Mr Gove gave an exclusive interview to the Piper:
The Liberal Democrats have said that the convener belt of senior Tories being brought to WAK is a sign of desperation and they say your party has no chance of taking the seat, so why are you here?
“The two things contradict each other, the reason I’m here, apart from visiting the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom and seeing some old friends, is because I think we can win. I don’t think The Lib Dems can, it’s nothing against Bob Smith, he’s been a very good MP, he’s a very nice guy...but we’ve got to think of the future and votes for the labour party and for the Lib Dems are votes for a sinking ship in Scotland. The Lib Dems have lost half their voters, who have gone to the SNP. They’ve lost six out of seven voters overall and if anyone in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine wants a local MP who will vote consistently in parliament to keep taxes lower, to keep the United Kingdom together, then Alexander is the obvious choice and all the polling, all the objective polling, shows that this is a two horse race and the Lib Dems aren’t even at the races.”
Have the Conservative Party got major concerns that a confused electorate will split the union vote and the SNP will win the seat picking up the scraps?
“I’m pretty confident here that we will do well and I’m pretty confident that the Conservatives will do well in Scotland. Campaigns change minds. Alex has fought a fantastic campaign and Ruth Davidson has been a brilliant advocate and leader. I’ve been struck by the fact that people in Scotland and across the United Kingdom think that Ruth is the politician who has had the best campaign so far and there’s every chance as a result that we can win seats, that at the beginning of the campaign, might have seemed like a long shot but which are moving into scope. Here in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, like in the borders we are clearly the alternative to the SNP and in a strong position to win. So I think people here, people across the North-east, should vote for the party that is best capable of mounting a strong challenge against the SNP and providing economic security and that is the Conservatives.”
Is the party confident that they will win enough seats to form a government on their own?
There is not much left which is positive about the Lib Dem campaign.Michael Gove
“Yes. I think we will. David Cameron makes the point that we only need to win 23 seats across the country that we don’t currently hold. That means only needing to convince 11,000 voters. I think one of those 23 seats will be WAK. If you’ve got a majority Conservative government and you’ve got more Scottish Conservatives in Westminster, not only does that help secure the United Kingdom and secure our economic future, it also means that the investment that we need in order to maintain a strong North sea oil and technology centre will be guaranteed. Investment could be put at risk if we’ve got anything other than a conservative government.”
Nick Clegg was here last Friday and warned of an ultra right wing coalition taking over Westminster if the Liberal Democrat vote falters, which he called BLUKIP, (made up of right wing Tories, UKIP and the DUP) could such a thing exist?
“It’s a fairy story that he’s come up with because sadly, there is not much left which is positive about the Lib Dem campaign. I can understand why Nick Clegg was trying to scare people with this fantasy but the truth is that the Conservatives, can win a majority. I’m old enough to remember Alick Buchanan-Smith as MP for this constituency I remember when he came to visit my school, Buchanan Smith was exactly the sort of mainstream moderate Conservative that generations of people in Scotland had wanted to have representing them. Alex is exactly in that tradition so I would have thought that far from falling for Nick Clegg’s scare stories, people here, including people who voted for Bob Smith, want a moderate, mainstream, practical, pragmatic MP and Alex is the guy.”