A BLIND north-east SNP parliamentary candidate hit back last night at demands for action to ensure political parties put up more women, ethnic and other minority and disabled people to stand for election to the UK Parliament.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine candidate Dennis Robertson hit out after Aberdeen South Labour MP Anne Begg accused political parties in the north and north-east of being among the worst in Britain for selecting candidates other than those with a white, middle-class, male background.
Ms Begg headed a Speaker’s Conference on Parliamentary Representation which called for all-women shortlists and other action to make the Commons more representative.
But Mr Robertson, 53, a social work manager who has been registered blind since he was 11, said this was “not the fault of the political parties” although he, too, wanted a more diverse range of candidates.
He said he did not think there should be exclusive shortlists to get more women or disabled MPs.
He said: “I want people who have the ability through merit and hard work to be selected for parliament not because of their gender, race or disability. I am male, white and some may say middle class, but I’m not sure I fit Anne Begg’s norm.
“I have been blind all my adult life and have been a social worker for 30 years.”
Mr Robertson, of Bernham Avenue, Stonehaven, added: “I will indeed be proud to be the first SNP MP elected for this constituency and I will do so because the voters want a strong voice in Westminster, not because I’m blind.