Alex Cole-Hamilton announces new, young spokespeople team

Alex Cole-Hamilton has announced the spokespeople team he thinks will bring “new hope” to the party and to Scotland.

One of the most striking things about Alex’s team is that it is very young. I am positively ancient in comparison to all but about four others. It is fantastic that of the 18 spokespeople, 4 are in their 20s, and are members of the Young Liberals. They are Molly Nolan, who really closed the gap in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross in May. She is such a powerful advocate for our rural communities. Ben Lawrie, one of the youngest councillors in Scotland will be holding the Government to account on its handling of the drug deaths crisis. Joe McCauley, who stood in Glasgow in May takes on culture and Jack Norquoy, the youngest spokesperson at 22, speaks for young people. An Orcadian, now living in Edinburgh, he understands the issues they are facing in rural areas as well as in our cities.

Alex said:

Scotland needs new hope and this team can offer it. They are crackling with talent and ideas, ready to inspire people. We will focus on the issues that matter to people across the country every day, from the NHS to the climate emergency. We will oppose the centralising SNP and stand up for human rights at home and abroad.

“Over the coming weeks I will be setting out a series of proposals to give people new hope, from the environment to the future of our communities and the prospects for young people. Scottish Liberal Democrats have so much to offer the people of Scotland.

I was surprised and delighted to be asked to return to the role of Social Security spokesperson which I had until 2019, before moving to Housing and then Equalities.

Alex phoned me when I’d nipped into Morrisons last Saturday afternoon and I took his call standing next to a stack of lager. Fighting poverty and inequality is so important to me and we need to use every single power we have in Scotland to make life better for people who are really struggling to put food on the table and heat their houses. I’m thrilled to be working with Wendy Chamberlain, who has the DWP Westminster portfolio.

The team in full is as follows:

  • Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP – Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Health and Social Care, Constitution and External Affairs
  • John Ferry – Finance
  • Jane Alliston – Mental Health
  • Cllr Ben Lawrie – Drugs Emergency
  • Aisha Mir – Human Rights & Older People
  • Willie Rennie MSP – Education, Economy & Communities, Member of the Education, Children and Young People Committee
  • Carole Ford – Schools & Skills
  • Jack Norquoy – Young People
  • Cllr Peter Barrett – Local Government
  • Paul McGarry – Housing & Homelessness
  • Caron Lindsay – Social Security, Member of the Social Justice Secretary’s Steering Group on a Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Joe McCauley – Culture
  • Beatrice Wishart MSP – Rural Affairs & Connectivity, Deputy Convener of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee, Member of the Deputy First Minister’s Cross Party Covid Recovery Steering Group
  • Molly Nolan – Remote & Rural Communities
  • Jill Reilly – Transport
  • Liam McArthur MSP – Justice and the Climate Emergency
  • Sanne Dijkstra-Downie – Net Zero
  • Bruce Wilson – Veterans and Social Justice

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Brad Barrows 28th Aug '21 - 1:03pm

    I’m not clear from this list who would be spokesperson for energy. We have a spokesperson for ‘the climate emergency’ and one for ‘net zero’ – but who speaks for energy policy or is that remit shared? It would have been better if Net Zero, Energy and Transport were all together in one remit to shadow Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary with that remit in the Government.

  • Brad Barrows 28th Aug '21 - 1:16pm

    On a different point, I assume Party membership is rising in Scotland – it would be good to read an article with details of current membership in Scotland and the increase that should have occurred over the recent election campaign. I just read yesterday that the SNP membership increased by almost 15,000 in the first 5 months of the year to 119,000 by the end of May. That may be less than the 126,000 they had a few years ago, but still an impressive total.

  • It would be nice to have a brief biography, qualifications/experience and contact details of these good folk.

  • I hear that by a ballot of all members today, the Scottish Green Party has formally agreed to enter government. (vote, 83% to 17%).

    If the Lib Dems ever get to such a point at Westminster or anywhere else maybe they ought to have a ballot of all members.

  • Brad Barrows 30th Aug '21 - 11:16am

    You make a very fair point. I have absolutely no evidence to go on other than the fact that most parties see membership rise over election periods as a result of the heightened profile. I agree that the long term evidence suggests that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are gradually shrinking away – perhaps due to being only the third largest Unionist Party in Scotland when anti-independence voters appear to be gravitating towards the strongest Unionist Party in their particular areas. Anyway, it appears that other small parties, like the Scottish Green Party has seen its membership rise and even Alba has now over 6,000 members, so it is about time the Scottish Liberal Democrats announcing their current membership figure and whether the trend was rising or falling.

  • @ Brad Barrows Come on, Brad, you know you were being ironic…….. though I agree the parties in London and Edinburgh should be open and transparent about numbers.

  • The Scottish Government today announced vaccine certification rules. People over 18 will need to show they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to :

    1. Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.
    2. Unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience.
    3. Unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience.
    4. Any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.

    The hospitality industry as a whole will not be included in the certification scheme – although that decision would be kept under review.

    Ms Sturgeon said people who had good reasons for not getting fully vaccinated – including children and people with particular medical conditions – would be exempt. People can already request a paper copy of their vaccination record to allow them to travel, and from Friday will be provided with a QR code so they can download a copy of the record to keep on their phone.

    I gather Alex Cole-Hamilton was the only speaker against, it was “illiberal”. As someone on the ‘shielding list’ post-transplant, I’m sorry, but I believe Mr C-H has shot from the hip and made a major misjudgement.

    Covid is spreading rapidly in Scotland ; failure to take sensible steps to reduce the spread is more ‘illiberal’…… though no doubt ‘libertarians’ will disagree.

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