Ming Campbell’s successor selected: Tim Brett to fight North East Fife for Lib Dems in 2015

tim brettFormer Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell announced last October he’d retire as MP for North East Fife at the next general election, after eight elections (five of them successful) and 28 years.

His successor has now been announced: Tim Brett, leader of Fife Council Liberal Democrats and former chief executive of Ninewells Hospital, will contest the seat for the Lib Dems. Here’s what his biography on the Scottish Lib Dem website says about him:

Tim has lived in NE Fife since 1985 and has been a Councillor since 2003. He held senior management positions with NHS Tayside and latterly was Director of Health Protection Scotland.He is currently a member of NHS Fife Health Board and Chair of the Health and Social Care Partnership which works to achieve greater integration between health and social care.
Tim was part of the leadership team on Fife Council’s Lib Dem/SNP coalition and Chair of the Council’s Social Work and Health committee with a budget of £220 million from 2007-12. Fife was voted best social care provider in the UK and has the best results in the recently published Care Commission report “Making The Grade”. At his suggestion Fife was the first Scottish council to be showcased at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Liverpool in September 2010.
He has served on many Scottish government working groups, most recently on the Group charged with Reshaping Care for Older People and is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Health and Social Care. He regards the challenge of meeting the needs of Scotlands growing elderly population as one of the key issues that Scotland faces.
Tim has worked closely with Sir Menzies Campbell MP n NE Fife and is currently vice convenor of the local party.
After graduating from university, Tim was a volunteer teacher with VSO in Sierra Leone, West Africa and later returned to manage a hospital there – one of the poorest countries in the world.
Tim is the session clerk of Creich, Flisk and Kilmany church and is also a keen hill walker, having completed the Munro’s in 2004 and having climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe.
Tim believes strongly in the difference that Liberal Democrats can make to the life of the people of Scotland and that his wide experience will be a major asset to Tavish Scott’s team in the Parliament.

On paper, North East Fife is one of the party’s safer seats: it would take an 11% swing to the Tories for the Lib Dems to be defeated here, Ming having increased his majority from 1,447 in 1987 to 9,048 in 2010. But the party’s record of successfully defending seats when a long-term incumbent stands down is mixed.

Tim Brett’s selection is something of a first for the Lib Dems this parliament – he’s the first white man to have been selected to defend a held seat.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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7 Comments

  • (Hint – think that biography relates to the Scottish elections in 2011….)

    Really pleased to see this. It was a strong group of candidates, but Tim has worked hard locally on the Council as group leader and, before that, as Chair of Social Work. He was also one of only a few councillors who increased their share of first preferences in the 2012 Council elections, so has a good record of success. Looking forward to getting out to help him!

  • Robin Bennett 19th Mar '14 - 12:05pm

    This seat is now held by the SNP at Holyrood but, if there is a No vote, the SNP vote may collapse as happened at the election after the 1979 referendum. Scottish politics will then become comparatively boring for political anoraks and Tim Brett will hold the seat. If there is a Yes vote on 18th September, there are a number of possible scenarios. It’s going to be difficult to defend any seat since the SNP will claim to be the only party which can represent Scotland’s interests in the pre-independence negotiations. Indeed, the three unionist parties may be best advised to legislate for a postponement of the 2015 election. thereby avoiding the possibility of a cohort of up to 59 SNP MPs, until Independence Day, holding the balance of power.

  • If there is a yes vote, those of us south of the border won’t care much! We’ll all be bent under the Tory yolk…

    The SNP have been beaten by Labour in all the last three UK votes, despite being ahead of them in Scots votes. Also, the last Scots result was on a turnout some 13% or so lower, so may not be a reasonable guide. The data is here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fife_North_East_(UK_Parliament_constituency)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_East_Fife_(Scottish_Parliament_constituency)#Election_results

  • “….Tim believes strongly in the difference that Liberal Democrats can make to the life of the people of Scotland and that his wide experience will be a major asset to Tavish Scott’s team in the Parliament…”

    So we saw it here first, Clegg will be replaced by Tavish Scott. That will save RC having to ask me again.

  • David Evans 20th Mar '14 - 3:39pm

    @Frank H Little – Compared to what? Have you worked out the figures or are you just spouting rubbish?

  • Brett is a good example of a Scottish Lib Dem who now finds himself under real challenge from the SNP’s post-referendum surge.

    It isn’t the Tories he needs to beat in NE Fife but the separatists, and that means operating as something of a “coupon candidate” on behalf of the Coalition who can attract Tory tactical votes to keep the Nationalists out is probably his best chache of holding. How well he and his team adapt to this new political landscape, in persuading Tories, the seat’s traditional second-placed party, to lend him their vote for the greater good of the Union, will determine the outcome. If he tries, obviously unconvincingly, to pose primarily as an anti-Tory, despite the fact of the Coalition and the fact of the parties’ common ground in the recent Referendum, he may well find himself splitting the Unionist vote and being replaced by a separatist.

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