A NEWLY elected teenage Highland councillor has not ruled out running for the Scottish Parliament in the future.
Ross-shire’s Alex MacLeod became the youngest ever member of the local authority when he was elected to represent Caithness in the council elections two months ago.
The 19-year-old rookie, who worked for the First Minister Alex Salmond on leaving school, is seen as a rising star within the SNP ranks and formed the party’s first youth branch in the Highlands several years ago.
He has played a key role in drawing up the council’s SNP-led coalition’s programme for the next five years, is the party’s Gaelic spokesman and previously worked as a campaign manager for veteran Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson.
Councillor MacLeod, who will celebrate his 20th birthday next month, is part of a clutch of young Nationalists who are now serving on the authority.
Asked if he harboured ambitions of becoming a MSP, the law student said he had “no idea” and stressed he had enough on his plate with his council role, but did not rule out the prospect.
“I think it is something that we will wait and see but I am very much focussed on the council,” he said.
“Politics is politics and you are there to represent people whether that is at national or local level. The important thing is the difference you can make in your community.
“I am just hugely privileged at the moment that I am able to make that difference in Caithness. I am very much focussed on that and making the best of my opportunities here on the council.”
The Landward Caithness councillor, who has moved back to the Highlands from university in Edinburgh, is looking for somewhere to live in the Far North but is currently staying near the village of Delny in Ross-shire.
Meanwhile, Councillor MacLeod said the re-emergence of Nigg as a major employer had been a massive shot in the arm for Ross-shire.
The Global Energy Group is set to employ 2,000 people within four years as it establishes a service hub for the oil, gas and renewables industries.
The teenage councillor’s grandfather worked at the former oil rig fabrication yard.
“It is hugely significant, there’s a great sense of positivity in Ross-shire at the moment – a real lifting of spirits. I have got friends who have managed to secure jobs in Nigg.
“Nigg was always something for me growing up, people used to say that it would get back up and running but it never did. Now it has, there’s a huge sense of elation in the community and people are feeling the benefits already.”
Councillor MacLeod said the powers given to the new Caithness and Sutherland area committee, which meets for the first time next month, would allow it to decide on how best to use the money on local roads.