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Changing of the guard: Tributes flood in for incoming and outgoing Inverness MPs Angus MacDonald and Drew Hendry

By Philip Murray

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Angus MacDonald at the count on Friday. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Angus MacDonald at the count on Friday. Picture: Callum Mackay.

The end of one man’s Westminster career and the dawn of another’s have sparked an array of reaction online after Lib-Dem Angus MacDonald defeated the SNP’s Drew Hendry in the General Election.

The pair had been running for the new Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire constituency, with Mr Hendry hoping to extend his nine-year stint in Westminster after serving previously in the now defunct constituency of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey.

The writing appeared to be on the wall yesterday when Mr Hendry conceded defeat, despite counting having been suspended overnight to allow for another recount.

And his hopes were finally, officially, dashed on Saturday evening following another recount when the formal result was announced.

Mr MacDonald won 18,159 votes with Mr Hendry on 15,999 votes in second place.

A lot of people have hailed the election of Angus MacDonald, saying he will make a great public servant.

Among them are Scottish historian and art historian William Dalrymple, who said: “Congratulations to my old friend Angus Macdonald! The very embodiment of the kind and generous Highlander!”

Well known mountaineer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish reacted: “I'm no Lib-Dem but it will be interesting to see what Angus MacDonald brings to the Highlands. He certainly has energy and confidence, and a genuine love of the area.

Keith MacKenzie said: "Congratulations to Angus MacDonald - he fought a positive campaign and revives the region's historic Liberal tradition. He'll be a good MP.

Indeed, numerous other people also made reference to the region’s traditional Lib-Dem colours, and the fact the new constituency overlapped the one once held by former Lib-Dem leader Charles Kennedy.

Among them was Lib-Dem member Michael Mullaney, who said: “Great news, congratulations to Angus MacDonald. It’s fitting our 72nd Lib-Dems MP in a record breaking election should be in Charles Kennedy’s former seat.

“An inspirational leader taken too soon, his leadership helped persuade me to join the Lib-Dems.”

Steve Partridge said: “It is entirely fitting that Charlie Kennedy's old seat should get its own special day to be announced as a Liberal Democrat gain.”

News that Mr Hendry’s career in Westminster was at an end sparked an array of reactions from supporters and non-supporters alike, with many voters praising him as being a good public servant while in office.

Drew Hendry at the count on Friday. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Drew Hendry at the count on Friday. Picture: Callum Mackay.

Katie Macaulay said: “Very sorry to see this. Irrespective of your politics, a very good man and did a lot for his constituency.

Chris Dowling agreed: “He was very help[ful] to me and my daughter a couple of years ago when her passport application got lost in the post-Covid backlog.

“I’m sure it was a small case for him but it was a big deal for us and he really pushed on our behalf, which ultimately saw her passport arrive just in time. For that I will always be grateful as it was an important trip for us.”

Others praised him as an MP even if critical of his party.

Iain Firth said: “It’s a shame for him. He was a decent MP. But the SNP have taken their eyes off the ball. They will probably get ousted from Holyrood if they don’t start dealing with the real issues they were voted in for, like education and the health service.”

The sentiments were similar to those shared by Richard Taylor, who said: “To be fair he wasn't bad. I have never voted SNP, never will, but he was OK for our area to be honest bar his constant independence c*** he actually did his day job both in Westminster and here at home and helped us out with some issues that needed sorted, so I’ll give credit due where it is due.”

Elsewhere, others remarked on Mr Hendry’s push to raise local issues in Westminster such as lack of affordable housing, unfair delivery surcharges and the like.

Laurie MacLeod said: “Drew really understands the need for affordable housing in the Highlands and worked hard for his constituency. I’m so disappointed for him and us.”

But Kim Corbett was less convinced, replying: “Laurie MacLeod we all understand the desperate need for affordable housing but what did Hendry actually do about it? He had a relatively long stint as our MP but what did he actually achieve?”

What do you think about the newly-elected Mr Macdonald and the now departing Mr Hendry? Let us know via email at newsdesk@hnmedia.co.uk.

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