A senior SNP councillor in Renfrewshire has announced her intention to run for the Westminster seat vacated by Mhairi Black, who decided to step down from politics citing the “toxic” environment of the UK Parliament.
Who is Jacqueline Cameron?
Jacqueline Cameron is the depute leader of Renfrewshire Council and a passionate anti-poverty campaigner. She has been a councillor since 2017 and represents the ward of Johnstone South and Elderslie. She lives in the village of Kilbarchan with her husband and two children.
Cameron has a background in education and social work, and has been involved in various community projects and initiatives. She is also the chair of the Fairer Renfrewshire sub-committee, which aims to make Renfrewshire a fairer place to live, work and study.
Why does she want to be an MP?
Cameron said she was inspired by the legacy of Mhairi Black, who became the youngest MP in modern history when she defeated Labour’s Douglas Alexander in 2015. Black was a vocal advocate for Scottish independence, social justice and human rights, but announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election in 2023.
Cameron said she wanted to continue Black’s work and fight for the needs of the communities in Paisley and Renfrewshire South. She said she shared Black’s disgust at how the Tories have ignored the needs of Scotland and imposed austerity, Brexit and Covid-19 policies that have harmed people’s lives and livelihoods.
She said she also wanted to be part of the growing number of female SNP MPs who have made their mark in Westminster and challenged the status quo. She said she would not go to Westminster to “settle down”, but to “settle up” and secure Scotland’s independence.
What are her main priorities?
Cameron said her main priority was to address the cost of living crisis that was affecting millions of people across the UK. She said she would offer a real alternative to Labour’s imitation of the Tories, and expose their hypocrisy on issues such as nuclear weapons, welfare reform and immigration.
She said she would also campaign for a fair recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted women, young people, low-income workers and ethnic minorities. She said she would support measures such as a universal basic income, a national care service, a green new deal and a four-day working week.
She said she would also stand up for Scotland’s right to choose its own future, and demand a second referendum on independence. She said she believed that Scotland had the potential to be a successful, prosperous and progressive country that could lead by example on the world stage.
How will she win the seat?
Cameron said she was confident that she had the support of SNP members and activists in Paisley and Renfrewshire South, who would select their candidate through an online ballot that opens on Thursday. She said she had been encouraged by others to stand, and had received endorsements from prominent SNP figures such as Humza Yousaf, Derek Mackay and Stuart McMillan.
She said she was also ready to face the challenge from other parties, especially Labour, who have talked up their chances of winning back the seat they held for decades before 2015. She said she was not complacent, but optimistic that voters would recognise the achievements of the SNP government in Scotland and the failures of the UK government in London.
She said she would run a positive and respectful campaign that focused on the issues that mattered to people, such as health, education, jobs, housing and transport. She said she would also engage with voters through various platforms, such as social media, online events and door-to-door canvassing when possible.
What will happen next?
The SNP members in Paisley and Renfrewshire South will have until October 25 to cast their votes for their preferred candidate. The result will be announced shortly after.
The winner will then face off against candidates from other parties in the next general election, which is expected to take place in May 2023. The current polls suggest that the SNP is on course to win a majority of Scottish seats at Westminster, while Labour is trailing behind the Tories across the UK.
The outcome of the election could have significant implications for Scotland’s constitutional future, as well as its social and economic recovery from the pandemic. Will Jacqueline Cameron be able to follow Mhairi Black’s footsteps and become the next MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South? Or will another party manage to upset the SNP’s dominance in the area? Only time will tell.