Wannabe MP keeps it local

Callum McNally
Callum McNally

He may be young but the Labour candidate for the East Dunbartonshire constituency already has experience of running for election.

Callum McNally (21), who grew up in Bishopbriggs and now lives in Lenzie, was elected to the Scottish Youth Parliament when he was a 16-year-old Lenzie Academy pupil.

The former Lenzie Primary pupil, who is studying history and politics at Stirling University, is now hoping to be elected to Westminster just three years after joining the Labour Party.

He said: “I’ve always come from a very politically active family.

“I think everyone can do something to play their part to make a difference but if you find a party that aligns with your principals and your ideals it’s far easier - it’s a vehicle for change.

“That’s why I ended up joining Labour at the age of 18.”

If elected he says that he would focus on local issues, while still hoping to help deliver his party’s national plans.

He explained: “I genuinely think our manifesto would make a huge positive change to millions of people’s lives up and down the country.

“However my priority in East Dunbartonshire is to be a local MP. I’ve pledged to have at least two surgeries in the constituency every month because I feel like people are disengaged with politics.

“The way we try to change and build trust in politics is by listening to people, hearing what their concerns are, then doing something about it.”

And he has a clear message for those who say that he’s too young to become an MP, saying: “I believe that in a real democracy a parliament should be representative.

“I believe in a 50/50 gender split, fair representation for minority groups, LGBT candidates and in different age ranges in parliamemt.

“When Mhairi Black was elected, even though she’s not from my party, I was thrilled to have a young voice in parliament.”

But he doesn’t agree with Ms Black on another Independence Referendum, explaining: “Talking about a second referendum I think is trying to navigate away from the real things that impact on people’s lives - things like the NHS and education standards which are under threat and which would be my priority if elected.”

Locally, he says that retaining services is another priority, including banks and post offices.

He said: “We do have an older population for whom local branches are very important so when the Royal Bank of Scotland in Bishopbriggs is planning to close - that is something I would very much like to lobby against.

“In our manifesto we have a pledge to stop banks closing branches in rural areas. Bishopbriggs isn’t exactly urban so we could make an argument for that.”

He added: “Whilst I can’t promise to be reopening post offices I think the Labour Party’s pledge to nationalise the Royal Mail again and bring it back into public control means they can seriously look at opening post offices that don’t have to be led by profit.”

When it comes to the controversial shared space scheme in Kirkintilloch, he believes that the town centre redevelopment is “a huge asset” but has “sympathies” with the concerns of local residents.

He said: “First and foremost after this election we need a local representative.”

The other candidates up for election are John Nicolson (SNP), Sheila Mechan (Conservative) and Jo Swinson (Lib Dem).