ELECTION fever hits Fife today as the General Election takes place.

Four MPs will be chosen for the Kingdom with voters seeing some changes at the ballot box after a shake up to the political boundaries.

Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy

The name of the Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy remains after the constituency shake-up but there are some changes for voters.

The constituency now extends further into West Fife and includes North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Crossgates, Hill of Beath and Cowdenbeath and Mosside, which used to be within the Dunfermline and West Fife boundary.

Neale Hanvey will be standing for the Alba Party as he attempts to retain his seat which he won as an independent at the last election having being suspended from the SNP.

He will go up against SNP councillor Lesley Backhouse, Melanie Ward (Labour), Mags Hall (Scottish Green Party), Fraser Graham (Scottish Liberal Democrats), Johnny Gray (Conservatives), Sonia Davidson (Reform UK) and Calum Paul (Scottish Libertarian Party).


Lesley Backhouse (Scottish National Party)

I have lived in Burntisland, in the constituency, for over 12 years.

I was formerly a forensic accountant for the UK civil service and latterly a registered childminder for seven years.

I am a committed community activist, volunteering on regular litter picks with Fife Street Champions and others.

I support young families through Kirkcaldy Breastfeeding Cafe in partnership with the Breastfeeding Network and I was elected to Fife Council in 2017, becoming the SNP's housing spokesperson.

This election is about Scotland’s right to choose our own future, repeatedly denied by Westminster.

The Yes movement needs to work together, focus on what unites us and do more to convince others that Scotland’s future is best served as an independent nation.

I am committed to working for everyone in the constituency and working hard to promote Scotland’s interests.

I am already out every day talking to voters, listening to what matters to them.

I see so much opportunity to improve lives through decisions made in Scotland and am inspired by Lesley Riddoch’s words: “Act as if you own the place”. We need a fresh injection of ambition for Scotland.

We know that too much of our money goes to London and too little comes back.

While we continue to work for independence, I would like to focus on getting more control over our resources, getting money back into local pockets and making positive choices for our communities.

I would work to put a cap on the price of food in the supermarkets, scrap energy bill standing charges, bring back the £400 energy bill rebate and protect our older citizens by protecting the triple lock on pensions.

I am committed to working hard for the constituency I live in. In contrast, Labour have chosen a candidate from London, ignoring local members, showing their disconnect from our communities.

Sonia Davidson (Reform UK)

I am standing for election to fix my country.

It’s ok, I won’t tell you what my pronouns are, however my adjectives are disillusioned, betrayed and very angry.

Fourteen years we’ve had to watch our country decline in every way imaginable.

With no plan by the other parties of how to change things, only broken promises.

As a taxpayer I feel I’m nothing more than a walking ‘purse’ to the main parties in Westminster and Holyrood.

My voice is not listened to, my opinion counts for nothing, but my taxes go up.

The Reform Party has a comprehensive contract which not only highlights the challenges facing Britain today but also provides solutions, and how these solutions will be funded.

For too long our elected representatives have ignored us, ignored our opinions, ignored our safety.

All they are interested in is that we pay a higher and higher tax rate.

They give time and our money to ideologies where they can’t even tell you what a ‘woman’ is.

People are struggling with the cost of living, yet our MPs give themselves a pay rise.

In education, Reform will ban all gender ideologies and critical race theories from schools.

Teachers will be free to educate our children, not indoctrinate them, teach ‘how’ to think, not ‘what’ to think.

Teachers will have the backing of their schools and the government, allowing them to restore Scotland’s excellent education system.

Diversity ideologies have plagued - amongst others - the NHS, police and our armed forces, at a cost of millions per year.

There is no benefit to patients or our country, I see no shortening of the NHS waiting lists.

Reform is urgently needed for our economy, our energy and environment, for housing, farming and fisheries, for pensions and social care.

If you want to see Scotland reformed, vote for Reform UK.

Fraser Graham (Scottish Liberal Democrats)

I grew up in Fife, my parents live in Kirkcaldy, and I work as a chartered architect in Perth.

I am standing to be MP because change is needed in this country, and for the people of the area, whether you live in Crossgates, North Queensferry, Burntisland, or indeed Cowdenbeath or Kirkcaldy.

Everyone has seen their lives affected by this disastrous Tory government, and it’s time for change.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to make benefits fairer by eliminating the bedroom tax and the two child cap on benefits, to reduce food prices by creating a national food strategy, and to invest in services such as GPs, dentists and hospitals.

Our full manifesto is at www.scotlibdems.org.uk/fairdeal

We are also committed to tackling the housing emergency, developing a national housing plan for Scotland, building over 380,000 new homes across the UK, and bringing thousands of long term empty homes back into use.

We will also invest in upgrading existing homes to be more energy efficient and cheaper to heat.

As a member of the LGBT+ community, I am hugely looking forward to Fife Pride on June 29, and will be there all day at the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ stall.

Our manifesto promises to support the LGBT+ community, including simplification of the gender recognition process, recognition of non-binary identities and the banning of conversion therapy.

If you elect me as your MP I will be your local champion. I will build a strong constituency team to provide the support and guidance you need, and I will stand tall in Westminster for Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy.

Please vote for me on July 4, and remember that if you’re voting in person you must bring photo ID.

Jonathan Gray (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)

While it is hard to believe it is almost 20 years since I retired from the army, it would be an incredible honour to represent Fife’s military and veteran communities as the MP for Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy.

Ensuring that our armed forces, families and veterans receive the support they need would be a top priority, especially when it comes to access to safe and affordable housing.

Communities across Fife are currently facing a housing crisis and it is shocking that it reached a point where our council had to declare a housing emergency.

The SNP’s cuts to both the council’s budget year after year as well as cutting almost £200 million from the affordable housing budget are hitting communities like Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy particularly hard, where too many families are languishing in temporary accommodation or facing ever increasing waits on housing waiting lists.

Meeting that housing demand also has a positive knock-on effect for Fife’s economy. It helps to attract people to make our wonderful area their home, which in turn helps to create good jobs and new opportunities for people living here.

Many people in Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy have found times tough during the global cost-of-living crisis, which is why I will fight for investment into our local businesses, such as the Mossmorran plant and the Rosyth dockyard to ensure we protect local livelihoods as we continue towards achieving our net zero ambitions.

To grow our economy, we also must reduce the tax being paid by hard-pressed people in Fife. It is simply wrong that those earning over £28,850 are paying more in tax than their counterparts south of the border due to the SNP’s high-tax regime.

If you want an MP focused on your priorities, vote for me on July 4, rather than a SNP MP who will only obsess about independence.

Mags Hall (Scottish Green Party)

The Scottish Greens are asking you to vote like your future depends on it.

To vote for real and urgent action on the climate emergency.

To vote for a fairer economy that works for people and planet. And to vote for our future as an independent Scottish republic.

I was brought up in West Fife and am now raising my young family in the Kingdom.

I have a background in community organising and charities, with a particular interest in sustainable food and land rights, and I currently works as an adviser to the Scottish Green MSPs.

The Scottish Greens have already delivered significant change for Scotland, including free bus travel for all our young people, a fairer tax system, an emergency rent cap during the cost of living crisis, and record funding for the climate and nature emergencies.

When you get Greens elected, we deliver for communities.

Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy should be benefitting from the transition away from oil and gas, but for too long we have been left behind.

The Scottish Greens would ensure training and jobs for our young people in the green industries of the future, like renewables and battery technology, and we would ensure our ports in the constituency had a bright future in offshore wind maintenance and decommissioning work, rather than becoming mini-tax haven free ports.

Our plans for a wealth tax would raise at least £70 billion from the richest in society, to help address the funding crisis in our hospitals, schools and councils. And our New Deal for Workers would ensure everyone is paid a real living wage, and represented by a strong trade union voice in their workplace.

At this election, you don’t have to vote for the least worst option, you can vote for a future you believe in.

For a fairer, greener, independent Scotland, vote Scottish Greens.

Neale Hanvey (Alba Party)

Trust in politicians is at an all-time low with parties mired in scandal and a litany of broken promises.

As your MP I have been true to my principles on some of the most challenging issues of our time.

From women’s rights to child protection, global conflict to self-determination, I’ve stood my ground as a voice of reason.

I am seeking re-election because I believe my track record demonstrates my commitment to the communities I’ve served over the past five years.

As the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath I’ve supported my constituents by delivering an excellent service.

I’ve handled over 12,000 constituent cases ranging from people imprisoned abroad to local housing issues and everything in between.

I’ve recovered £166,401 for constituents from DWP, HMRC, energy companies, Fife Council and financial scammers.

I’ve defended women's and children's rights and exposed the Scottish Government's Gender Recognition Reform Bill and their Hate Crime Act for the dangerous and ill-considered legislation that they are.

I succeeded where others failed to secure the decontamination of radioactive material from Dalgety Bay beach and restore public access.

I worked tirelessly to protect many local small businesses during the pandemic.

I’ve used my considerable NHS leadership expertise to demand better from both UK and Scottish governments and to defend NHS staff working on the frontline.

ALBA are the ONLY political party in Scotland campaigning to save Grangemouth, Scotland's ONLY oil refinery from closure.

I have worked cross-party and cross-parliament to restore a direct ferry service from Rosyth to mainland Europe to deliver jobs and economic opportunity to the area.

I have steadfastly defended Scotland's right to self-determination as the only MP to introduce legislation to protect that fundamental human right.

Only with your support can I continue to deliver for you. When you come to me, you will always get action.

Calum Paul (Scottish Libertarian Party)

I'm 38, I work in the film industry, volunteer at a Historical Scottish educational charity and am the deputy leader of the Scottish Libertarian Party.

I'm a Kirkcaldy native and a former Kirkcaldy business owner.

I'm standing because I am acting as the change I want to see.

All of the other candidates support big government in some form or another, and I'd like to provide the option for those who are more sceptical about giving politicians so much responsibility over our lives.

Lately I've become pretty flustered with how the government seems to want to trip us up with a new fine every other day.

ULEZ (ultra low emission zones). The war on cars that affects millions of working people.

Bag Taxes. Sin Taxes.

Every now and then we seem to be forced to contend with what some quango or lecturing holier-than-thou government committee thinks we should do in order to keep politicians electable.

Enough is enough. I think most people just want to get on with their lives without having to chip in to the government's latest fad.

Voting for the Scottish Libertarian Party broadcasts a clear message to the others that you don't trust politicians power over our lives, and want to see them making fewer choices on your behalf.

If you want to see fewer taxes, regulations and fines governing your life, vote Libertarian.

Melanie Ward (Scottish Labour Party)

People here are hurting badly after 14 years of the Tories and 17 years of the SNP.

Too many people in Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy, and right across Fife, can’t afford to switch the heating on when it’s cold.

Too many work hard, but struggle to pay the rent. Mortgage payments have rocketed.

Shockingly, some of the waiting times at the Vic are amongst the worst in Scotland. We’ve been let down - badly.

Only a vote for Scottish Labour can change this.

I’m standing to be our local MP because we need change, and we need it now.

Growing up in Scotland under Thatcher, I watched my parents battle broken public services to get education and medical treatment for my brother, who has complex disabilities.

When his condition worsened recently, I had to fight to get him social housing and a new care package.

It’s a story I hear time and again.

Families shouldn’t have to fight so hard for essential support. But our country is broken.

To fix it, Labour needs to win - starting right here in Fife.

You can wake up to a Labour government on July 5 which will:

· Deliver economic stability to grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation and mortgages low

· Cut NHS waiting times by funding 160,000 additional appointments every year in Scotland

· Set up GB Energy in Scotland, a publicly-owned clean power company, to cut energy bills for good

· Make work pay with a New Deal for Working People that will deliver a genuine living wage for 200,000 Scots

· Create jobs and opportunities for young people by creating 69,000 Scottish jobs in the industries of the future

· Maximise Scotland’s influence.

I will stand up for you as your hardworking local constituency MP. Vote for a Labour government and let’s make change happen.