First blind MSP elected to Holyrood

Dennis Robertson: Won majority of over 4000.
Dennis Robertson: Won majority of over 4000.

The next session of Holyrood will see the first ever blind MSP take his seat in the Scottish parliament.

The SNP’s Dennis Robertson took Aberdeenshire West from Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles with 42% of the vote – a majority of 4112.

Mr Robertson, who has been registered blind since he was 11, was the candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in the 2007 Scottish parliamentary election and the 2010 Westminster elections.

In an emotional speech after the result was announced – with a staggering 12,186 SNP votes for the seat – and amid cheers from supporters in the crowd, Mr Robertson said it was an “extremely proud moment” for him and his family.

He dedicated his victorious win to his daughter, Caroline, who died in February this year.

He said: “I’d firstly like to thank the fellow candidates for what has been an amazing contest, and thank the voters of Aberdeenshire West.

“This is an extremely proud moment for me and I hope that the people of Aberdeenshire West will trust me to work hard, as I always have, for every single constituent in that area.

“I’d like to thank my wife and my daughter Fiona, and Caroline who passed away in February. I hope I’ve made my daughter proud. She told me to continue with the election campaign and I did exactly that.

“Tonight, you have made mine, and my daughter’s, dreams come true.”

Mr Robertson added that he was “extremely proud” that he was to become the first blind MSP to enter Holyrood.

His predecessor of the seat, Mike Rumbles, said after the result that Mr Robertson would do “extremely well” in the seat.

He said: “This is what the democratic process is all about. I have a fantastic team who have supported me throughout the years and I can’t thank them enough.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to represent the people of the former West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine seat and it is now an exciting time for the area as they look to the future.

“I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done.”

It looked extremely unlikely that any other party was to gain this seat as the Lib Dems had previously held a strong majority in the area.

But with a historic SNP whitewash in Aberdeen and Shire, the Lib Dems were relegated to second place in a seat which had been theirs for three terms.

Nanette Milne, Conservative candidate for the seat, said she “was not surprised” by this morning’s result.

She said: “I was picking up at the doorsteps that the Lib Dems were slipping quite badly and clearly some of them were going to the SNP.

“I don’t know if I would have predicted the extent of it but it follows on from the result across Scotland. Clearly Mike Rumbles has lost very significantly. I think Dennis Robertson is amazed that he has won by such a large margin.”

The Scottish Parliament building currently has no provision for sight impaired MSPs, an arrangement which is now certain to change before the next session begins.

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