Their latest debacle says it all. Why should rural communities put up with more Tory chaos?

Rural communities the length and breadth of Scotland will have breathed exasperated sighs these past few days.

The Tories’ latest scandal shows them at their worst- a backroom deselection of a sick MP, all so the leader of the Scottish Tories has a slightly better chance of staying at Westminster.

Even Tory MPs are not safe from Douglas Ross’ ambition. It might seem old fashioned, but I happen to still believe politics is, at it core, a public service. I certainly recognise how much of an honour it is to serve my constituents and represent such a diverse and beautiful constituency.

I definitely don’t see politics as a ticket to yet another salary or another job to add to my collection. Voters in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, the constituency which Douglas Ross has haphazardly parachuted himself into, deserve so much better.

Even though I have fundamentally different views to David Duguid, I can do him the courtesy of saying he was a respected MP.

To be ejected from his job while recovering in a hospital bed – against the wishes of local party members – is a scandal even Douglas Ross can’t bounce back from. The takeaway from his statement yesterday – that he’ll resign from Holyrood if he wins the seat and step down as leader after the election – is too little too late. It just smacked of selfishness, and of taking voters in the north east for granted.

Rural communities are used to being let down by the Tories. So my appeal to rural voters is simple. Give the SNP a chance to do the job properly and make sure your interests are represented.

In the south of Scotland and up in the north east, countless communities are being ignored by absentee Tory MPs who view their mandate from the public as a chance to climb the greasy pole in Westminster. Ministerial jobs and the Westminster acclaim are not the reason the SNP sends MPs to the House of Commons.

SNP MPs don’t go south to settle down. Instead, they go to settle up – for Scotland.

I know the challenges facing rural Scotland. I’ve been a Highland MSP for nearly ten years and I know that rural communities can so often feel neglected by Westminster and left out of the conversation. But fighting for rural Scotland is in the SNP’s DNA.

An SNP MP will be a champion for your community. Our candidates have been chosen because they know the challenges you and your family face.

They know that the SNP is committed to standing by farmers who have been hammered by Brexit red tape and bad trade deals.

They know that the tourism sector needs MPs in Westminster fighting its corner.

They know that the rural housing crisis is hitting jobs, landlords, industries and forcing young people to move away from their homes.

The Westminster parties refuse to talk about the roots of these problems – they don’t want to address the broken economic system that has made this cost of living crisis so much worse, or the senseless Brexit that caused havoc with Scotland’s economy.

I don’t want to see Tory MPs returned for another five year ego trip where they ignore the issues and fail to stand up for rural Scotland.

For our cherished rural communities, this election is a golden opportunity. To unite behind the moderate, centre left vision of the SNP and to defeat the Tories.

And I know that in those communities, the SNP faces a tough fight. But whether you support independence or not, I can promise that you’ll have a determined SNP MP who won’t take your vote for granted. Whether you agree with them on the constitutional question or have still yet to be convinced, they’ll fight tooth and nail for your community all the same.

Because this election is about more than the tired status quo that neither the Tories nor Labour will change. It’s about social justice, empowering our communities and building a strong, fair economy – things both supporters of the union and independence can get behind with gusto.

When all is said and done, this is about showing Douglas Ross and his cronies the red card. The SNP can promise you something the Tories definitely can’t – that wherever you live, whatever you stand for and whoever you are – we will put the interests of the people of Scotland first.