Councillor Louise McPhater has been selected to contest the Cunninghame South seat for Scottish Labour at this year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Ms McPhater who was first elected to the council in August 2016 after beating Robin Sturgeon – the father of the First Minister – in a by-election in Irvine West will aim to win back the Cunninghame South seat which has been held by the SNP since 2011.

Ruth Maguire is the current MSP for the area and won the seat in 2016 with more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Last year Cllr. McPhater stood as the Labour candidate for the Central Ayrshire constituency in the general election but came a distant third behind the SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford and the Conservatives.

She currently runs the community hub at Vineburgh and played a leading role in establishing North Ayrshire's community hubs to support people through the pandemic. 

Speaking after her selection Cllr. McPhater said: “I have worked as a community development worker in this area for years and have been a community activist even longer.

“I will never forget the sense of worry that the pandemic brought last March but I will also never forget the experience I have had in helping North Ayrshire respond.

“As soon as it became clear that the country was heading into lockdown, I held discussions on how the council, working with communities, would respond to support local people.

"I am proud to have played my part in establishing North Ayrshire’s community hubs and for the support that we at the Vineburgh, and every other hub including Fullarton, have provided throughout the pandemic and that’s why I am standing for Labour in May’s election.

“The pandemic has reinforced my view that our community has been let down for too long by those we send to parliament to represent us.

"They are too disconnected from the everyday lives of the people they are supposed to represent, seeming more interested in protecting the letters that come after their name than using the honour that has been bestowed on them by the people to bring jobs and investment, and along with them some hope, to the area.

“It’s time that we sent someone to Parliament who, when the going gets tough, doesn’t hide but instead runs towards the problem to fight our corner.

“I have done that throughout my adult life.

"Whether it be the COVID community hubs, the campaign we ran to get our local community centre or speaking out on drug deaths, I will always have local people's backs and will take the battle scars I bear from my community activism onto the floor of the Scottish Parliament to deliver for local people.”