A VOTE for me is a vote for a fairer East Lothian, against a second divisive independence referendum and against cuts to our local services.

I have lived in East Lothian with my family since 2004 and I work here. I am running for parliament because I believe we need a strong local voice.

East Lothian is made up of many diverse, vibrant communities, each with their own heritage and traditions. I believe what binds East Lothian together is a love of this region for its beauty, history and the connection people feel to the area.

We are, however, an area others appear to take for granted and put to the back of the queue. We have been poorly served by governments both in Edinburgh and London. The number of children living in poverty is increasing, foodbank use is increasing, and families are struggling to cover basic costs.

In education, no schools in East Lothian benefited from the first rounds of attainment funding. Our children deserve the very best start in life. As a teacher, I know the effect of this funding on the day-to-day experiences our children have.

The SNP Government closed our court in Haddington and withdrew local traffic wardens, causing parking chaos. They delayed our community hospital by a decade and have forced unwanted new housing developments on communities across the county. And while these attacks and failures were happening, my SNP opponent never lifted his voice in opposition or tried to fight its corner. Far from being the champion he tried to portray himself as in 2015, he has in fact been little more than a cheerleader for independence and his party’s interests.

So two years after the election the SNP made about independence, we find ourselves at the centre of another election about the constitution – an unexpected election based on perceived political advantage, rather than the national interest.

This election should be about our local constituency and who will best represent it. It should be about jobs, public services, accountability and community strength. I am someone who will say no to a second referendum and demand our politicians get on with the day job; someone who will fight for a fair Brexit that keeps us as close to Europe as possible for the sake of East Lothian’s economy; someone who will push for investment in high-quality jobs and apprenticeships.

I believe that a genuine local champion, accountable to his own community, can best serve East Lothian’s needs. I will be that champion, putting jobs and public services before constitutional chaos. I will fight for all of our public services and oppose any further damaging cuts or centralisation.

Above all else, I promise to put East Lothian first and be a champion for our county, not a cheerleader for independence.