AS WE LOOK beyond our health crisis, I want to see our communities safe and well, and the local economy bounce back strongly.

That’s why I will be 100 per cent focused on our recovery from Covid and not another divisive independence referendum.

As your MSP, I want an East Lothian where every child gets the best start. That begins with having a laser-sharp focus on tackling the attainment gap in our schools. Nicola Sturgeon said that this would be her defining mission, but she’s had her eye off the ball, focusing on breaking up our Union.

The Scottish Conservatives will deliver an additional 3,000 teachers across Scotland, introduce free breakfast and lunches to every primary school child, as well as investing £120 million in a pupil catch-up premium to help children who have lost out on learning during the pandemic. We have a fully costed manifesto with clear commitments.

Every older person deserves to have dignity in their retirement. We must focus on properly funding the NHS and our local authorities. We will deliver a further £2 billion for our NHS over the course of the next parliament and enshrine a fair funding deal for East Lothian Council in law.

We must do everything we can to protect and create vital jobs and livelihoods. Douglas Ross has pledged £500 retrain to rebuild accounts for every adult who wants them, working closely with colleges and employers. This will focus first on those who have been made redundant or whose job is at risk.

East Lothian is the second-fastest-growing area in Scotland. I will be lobbying to secure funding for new rail connections for Haddington, Tranent and Blindwells, and press for the A1 to be fully dualled and accelerate infrastructure investment.

The Scottish Conservatives have bold plans to put local communities back in control of planning. It is time to halt future large-scale development in towns such as Haddington, North Berwick and Dunbar, and focus development at Blindwells.

Even before the pandemic, our high streets were struggling. We must ensure that our councils have the measures to support them through adapting walking and cycling routes. I will also take action to connect our rural communities, including delivering full fibre broadband to every home and business in East Lothian by 2027.

Over the last 14 years, the SNP have kept our rural communities in the dark. We will launch a consultation on future funding models for our farmers within 100 days, something the SNP have completely failed to do.

As a local councillor, I have worked closely with police and residents to root out the problems of drugs and anti-social behaviour. As your MSP, I will press for more community involvement in determining how resources are deployed, including the commitment to a local policing act to put more police on the streets.

I am committed to tackling the problem of climate change. As my party’s climate change champion on the council, I have taken a lead role in declaring a climate emergency. However, there is so much more to do to achieve net zero.

I encourage every Courier reader to vote for me on May 6 and to vote for the Scottish Conservatives on your peach ballot paper.

For those thinking of voting tactically to stop the SNP, bear two things in mind: Labour are now too weak to win here and can’t be trusted to stand up for our Union; and a vote for any fringe party will just split the pro-UK vote. Only a vote for the Scottish Conservatives guarantees a 100 per cent focus on our recovery, and not being dragged back to another referendum.

Craig Hoy biography: I am a local resident and serve on East Lothian Council. I am a board member of the South East Scotland Transport Partnership, a member of the East Lothian education committee and sit on the Haddington and Lammermuir and the Fa’side local area partnerships. I started my career as a journalist, working as a Downing Street lobby correspondent. I went on to run businesses in the UK and abroad – including founding my own events and analysis company. I’m not a career politician. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked for organisations including Dods and the BBC, and co-founded Holyrood Magazine. As a councillor, I have stood up for our high streets, warned against overdevelopment of greenbelt land and worked hard to combat anti-social behaviour. I support a number of charitable and community-based groups. I am a Friend of Blooming Haddington and the Scottish Seabird Centre. I served on the development board of a major charity engaged on issues including combatting pensioner fuel poverty. I also led Lorraine Kelly’s ‘Change and Check’ campaign to remind women across East Lothian to check for the symptoms of breast cancer. I live with my partner, who runs a local retail business, in Haddington.