Mar 10 2010 by Michael Pringle, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Airdrie woman Sophia Coyle chosen as SNP candidate for Airdrie and Shotts
LOCAL woman Sophia Coyle has been chosen as the SNP candidate for the Airdrie and Shotts seat vacated by Labour’s John Reid.
Sophia was the Scottish Nationalist’s candidate in the last Scottish election and ran Karen Whitefield very close in the traditionally safe seat for Labour. A majority that previously stood at 8977 was whittled down to just 1446, with 1536 spoilt papers in the ballot.
The Labour Party have decided on an all-women shortlist for their candidate and will choose on Sunday who will run.
The Labour majority at the last general election was 14,084 and it would take a considerable swing for the SNP to take the seat but Sophia Coyle believes the fact that she lives in the area will give her an advantage.
She said: “It looks as if Labour will be drafting someone in who probably doesn’t live in the area, someone who’s in it for the career rather than for the people or the area.
“I’m not in this for the love of money, I just love helping people and I wouldn’t take another job. I want to put everything into this.
“I live in Airdrie and I’ve got three kids. I love the town and my kids are being brought up here. I want to deal with the lack of jobs and the deprivation as everyone I speak to thinks the place is dying a death.
“When you walk through the town centre all you see is betting shops, charity shops and sunbed shops. Retailers that have been here for years are leaving. I want to do something about it before it’s too late.”
The Airdrie mum of three admits disappointment at losing out at the Scottish election last time round saying: “Labour may be taking it for granted that this is a safe seat but there’s no such thing as a safe seat.
“I must admit I was disappointed at the Scottish election result.
“Labour have failed to deliver, there have been no achievements, no investment and no change. I’m quite confident that the people of Airdrie and Shotts will realise Labour have done nothing. It’s time for a fresh outlook.”
The Westminster hopeful believes that her ability to empathise with the voters could make the difference at the ballot box.
She said: “The SNP’s slogan is to vote for me as your champion. I wouldn’t call myself a champion - I’m a normal everyday person, off the street with no airs and graces. I’ll never turn anyone away and I’ll be there to help whenever I can.
“I can relate to the people I’m very proud to represent. My family like most others have suffered from the recession. I don’t live in a big fancy house and it’s hard to deliver what kids need and that’s a problem a lot of parents in the area have.
“I believe I know the issues that are hurting people and that I’m the best person to tackle them. We need to encourage investment and jobs to Airdrie and Shotts.”
A key issue for Sophia Coyle has been the fight to keep the Accident and Emergency Department at Monklands Hospital and she added: “Many people thought that when Labour said that the A&E Department would be closed then that was that, but I take great pride in fighting to maintain it for local people.”