>> 23 April 2010

Gordon MSP and First Minister Alex Salmond, was today joined by SNP Gordon Westminster Candidate, Richard Thomson, as they hosted an informal lunch for local businesses at the Lochter Activity Centre in Oldmeldrum.

The event was a chance for local businesses to meet with both Mr Thomson and the First Minister. After Mr Thomson gave a keynote speech covering local and national economic themes, a question and answer session followed where all present were free to quiz both politicians.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Thomson said:

“This was a very pleasant and productive afternoon, which gave local businesses the chance to put their questions direct to the First Minister and myself as a local candidate.

“We had a wide cross section of attendees, from farming, retail, manufacturing and the oil and gas sector to the hospitality industry, all of whom took their chance to put the First Minister and myself on the spot.

“It’s no secret that there are going to be some difficult years ahead financially due to budget cuts at Westminster. However, on today’s evidence, I think that people are increasingly enthusiastic about having an SNP MP prepared to champion their interests, both locally and nationally, so as to secure the best possible deal for the North East in the years to come.”

Mr Salmond added:

“It was useful to be able to sit down with such a wide section of local business opinion so as to hear their concerns directly. I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone at Lochter who helped make the afternoon possible.

“One of the things that impresses me most about Richard as a candidate is that as well as recognising the challenges which Scotland and the North East face, crucially, he also has the enthusiasm and drive to help them be overcome. I hope that we can repeat this event soon, next time with a combined team of a local SNP MP as well as the MSP for Gordon!”

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