Former Hibs Hero Jackie McNamara backs SNP's Kenny MacAskill in bid to be East Lothian MP

Ex-Easter Road captain gives his backing to 'man of integrity and principle'

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 6:00 am
Kenny MacAskill is seeking to overturn a Labour majority of 3083 in East Lothian
Kenny MacAskill is seeking to overturn a Labour majority of 3083 in East Lothian

Former Hibs star Jackie McNamara has given his backing to the SNP’s Kenny MacAskill in his bid to become MP for East Lothian.

The long-time Easter Road captain, who played over 200 league games for Hibs between 1976 and 1985 and later served as assistant manager, said: “I’m steeped in the Labour movement but I have no hesitation in giving my support to Kenny.”

Mr MacAskill, the former Justice Secretary who stepped down as MSP for Edinburgh Eastern in 2016, is seeking to oust Labour’s Martin Whitfield who won East Lothian from the SNP in 2017.

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Jackie McNamara says he has no hesitation in backing Kenny MacAskill

Mr McNamara, who owned several pubs in Musselburgh after he retired, said Mr MacAskill had shown by his actions he was “a man of integrity and principle” who had supported the cause of the disadvantaged and underprivileged and fought for workers rights.

He said: “I first met Kenny at the Woodside Hotel in Musselburgh some 15 years ago when he was seeking to provide access to football facilities for youngsters from challenged and challenging backgrounds.

“It’s a sport that’s dear to me given my lifetime involvement in it and continuing love for it. Providing the same opportunities I had to future generations matters to me.

“I came from a deprived area in the east of Glasgow and want the same opportunities for young folk now that I had years ago. Kenny’s efforts were important for that.

“I’ve spent my life trying to provide both that and battle other injustices in football and in our society.

“I believe there’s a better way to run our society. Now as we face the possibility of another Tory government that we didn’t elect, it’s people like Kenny that we need more than ever to be fighting for us and representing us.”

Mr MacAskill said he got to know Mr McNamara through the Scottish Government’s Cash Back for Communities scheme which used money recovered from criminal activity to fund projects for young people, as well as the Hibs fans’ buy-in.

He said: “I’m delighted to receive the endorsement from a man I’ve admired over many years.

“As well as enjoying his skills on the football field I’ve respected his commitment to his community and other causes campaigns for social justice.”

The SNP won East Lothian from Labour by 6803 votes in 2015 but lost it again in 2017 by 3083 votes.