North East Fife SNP MP Stephen Gethins has been nominated for “MP of the Year 2017” as recognition of his work in the constituency. This award is organised by the Patchwork Foundation.
The nomination included the work Mr Gethins has done to support Siblings Together and Reunited (STAR). Scotland has around 16,000 children in care and more than half of those children have siblings who do not live with them. STAR is a non-profit charity which aims to mitigate this issue, by ensuring quality time between siblings who might otherwise be estranged.
Recently he attended “Carers Week” to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people across the UK who currently provide unpaid care for a disabled, ill, or older family member or friend.
At this event Mr Gethins said, “I was proud to represent my constituents today at the Carers Week event and I pledge to support the 10,106 carers in North East Fife throughout this Parliament. These figures include 7,486 adults — roughly one in eight constituents —who provide unpaid care for an ill, older, or disabled loved ones. Carers make a huge contribution to our society, providing vital support and it is right that we value them and ensure they have the right support at the right time. I look forward to working with the Carers Week charities, and with unpaid carers locally, to make a difference to their lives.”
Other work which helped secure his nomination, undertaken by both himself and community Council chairman Dave Carstairs, was to fundraise £3500 to make Cupar’s iconic war memorial more accessible by installing handrails. He is also known in the community for his work regarding Lundin Ladies Golf Club.
Commenting, Mr Gethins said, “It is fantastic to be nominated, even more so for it to have come from within the constituency. North East Fife is a great place with so many amazing groups, organisations, and charities doing so many good things and it has been a pleasure to do what I can to help them.”
He has, however, received criticism regarding his view on a second independence referendum for Scotland following the recent Brexit vote with North East Fife voting 58.6 per cent remain and 41.4 per cent leave. Talking to BBC Radio Scotland he said, “There are a wide range of options. I think that independence could be one of those ways.” Previously Fife voted in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, 45 per cent “Yes” to the question, “Should Scotland be an independent country?” and 55 per cent “No,” virtually identical to the overall national average.
This criticism however likely found form with the incredibly close result of the most recent General Election in June, where his support has declined. North East Fife was the most marginal result in the United Kingdom at the 2017 general election, with incumbent SNP MP Stephen Gethins seeing his majority cut from 4,344 votes to just two votes ahead of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the most marginal result in a constituency in the UK since the result in Winchester at the 1997 general election, although the Winchester result was subsequently declared void. The previous two vote majority to stand was at Ilkeston in 1931, some 86 years ago. The result was declared after three recounts leaving the stage staff exhausted. The defeated Scottish Liberal Democrats considered a legal bid, however announced on 16 June 2017 that they would not challenge the result in court.
The awards ceremony for ‘MP of the Year 2017’ takes place on November 8, will be hosted by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow and attended by Patchwork Patrons Sir Martyn Lewis CBE and John Pienaar.