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Saturday
Apr272019

Life of Brian takes an unexpected twist

This seems to have gone under the radar but the number one candidate for the Brexit party in the North East is my old friend Brian Monteith (above).

I’ve known Brian since we were students in Scotland 40 years ago. I was at Aberdeen, he was at Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh, but we had a mutual friend, Peter Young, who introduced us.

Peter and Brian went on to become chairmen of the Federation of Conservative Students.

In London Brian and I both worked for Michael Forsyth (now Lord Forsyth of Drumlean) and after moving back to Scotland in 1992 I later shared an office with Brian in Leith.

Brian was Forest’s spokesman in Scotland and I remember him organising the PR launch of the Forest Guide to Smoking in Scotland. If memory serves it involved an open top bus, which is a brave move at the best of times but even more so in Scotland.

Brian also ran the spirited ‘No’ campaign that fought - against all odds - Labour’s plan for devolution. In 1999, having lost that battle, he became a Conservative MSP representing Mid-Scotland and Fife.

An eventful period in the Scottish Parliament came to an end when he stepped down in 2006 but if there was one thing Brian was known for it was his willingness to take the fight to his opponents, unlike his supine colleagues.

Since then he’s reinvented himself as a columnist for the Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and, more recently, City AM.

He was also actively involved in the EU referendum campaign.

Apart from his euroscepticism, one constant in all the years I’ve known him is his opposition to the nanny state. In 2009 Forest published his book The Bully State and last year we published The McNanny State which he also wrote.

I would much prefer it if the UK had already left the EU but if Brian is elected next month I look forward to our first post-election drink in Brussels which will neatly bookend our recent dinner at his favourite French (!) restaurant in Edinburgh.

Go, Brian!

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Reader Comments (1)

The people now standing for the brexit party are just the sort we need in the UK parliament to inspire a new wave of hope among those disaffected, excluded and marginalised by Government these last 2 decades.

This is the most exciting party to emerge in my lifetime. I really hope they do stand in the GE and don't walk away and leave us with the old stale parties - or the other new one that looks to force the voter to change in line with their views and beliefs rather than changing the political landscape for the benefit of the voter.

Good luck Brian.

Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 14:24 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

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