THE LIBERAL Democrats have announced their candidate to take on the party’s number one target seat at next year’s Holyrood election.

Molly Nolan has been selected by the party to contest the Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross constituency, currently held by the SNP’s Gail Ross.

Ms Ross, who has announced her intention to stand down at next year’s Holyrood election, defeated the Lib Dems’ Jamie Stone in 2016, who now represents the party at Westminster. and has endorsed his colleague.

Ms Nolan who is a Harvard graduate, has stressed she wants to ensure “no-one if left behind” as Scotland recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.

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She added: ““With the coronavirus crisis leaving so many Highland residents facing financial hardship, it is more important than ever to address the inequalities in our communities.

“I know that challenges in the Highlands have never been more acute, from the fragility of our tourism industry to increased cuts in local services. These issues are not being addressed by the SNP Government, which for the past 13 years has prioritised the centralisation of powers in Edinburgh over dealing with everyday concerns.

“I am determined to listen to as many people as possible and stand up for what matters. Liberal Democrats will protect jobs and services, safeguard our natural environment and ensure every young person across the Highlands has the opportunity to get on in life.”

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The party's Scottish leader, Willie Rennie, said: "Molly has got a great chance of winning back Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.

"With our party’s deep roots in the Highlands and Molly’s fresh enthusiasm and energy, we are offering people the opportunity to do things better. "

“With the contest neck and neck between the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, only a vote for Molly can stop the SNP here and reject another divisive independence referendum. Caithness, Sutherland and Ross is our number one target seat and we are determined to win it back.”