This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

He introduced himself as an 'anti-politician politician' at a recent hustings event held in Fort William.

A published author, prolific businessman and Highland councillor, the General Election will be Angus MacDonald's first foray into Scottish politics.

Better known for gifting his hometown a cinema and bookshop, the Liberal Democrat candidate has led an enthusiastic and visible campaign - his election posters appeared to be the only ones displayed in the village of Spean Bridge, where his family is from.

This could stand him in good stead, according to polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice.

(Image: Martini Archive)

 "The Highlands, even at a Westminster election are still voting for the person rather than the party," he said.

"It is the last part of the world where that bit of Victorian politics still survives."

It is expected that the SNP's Drew Hendry will take the new Inverness, Skye and West Ross-Shire seat, in what is predicted to be a two-horse race, but Mr MacDonald could make a significant dent in the party's majority.

(Image: PA)

Despite describing himself as a "real outlier" the businessman remains confident.

The Liberal Democrats still enjoy a high level of support in the far north Highlands and have a score to settle in this particular area.

In 2015 the SNP's Ian Blackford defeated Charles Kennedy to take the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat as the party claimed nearly every seat in the country. However, the campaign attracted national attention because of its acrimony.

(Image: Martini Archive)

Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell labelled it  "far and away the most despicable I encountered in all my years in UK politics.

Blackford objected to being called a "well-funded banker" and is said to have confronted incumbent MP Charles Kennedy in his office.

Liberal Democrats accused Blackford of dog whistling about Kennedy's struggles with alcoholism.

Mr Kennedy died at the age of 55 just weeks after losing his seat.

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Ian Blackford quit as Westminster leader and announced last year he would not stand again after nine years representing the area.

(Image: PA)

The constituency he held has now been broken up as part of boundary changes so Mr MacDonald is hoping to stop the SNP claiming the new seat.

Mr MacDonald has been joined by Charles Kennedy's son Donald on the campaign trail.

Speaking at the Lochaber hustings event he said: "I would not be standing here if I wasn't absolutely appalled by the state of Scotland today."

He went on to share two quotes which he claimed illustrated that some within the SNP share his belief that the party is not serving the Highlands well.

Veteran MSP and former rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said after the departure of Alex Salmond that the "impetus and desire to do right by the Highlands seemed to go with him".

Earlier this year former Caithness councillor Karl Rosie resigned from the SNP saying he was "deeply troubled" by the party's policies which "often seem disproportionately focused on the central belt".

The party could take a hit in the Highlands for a series of high-profile policy "failures".

A landmark project to dual a stretch of the A9 between Perth and Inverness has repeatedly been delayed and it is not expected to be completed until at least 2035.

The SNP faced uproar after new regulations came into force that broadly banned wood-burning stoves from being installed in newly built homes.

Mr MacDonald branded further delays to the rebuild of Fort William's crumbling Belford hospital as a "complete disgrace".

"Depopulation is a massive issue in the west and schools in Gairloch, Invergarry, Mallaig, Lochaline are seeing a collapse in pupil numbers," he added.

"Services are being centralised and with that jobs in the public sector."

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However, he was challenged during the election hustings over a £25,000 donation to the Conservative party in the dying days of Theresa May’s leadership in 2019 and for accepting campaign funding from pro-Brexiteer millionaire businessman Jeremy Hosking.

In response he said: "He offered me the money and he bought a house in Arisaig and he thought I gave the best chance of representing the West Highlands.

"I spoke to my hierarchy and asked if if we should accept the money and they said if he lives locally and is registered to vote here and he does it legally and he supports what you are fighting for then the answer is, you should.”

He added: "I gave more money to Labour-run organisations than I did to the Scottish Conservatives. I didn't give a penny to Boris."

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The SNP launched its Highland election manifesto on Monday, pledging to tackle the "unique challenges" communities face including higher living and energy costs. 

The party said it would continue to advocate for the introduction of a Highland Energy Rebate and fight to end price discrimination against residents in off-grid homes.

Mr MacDonald has said he will work "consensually and positively with Labour Party ministers" if the party wins the General Election and fight against policies that negatively impact rural areas.

"What matters most to me is the people and economy of the Highlands," he said.

The full list of candidates also includes: Dillan Hill (Reform UK), Peter Newman (Scottish Green Party), Darren Paxton (Socialist Equality Party), Michael Perera (Labour), Ruraidh Stewart (Conservative and Unionist Party).