NARIESE WHYTE is reflecting on a positive first campaign but has slammed Tory austerity for making them “play catch up” compared to other candidates.

The Scottish Greens candidate is running in their first ever election, but has spoken out on having to overcome obstacles made even tougher by Tory cuts.

Previously, support titled the Access to Elected Office fund was made available to disabled candidates.

Now, Mx Whyte has reflected on their first campaign running for election amid these challenges.

“I think it’s been going really good so far,” they said. “This is my first ever election I’ve ran in and running as a disabled candidate, this is the first election we’ve done where there is no access to elected office fund.

“It was intended to support disabled candidates and ensure we are on an even playing field but it was removed by the Tory government.

“I don’t have the support needed to help put me on that even line with other candidates and I have had to source my own support myself.

“This has come in the form of my partner who is now my carer who is here with me tonight so amongst all those hurdles, we’re trying to stay optimistic and thankfully the polls have been reflecting that back at us.

“People are showing that support that ultimately climate policies are what they want to see in action, they want to see a real left alternative, not what the other parties are sadly offering.”

The Access to Elected Office Fund would see disabled candidates provided with support in the forms of carers or support workers who could help them campaign.

This could take the form of whatever the candidate needed to effectively run for office, with Mx Whyte explaining that they would have used it to help them canvas voters during their campaign.

They continued: “It was a grant that was made available to any disabled candidate to make sure they had the support they needed whether that was a paid carer, a sight guide, things like that.

“For me, it would have been someone who could help with my mobility – as I am a wheelchair user, I cannot get into blocks of flats to speak to voters.

“I need people alongside me to help carry items so it’s just been me, my partner and a few amazing, dedicated activists that have been out trying to balance that back out again by being out every single day talking to people.

“I’m really grateful for this but we shouldn’t have to, I’m sadly having to play catch up compared to the larger parties which also have severe amounts of corporate funding behind them.

“Amongst all that, we’re staying positive and thankfully we are still seeing that return back to us.”

During their campaign, Mx Whyte has been pushing the main party points that the Scottish Greens stand for, which include a more sustainable plan for climate change.

Alongside this, Mx Whyte explained that voters have been vocal in looking for an alternative party as opposed to the big two – Labour and Conservative.

In Scotland, the SNP factor into this as well, with voters feeling they are “forced” into a two-party system.

Mx Whyte has been campaigning against the first past the post system, which sees the party with the most votes win the election.

They said: “The message we’re picking up from voters is that they all feel tired from being forced into this two-party system.

“First past the post does not work and it categorically does not work in Scotland especially when we’re having so many options put forward to us – independence and against independence.

“They want to see a party which can offer real difference to climate change, for independence, for workers and that’s currently not being offered by Conservatives or Labour.

“We felt that frustration that people who previously may have felt that the Greens were a wasted vote but are now growing to see that this is a genuine alternative.

“In this two party race, there’s only so much that we can work with but we’re looking forward to Holyrood where we can put forward for proportional representation again as the correct case to make sure we have more equal representation in politics.”