Published: 14/04/2017 12:30 - Updated: 14/04/2017 12:49

Who's the political top dog?



FORGET IndyRef2 and Brexit – this is a vote about something far more interesting – which politician has the cutest dog?

In the running to be named winner of the first-ever Holyrood Dog of the Year competition are Scottish Nationalist MSP Richard Lochhead’s four-legged friend Cinder and Tory MSP Douglas Ross’ canine chum Murphy.

Cinder is a bit of everything – Patterdale/Border/Lakeland/Jack Russell – and has been a treasured part of the Lochhead family for more than two years.

Cinder is ideologically opposed to vacuum cleaners
Cinder is ideologically opposed to vacuum cleaners

She is also no stranger to the spotlight, having already scooped first prize at Aberlour Highland Games for Best Family Dog.

Commenting on Cinder’s bid to become top dog, her proud owner said: "She’s very energetic to say the least. She has bullet-like speed and an endless supply of stamina.

"Anyone who has seen her swimming in the Moray Firth knows she has the ability of an Olympian."

Cinder’s manifesto includes a pledge to ban hoovers from Bute House.

However, Mr Ross reckons Murphy the Dalmatian should knock the spots off all the opposition.

Cinder with MSP Richard Lochhead
Cinder with MSP Richard Lochhead

The Highlands and Islands list MSP said: "As well as being a much loved pet, Murphy is a loyal and friendly companion and has been through a lot in his short life."

The five-year-old was diagnosed in January 2015 with a terminal disease called Granulomatous Meningo Encephalitis, which inflames the central nervous system.

 With a poor prognosis, he has already had MRI scans and chemotherapy-type treatments.

However, a small dose of steroids and regular check-ups at the vets keep him active and enjoying life.

Murphy on the political trail with MSP Douglas Ross
Murphy on the political trail with MSP Douglas Ross

Mr Ross said: "Two years on and Murphy is still going strong and living every doggy moment to the full, although we have to limit his biscuit intake as he plays on the sympathy vote."

MSPs will take their dogs along with them to the Scottish Parliament on Monday, May 8.

The competition will include a Winner of the Pawblic Vote’ category, with the result being announced on the day, alongside the overall judges’ choice for the title of Holyrood Dog of the Year.

Voting is open until that day. Go to the Kennel Club website and type in Holyrood.

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