CONSERVATIVE candidate Paul Masterton is well aware he has a target on his back as the General Election approaches.

In 2017, he won the East Renfrewshire seat in what was seen by some as something of a surprise result.

Mr Masterton secured a healthy 4,712-vote majority over nearest rival Kirsten Oswald, of the SNP, on that occasion.

READ MORESNP predicted to oust Tories in East Renfrewshire

Two years later, experts are predicting he will find it a challenge to retain his place at Westminster, let alone deliver such a convincing victory.

However, Mr Masterton insists he remains ‘the right man for the job’ – and reckons there are 6,000 good reasons why voters can be sure he knows what is needed to help steer East Renfrewshire through what are difficult times, both politically and economically.

That’s how many constituency issues he has dealt with during his two years in office, many of which have involved concerns over the future of Barrhead town centre.

Mr Masterton, 34, told the Barrhead News: “One of the big things that people contact me about is Barrhead’s Main Street and the other shopping streets in the area where they see units closing.

“They have seen post offices go and they have seen banks go.

“I think we need to have a big push over the next couple of years to look at the ways we can support small and independent businesses and our high streets.

“It is tough with Silverburn being not so far away but I do think there are some things we can do there.

“A lot of the other issues I deal with in Barrhead tend to flow from people struggling with the cost of living – whether that is rent going up, utilities bills or the cost of public transport.

“A big focus will be looking at how we get pay up and how we bring living costs down so we can give people more money in their back pocket.”

Mr Masterton, who lives in the Ralston area of Paisley, believes good times lie ahead for the Barrhead area.


He is excited about the benefits East Renfrewshire will gain from the Glasgow City Region Deal – a £44million programme of works which will include a new train station in Barrhead

The Tory hopeful has also pledged to ensure Barrhead maintains its own identity.

“It’s a fantastic area and has a lot going for it,” said Mr Masterton.

“There’s huge potential with a lot of the City Deal projects that are going to come in, such as the new station in Barrhead, but one of the things I hear a lot is that there are a huge amount of houses being built in Barrhead and beyond and a lot of people feel the level of investment in the local infrastructure doesn’t match that – whether that’s the roads being full of potholes, schools in East Renfrewshire being full or being packed in like sardines if you try to get the train at rush hour.

“It’s not enough for the council to say we need to build a lot more houses and here’s some land to use. People say that, if you are going to build a lot more houses on their doorstep, they expect their local services to be up to scratch.

“We need to make sure Barrhead continues to feel like it’s own wee place and continues to have its own identity.

“People worry we will just get sucked into Greater Glasgow but that definitely can’t be allowed to happen.”