THE LEADER of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, has been re-selected to contest the isles’ seat in next year’s Scottish parliamentary election.
Mr Scott was the only candidate at a “well-attended” meeting of the local Lib-Dems, on Friday.
The 44 year old was first elected to Holyrood parliament in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003 and 2007.
In 2008, he was elected leader of the Scottish Lib-Dems after Nicol Stephen stood down from the post.
Speaking after his selection, Mr Scott said it was a “tremendous honour” to represent the people of Shetland on the national stage.
“Next year’s election, in the aftermath of the new UK Government being formed at Westminster certainly provides a different background to any that I’ve fought either locally or nationally before.
“But the new UK Government has the opportunity to tackle issues that for too long the Labour government ignored. Reducing island petrol prices, taking people out of tax to help the lowest incomes or ending ID cards will all be positive steps forward.
“In Scotland I want a government that puts the country first, not a political party. We’ve had too much of that from Alex Salmond and it needs to change.
“These are tough economic times and governments across the UK have to put jobs and the economy before policies that are nice to do when there are unlimited funds. We face challenging financial times and I am determined that essential services such as schools, hospitals and transport links are assisted.”
Chairman of the Shetland Liberal Democrats Theo Smith praised Mr Scott: “His energy, commitment and determination to fight Shetland’s corner in Holyrood has never been in doubt and he will campaign on that basis in next year’s election.”
Local MP Alistair Carmichael, the new chief whip to the Liberal Democrats and deputy chief whip to the coalition government, said Shetland now had a direct route into the new UK government.
He added that after the Holyrood elections in 2011 there was a chance that Lib-Dems would also play in role in a new Scottish government.
“Tavish has the opportunity to create a new Scottish Government nest year which recognises all of the country, not just the SNP’s constituencies.
“That would be a necessary and welcome change on these past years. But above all Tavish and I will put the interests of the islands at the forefront of Government decision-making in the period to come,” he said.