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Election 2011: SNP to boycott hustings


SHETLAND SNP candidate Jean Urquhart, from Ullapool, has made a formal complaint to the BBC about its refusal to allow independent candidate Billy Fox to sit on the platform at its hustings debate on Friday.

Ms Urquhart said that she had written to BBC director general Mark Thompson saying she would not participate unless Mr Fox was allowed on the platform.

She said: “I believe this to be a piece of nonsense and hugely unfair to the candidate and the democratic process, but most of all to the folk in Shetland who would like to hear what each of those seeking election has to say.

“Regional stations clearly need to have regional policies devised to suit their own social and geographical location.”

Meanwhile Labour candidate has voiced his disappointment after ‘Vote Labour’ posters were removed from lampposts around Lerwick.

Mr Kerr and his supporters had spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening putting up posters around the town and elsewhere on the Shetland mainland, only to find seven out of nine posters put up on the Esplanade had disappeared by the following morning.

He said the matter would not be reported to the police as there were more important matters to focus on such as the price of fuel, jobs and the economy. But he called on other candidates to condemn the behaviour and for the culprits to return the stolen goods.

“The theft of our posters is unlawful and those responsible have broken the law,” he said.

“These are low tactics from rattled people who do not like being challenged. My team and I are now even more determined that folk in Shetland hear the Labour message and that we will not be silenced when speaking out loud against Lib Dem and Tory coalition cuts to local services.”

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott focussed on agriculture, calling for a return of the successful Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) subsidy scheme in Shetland and scrapping the Rural Development Scheme, which he called “a bureaucratic mess”.

He said a new scheme fast tracking small applications from crofters would help, and would continue the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme direct payments.

He said the LibDems would make it easier for councils and other public sector agencies to purchase local food and attempt to break the monopoly power of supermarkets to win fairer prices for producers.