News / Tory/UKIP candidacies

Jamie Halcro Johnston.

TWO MORE names have joined the race to become the Northern Isles’ new MP – with the local Conservatives selecting Jamie Halcro Johnston and UKIP’s Robert Smith also confirming he will be standing.

Halcro Johnston, who is self-employed and works between Edinburgh and his family’s farm in Orkney, has been the Tories’ candidate for the Orkney seat at the last two Scottish Parliament elections.

Alistair Carmichael has already been reconfirmed as Liberal Democrat candidate, while the SNP and Labour are expected to announce their candidates shortly.

Announcing his candidacy the morning after his party faced opprobrium from every other Holyrood party over its support for the UK Government’s “abhorrent” rape clause, Halcro Johnston said he was “delighted that the local associations in Orkney and in Shetland have put their trust in me”.

The Tories came a distant third to the Liberal Democrats and the SNP with less than nine per cent of the vote in the Northern Isles two years ago – but, on the back of one weekend poll showing a rise in support across Scotland, Halcro Johnston suggested his party was in with a shout.


He said: “Both the Liberal Democrats and the SNP will predictably try to portray this contest as a two-hors race but, with polling showing one in three people in Scotland are now backing the Scottish Conservatives, this just isn’t the case.

“Whether it’s Ruth Davison’s robust opposition to the SNP at Holyrood, or Prime Minister Theresa May’s strong stance against Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for a second referendum on independence, it’s the Conservatives who are standing up to the SNP and their divisive plans to break up the United Kingdom.

“At this election, voters in Orkney and Shetland will have a simple choice to make: elect a Conservative MP whose party has respected the democratic decision of the EU referendum and which is now focused on negotiating the best possible deal for the whole of the UK.

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“Or vote for a Liberal Democrat candidate whose party is committed to holding yet another referendum, or an SNP candidate whose party wants to break up the UK and take an independent Scotland straight back into the EU – regardless of how bad a deal they’re offered.”

Shetland Conservative Association chairman Maurice Mullay said it was “gratifying to have as the Conservative candidate a born and bred islander with an outstanding understanding of island industries and issues and an exceptional  understanding of local and national politics”.

He added Halcro Johnston’s “business background, ability, confidence and enthusiasm for the tasks ahead are a tremendous asset”.

Meanwhile Smith, who also stood for UKIP in Orkney and Shetland in both 2010 and 2015, confirmed he would be standing.


“I think it’s important to express the positives of Brexit and allow UKIP supporters to have a chance to vote for their party,” he said.

Smith said that, along with Brexit and the economy, the campaign would focus on “the usual local issues” including ferries, the Viking “scam” and the NHS.

He added that he didn’t know “if I’ll make it to Shetland” between now and 8 June.

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