Dylan Morrish has been elected as the new Shetland representative for the Scottish Youth Parliament, writes Patrick Mainland.
The 17 year-old saw off four other competitors in the by-election which was triggered following Charlie Haddon’s decision to step down to focus on his studies.
Returning officer Jan Riise confirmed the result on Friday afternoon at Lerwick Town Hall. Around 900 young people had cast their vote.
Morrish will be thrown into the deep end, heading to Stanraer just hours after his election for the Scotland Youth Parliament’s 66th national sitting, alongside fellow MSYP Sonny Thomason, who was elected last year.
He thanked everyone who voted for him, saying: “It’s been really encouraging to see so many people come out and engage with politics.” He also congratulated his fellow candidates on a “well-fought campaign”.
He added: “I’m absolutely delighted. Over the last few weeks I’ve worked quite hard and I’m very pleased.”
His campaign was fought with four aims in mind which he wanted to focus on as a representative for young people – education, the future of the former Anderson High School site, sport and mental health.
On the subject of attending parliament just hours after his election, he showed no nerves: “It’s a completely new environment but I’m really looking forward to getting away tonight.”
Online voting opened for the by-election on Monday and closed an hour before the results were announced.
Declaring the winner, returning officer Jan Riise said: “The voice of young people has never been more important than in this past year and the next couple of years.”
He added that MSYPs would be working on a local, national and international level within their role.
Youth development worker Martin Summers said: “I’m very proud of how all the candidates did and how they engaged with the electorate.
“What’s been really good this year is the wide variety – there’s been some shared agenda items like mental health and improvement in services for young people, but equally there’s been some unique issues that each individual candidate has been campaigning on.”
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