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Politics / SIC ready for European election

SHETLAND Islands Council is ready for the upcoming European Parliament election and has polling venues booked despite the UK facing leaving the European Union.

The UK Government has been keen to secure the country’s exit from the EU before the scheduled European election in May, but Westminster has failed to secure consensus, with the Brexit deadline being pushed back from today (12 April) to October.

The European Parliament is the legislative body of the EU, and Scotland is served by six MEPs from a range of parties.

The next election is due to take place on 23 May and a spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said polling stations have been booked – despite a chance that it could be cancelled if Brexit is secured before then.

“Our own returning officer Jan Riise, along with all other teams right across Scotland have been aware of the potential for these polls, and appropriate preparations have been made,” they said.

“A ‘Day of Poll Order’ was approved by the UK Government and is now in force, and an official notice of election will be published on Monday 15 April.

“We’re familiar with running such events, and also delivering them at relatively short notice. We’re ready for all eventualities; for example, all of our polling stations have been booked and the relevant staff alerted.”

A total of 5,175 votes were cast in Shetland in the last European election in 2014 – a turnout of less than 30 per cent.

The election, which sees people vote for parties, saw the Liberal Democrats secure 1,755 of the local votes.