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Election / Row over Tavish’s legacy

Former Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has been selected to help judge global island awards. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

SNP candidate Tom Wills has denied his party has been “trashing” the reputation of former Shetland MSP Tavish Scott in the by-election campaign.

Wills said that “we need to get past this kind of mud-slinging that will only hold Shetland back” after Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie accused the SNP of “rewriting history” when it came to Scott’s 20-year tenure as the isles’ MSP.

Rennie said on Tuesday while on his latest visit to Shetland that Lib Dem Scott “won concessions for Shetland in Parliament at every opportunity”.

“In contrast, SNP regional MSPs stood idle, doing what they were told by their bosses in Edinburgh,” he added.

“Over twenty years Tavish Scott was an excellent MSP for Shetland and SNP ministers should stop trashing his reputation and what he achieved. It is astonishing to see the SNP rewriting history.

“Tavish Scott delivered so much for Shetland by sheer hard work and putting the merits of the case to ministers of all political colours.”

Wills, however, took to his campaign page on Facebook to deny Rennie’s claims and state that he has the “utmost respect” for Scott.

“I’ve run a positive and upbeat campaign from the start – we need to get past this kind of mud-slinging that will only hold Shetland back,” he said.

“I have the upmost respect for Tavish Scott as a fellow Bressay man, who served Shetland tirelessly for 20 years. I have not, and will not, ‘trash’ his time in office.

“I accept the fact the Lib Dems secured a number of wins for Shetland during their time in administration at Holyrood – just as they must honest with voters that the SNP has achieved a lot for these islands in government.”

Both Rennie and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon are in Shetland today (Wednesday) ahead of the by-election on 29 August.

More political visits are in line for the coming days, with the SNP’s Derek Mackay, Michael Matheson and Mhairi Black all scheduled to make the trip north in the coming days.

The Scottish Greens’ co-convener Patrick Harvie will also be in Shetland on Friday.

There are ten candidates contesting the Shetland by-election on 29 August.

They are in alphabetical order: Johan Adamson (Scottish Labour), Brydon Goodlad (Scottish Conservatives), Stuart Martin (UKIP), Debra Nicolson (Scottish Greens), Ian Scott (independent), Michael Stout (independent), Peter Tait (independent), Ryan Thomson (independent), Tom Wills (SNP) and Beatrice Wishart (Scottish Liberal Democrats).

Read more about all ten candidates at our special Shetland by-election page at: https://www.shetnews.co.uk/category/features/election-2019/