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Election 2019 / Lib Dems hold Shetland seat by reduced majority

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart giving her acceptance speech after being elected with 48 per cent of the vote. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

SCOTTISH Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart is the MSP for Shetland winning a hard fought campaign from nearest rival, the SNP’s Tom Wills, by 1,837 votes.

Wishart said she was delighted that the Shetland public had given her the mandate to continue the work of her predecessor Tavish Scott, and also to be the first female parliamentarian from the islands.

“Shetland has once again rejected Scottish nationalism and shows that it is not taken in by the bullying tactics in order to get what is fair for this community,” she said

“I shall be going down to Holyrood at the beginning of the week and shall be putting the issues to the Scottish government that have been raised at doorstep.

“My work will start on Monday to get Scottish Government to take action on its empty promises such as fair ferry funding, to improve nursery provision, mental health care and broadband which were key strands of my positive campaign.”

She promised that her approach towards working with the SNP minority government would differ from that of his predecessor, but didn’t give any further details other than calling it the ‘Beatrice approach’.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael added: “We heard some fairly unpleasant threats from Keith Brown, the deputy leader of the SNP, saying if you don’t vote for us then you get nothing.

“Now they back peddled from that somewhat, and because the back peddled from that, these things are available for the SNP to promise, then they should be available now that Beatrice has won.”

Runner up Wills said that despite the disappointment of not winning the SNP vote was heading in the right direction. If selected, he will stand again for the SNP.

Wills added: “It was my first time standing for anything for the SNP but it was our best result here so I am not going to beat myself up too much.

“I was not counting my chickens – there were so many unknowns with 10 candidates – there was a big range of candidates.”

Wills rejected the notion that the SNP had pushed too hard, saying that the level of activity had been “normal” for a by-election, incidentally the first in Shetland for 98 years.