Election / SNP by-election bill nears £100,000

Independent candidate Thomson spent less than £83 – but won 1,286 votes

Househiolds were inundated with election leaflets during the by-election campaign. Photo: Shetland News

THE SNP spent nearly £100,000 on the Shetland by-election this summer in its bid to end decades of Liberal Democrat dominance in the isles.

Data on election spending shows that the party spent nearly £99,000 on its campaign to have Tom Wills elected as Shetland’s new MSP.

By-elections have a spending limit of £100,000.


A long list of SNP government ministers visited Shetland during the campaign but their trips were funded by the party and not the government.

An SNP spokesperson said it was “no secret that we put all our effort into the election and we gave the Lib Dems a real run for their money in Scotland’s safest seat”.

They added that the party will be heading into the upcoming Shetland Central council by-election, which will see Stewart Douglas stand for the SNP, with the “same gusto as we did in the summer”.

While the SNP came second in the vote, the winners – the Liberal Democrats, who put forward Beatrice Wishart – spent around £64,534.


The Lib Dems secured 5,659 votes – or 47.86 per cent – while the SNP gained 3,822 (32.32 per cent).

The Scottish Conservatives shelled over £18,000 to gain 425 votes, while Labour – which secured 152 votes – spent just over £4,000.

UKIP’s spend totalled around £1,985, while the Greens’ bill came to £1,442.

Independent candidate Ryan Thomson, who finished third with 1,286 votes, spent just over £82.

Fellow independent Peter Tait shelled out £1,615 on his campaign, which only received 31 votes, while Michael Stout spent around £462.

The lowest spend was independent candidate Ian Scott, whose outlay was £74.13. He spent just over £1 for each vote he received.

Over £217,000 was spent in total in the run-up to the 29 August by-election, which was called after Tavish Scott resigned for the seat he has held for 20 years.

A total of ten candidates stood in the election.