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Politics / Polls open for general election

Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

POLLING stations have opened for the general election as Orkney and Shetland votes for who they think should be their next MP.

There are a total of six candidates in the running for the Northern Isles seat, with voting taking place today (Thursday) until 10pm.

They are in alphabetical order: David Barnard (independent), Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrats), Coilla Drake (Labour), Jennifer Fairbairn (Conservatives), Robert Leslie (SNP), Robert Smith (Brexit Party).

Once the polls have closed, Shetland’s votes will be transported by plane to the count in Kirkwall.

Shetland News will be reporting live from the event through the night.

A Loganair plane will be on hand to take Shetland’s ballot boxes to Orkney, with the aircraft due to depart Sumburgh Airport at 1am on Friday (13 December).

Captain Colin McAllister and Shetland returning officer Jan Riise will head south on an eight seat Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft for the 90 mile flight to Kirkwall.

A spokesperson for Loganair said: “Flying at an altitude of 4,000 ft and a speed of around 170 mp/h, the journey will take roughly 45 minutes before Captain McAllister touches down in Kirkwall Airport.

“There, the 30 ballot boxes will be unloaded, transferred into a van before being driven the short distance to Kirkwall Grammar School for the count, where they should arrive by around 02:15.

“Shetland and Orkney is the only constituency in the UK where ballot boxes are flown to be counted, but it is still set to declare its results around 6am.”

The election marks the fourth time this year some people in Shetland will have voted. There was also the European Parliament election in May, the Scottish Parliamentary by-election in August and two Shetland Islands Council by-elections in November.

The last general election took place in 2017 after being called by then-prime minister Theresa May.