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Community / Bell has ‘no issue’ with women playing ‘equal part in all aspects’ of Up Helly Aa

SHETLAND Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell says he personally has “no issue with women having the opportunity, along with men, of playing an equal part in all aspects” of the Lerwick Up Helly Aa.

Malcolm Bell. Photo: Shetland News

Speaking in a personal capacity and not representing the council, Bell said as a point of principle no-one should prohibited from doing something based on their gender.

In an Instagram post published by the account Scottish Selfdom, the Lerwick councillor said: “If you ask me should anyone be stopped from doing something they want to do based purely on their gender then, clearly, the answer is no.

“So it follows, as a point of principle, that I personally, have no issue with women having the opportunity, along with men, of playing an equal part in all aspects of Up-Helly-Aa.”

Bell previously said that the Lerwick Up Helly Aa is a “community festival, run by the community for the community, and it is for the community for change it if they want to”.

The gender equality debate surrounding the town Up Helly Aa reared its head again at this year’s festival after an alternative bill was placed at the Market Cross before being removed.

Bell’s full response to Napier University student Chloe Irvine can be read here.