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Politics / Councillors have no plans to stand again in Scottish Parliament election

Councillors Ryan Thomson (left) and Ian Scott (right).

TWO Shetland councillors who stood in the Scottish Parliament by-election in 2019 say they have no intention of putting themselves forward for the upcoming vote in May.

Independent candidate Ryan Thomson gained nearly 11 per cent of the vote in the August 2019, or 1,286 votes, coming third behind Liberal Democrat winner Beatrice Wishart and the SNP’s Tom Wills.

He said he wants to focus on his council duties instead of running again for MSP in the 6 May election.

The North Isles member said his experience in the by-election was “nothing but positive”.

“Because of personal circumstances at the time I couldn’t do as much canvassing as I would have liked, but it got me speaking to a lot of people who I wouldn’t ordinarily have met, and listened to a broad range of opinions, which I think is very important,” he said.

“I would be open to going again in the future, however for now I am concentrating fully on the final 15 months of the council, and it will be a vitally important 15 months for local government going forward.”

Ian Scott also stood as an independent candidate on an anti-austerity ticket and gained a more modest 66 votes, finishing eight out of tenth.

He said he enjoyed his experience in the by-election, despite having “no thoughts whatsoever about winning or even getting my deposit back”.

“I spoke to the Anderson High School and Brae High School people and my view was even if there’s one or two folk who come away from it thinking differently from the drivel they get from the Liberals and the Tories, then that’s something.”

Current MSP Wishart will be running for the Liberal Democrats in May’s election, while Wills is standing again for the SNP.

Scott said he believed May’s election will be a “two horse race no matter what between Beatrice and Tom”.

“I think what the Scottish nationals has done by giving us increased ferry funding, they’ve given themselves a bit of a chance,” he said.

“Had they not given the ferry funding, they would have had no chance.”

Without Thomson in the running this time around, Scott felt that this would result in “another 1,000 odd votes going to Beatrice”.