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Election / Former council leader Robinson to stand in May election

FORMER council leader Gary Robinson has announced his intention to stand in the local government election in May.

The current chairman of NHS Shetland has long been tipped as a potential candidate for the new council.

Gary Robinson.

Robinson, who lost his westside seat in the 2017 election mainly due to his perceived stance on school closures, was unsuccessful in a by-election in November 2019 when he narrowly lost against Stephen Flaws in the Lerwick South ward.

Last night, Robinson confirmed he will put his name forward for the Lerwick North and Bressay ward once nominations open next week.

Robinson, who played a prominent role in the Our Islands, our Future campaign in partnership with the leaders of Orkney islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles) between 2012 and 2017, has been vocal on island issues over recent weeks.

Criticising the current council leadership he said he was as frustrated by the lack of progress on the priorities that matter as many of his fellow islanders.

“The incoming council must take positive steps to reduce fuel poverty, increase the rate of house building, do more to maintain and improve existing homes and get serious about climate change and fixed links,” he said.

“The powers contained in the Islands Act have gone largely unused so far, but they should be used to seek control of our transport links to mainland Scotland.”

He added: Careful stewardship of the reserves and competent governance will be essential if the council is to win the trust of local communities, as well as the necessary government support to transform Shetland for the better.”

The May election will bring in major changes at the political top of the council after four senior councillors – convener Malcolm Bell, political leader Steven Coutts, development committee chairman Alastair Cooper and chairman of the education and families committee George Smith – decided not to stand again.

Council elections across Scotland take place on 5 May. Nominations for candidates close on 30 March.