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Election / Morton announced as Labour candidate for council election

Tom Morton.
Tom Morton.

TOM Morton has confirmed he is standing in the upcoming council elections for Scottish Labour.

The writer and broadcaster, who lives in Hillswick, will stand in the Shetland North ward.

“Having now fully recovered from serious illness, I’m keen to represent Shetland North as a Scottish Labour candidate as I believe the party’s values best represent a viable and valuable future for Shetland and its people,” Morton said on Monday.

“Compassion, social justice and fairness are traditional Shetland qualities, and these are the core ideals of the Scottish Labour Party. If elected I intend to commit myself to working for the good of Shetland and specifically the community here in the North.”

Morton has lived in Northmavine for over 30 years with wife Susan Bowie, raising three children in the area.

He has also worked with Northmavine Community Development Company, the Unst Partnership, as a non-executive board member at NHS Shetland, a trustee of Shetland Charitable Trust, a funeral celebrant and a community councillor.

Morton said he will “fight to secure and expand the employment available in our major industries”.

“While Sullom Voe’s long-term future must lie, for the sake of our planet, in renewables, the immediate need for the UK to secure oil and gas supplies free from Russian interference means Shetland has a major and continuing role to play in the extraction, processing and transfer of oil and gas from the North Sea and Atlantic,” he said.

“We are all facing huge increases in the cost of living, particularly food, transport and home energy,  especially heating and cooking. The council must act to support those most vulnerable and to help everyone cope with difficult times ahead.

“It can and should invest in better insulation, transport solutions and energy advice. Financial deficit or not, the SIC’s first duty is to the welfare of those who make their lives in Shetland. Ensuring that the council’s housing stock is insulated and has access to renewable energy is of paramount importance

Morton said a proposed new Brae High School – “an energy-efficient one” – is “crucial to the future of our children and I will campaign to ensure that this is built as quickly and in as high a quality as possible”.

Morton added that social and health care, “increasingly integrated, must be funded properly and the service to every part of Shetland secured, both at home and in care centres”.

He also advocates the development of small-scale local businesses and community projects.

Morton believes it is also “absolutely essential” that Shetland Islands Council’s activities and decisions are made transparent, open and accountable to the people of Shetland, “and as a councillor I would do my best to ensure this happens”.

The elections are taking place on 5 May and current councillor Andrea Manson previously signalled her desire to stand the three-seat Shetland North ward.

Senior ward councillor Alastair Cooper is standing down.

Scottish Labour is the second political party to announce a candidate in the local election. The Scottish Greens are putting forward one each in the west, central and south wards.