THE SNP has announced it will be fielding two candidates – Robbie McGregor in Shetland South and Zara Pennington in Shetland West – at the forthcoming council elections.
The party, which has been in government at Holyrood for 15 years, confirmed ahead of the close of nominations on Wednesday afternoon that it would be seeking to win two of the 23 seats available.
While party politics is a comparatively rare feature of SIC elections compared to most other local authorities, it does take the number of candidates standing on a party ticket to six so far, with three Scottish Greens and one Labour candidate already having put themselves forward.
McGregor, who lives with his wife Mary in Quarff, has served in the Shetland South ward since being elected in 2017 when the ward was uncontested.
That will not be the case this time around as he is the fifth candidate to come forward for what will now be a four-seat constituency. Also in the running are the Greens’ Alex Armitage, Stewart Douglas, Allison Duncan and Bryan Peterson.
“It has been a huge privilege to serve the people of Shetland South as a councillor for the last five years,” McGregor said.
“Amongst my priorities for the next council, should I be fortunate to be re-elected, will be housing which affects recruitment for posts currently covered by agency and locum staff, road safety and the Fair Isle ferry replacement.”
Pennington, meanwhile, is from Westerskeld and will be standing for one of two seats on the West Side. Also running are Debra Nicolson of the Greens and Ian Tinkler.
“I’m honoured to be standing for election as a candidate in our beautiful community,” she said. “Working in administration in social care, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges of providing rural services.
“The lack of available housing for people across our ward is a serious issue that needs to be made a priority.
“I would also like to see better facilities locally, starting with the return of a Skeld shop.”
The SNP’s Highlands and Islands list MSP Emma Roddick said she was “delighted that the SNP is fielding two fantastic candidates”, adding it was “really important that our local representatives are transparent and accountable – with us, you know what we stand for and what our priorities for the isles are, from tackling housing issues to improving transport services.”
Roddick added: “Robbie has been a hard-working, principled representative for Shetland South since 2017, and I have no doubt that Zara will also be an impressive councillor who brings new ideas and perspectives.”
The party’s Shetland convener Angela Sutherland said McGregor had been a “highly effective” councillor “notably on HIAL, fair ferry funding and the Levenwick road improvements”.
She described him as a “naturally gregarious person who gets along well with everyone and has worked constructively with colleagues of all political persuasions”.
“Zara has worked tirelessly for various causes over the years including WASPI. She is a clever, dedicated and honest person who will absolutely put [the] West Side first,” Sutherland continued.
“I’m personally really pleased to see that candidates from other political parties are also standing in this year’s council elections and commend them for having the courage to be up front about their political convictions.”
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