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Election / Council candidate hits out at SNP after losing membership for going independent

Stewart Douglas.

AN INDEPENDENT candidate for the upcoming council election has accused the SNP of “dirty tactics” after his own membership with the party was rescinded.

Stewart Douglas unsuccessfully stood in a council by-election in 2019 for the SNP, but this time around he is acting as an independent in the Shetland South ward.

That ward also includes SNP candidate Robbie McGregor.

Douglas said he was still a member of the SNP when he confirmed his plans to stand as an independent candidate.

However, he said he was told by the party he either had to withdraw his candidacy or be removed from the SNP.

If he were to remove his nomination to stay as a member of the SNP, the ward – which offers four seats – would be uncontested.

But a spokesperson for the SNP clarified that Douglas’ membership would have been rescinded regardless of who else was standing in the ward.

“It’s very disappointing behaviour from the SNP which is verging on being undemocratic – these dirty tactics would ensure their candidate can take the seat unopposed again, should I agree to step aside,” the construction manager said.

“I will not kowtow to the SNP and consider this to be tantamount to gerrymandering – the people of Shetland South will decide who they want to represent them, not the SNP.”

The Shetland South ward was uncontested in the last election in 2017.

When asked for a response to Douglas, a spokesperson for the SNP confirmed to Shetland News: “As Mr Douglas is aware, his membership of the SNP is invalidated by standing for election as anything other than an SNP candidate.”

Meanwhile independent candidate Ryan Thomson, who will be elected for the North Isles after the ward was uncontested, was a member of the SNP from April last year but ended his membership prior to standing.

Five candidates will contest the Shetland South ward on 5 May. They are: Alex Armitage (Scottish Greens), Stewart Douglas (independent), Allison Duncan (independent) Robbie McGregor (SNP), Bryan Peterson (independent).