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Election / Robert Thomson elected new councillor for North Isles

Five candidates are in the running for the vacant seat

WELCOME to Shetland News’ live coverage of the North Isles council by-election count at the Clickimin in Lerwick.

Votes were cast yesterday (Thursday) and the count today should be fairly quick – it is kicking off at 11am with the result expected shortly after.

The by-election took place because only two candidates came forward for the ward’s three seats in May’s local government election.

Five independent candidates are in the running: Gary Cleaver, Stewart Douglas, Sonia Robertson, Robert Thomson and Marie Williamson.

5 August 2022 11:54

That wraps up our live coverage – with a fuller piece with Thomson to follow later.

5 August 2022 11:50

Newly elected councillor for the North Isles ward Robert Thomson. Photo: SIC

Speaking after his election victory, Robert Thomson said he supported the idea of fixed links for the North Isles.

He also said he felt he had a strong mandate from the North Isles electorate – with the former development worker a clear winner.

Thomson took in 680 first preference votes in total – with second placed Sonia Robertson securing 106.

5 August 2022 11:47

In second place was Sonia Robertson with 106 first preference votes.

Coming in third was Gary Cleaver (100), with Marie Williamson (92) following in fourth.

Picking up the least votes was Stewart Douglas (13), who was the only candidate not present at the count.

5 August 2022 11:36

We have a winner – Robert Thomson has been elected for the North Isles.

The former development worker, from Yell, received more than 600 first preference votes.

5 August 2022 11:16

The turnout was 46.2 per cent – with 997 verified votes in an electorate of just over 2,100.

5 August 2022 11:07

The first ballot box being opened. Photo: Shetland News

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The counting is now underway.

Today’s result will bring the council up to its full complement of 23 elected members.

Already representing the North Isles are Duncan Anderson and Ryan Thomson, who were both incumbents having been first elected in 2017.

5 August 2022 10:51

Each of the five candidates provided Shetland News with information on their main issues during the election campaign.

The inter-island ferry service, which has suffered disruption resulting from staff shortages in recent months, was a key topic in the campaign.

Some other topics on the mind of candidates included housing, connectivity and the cost of living.

One candidate has previously been a councillor – Gary Cleaver, who represented the North Isles between 2012 and 2017.

Meanwhile both Stewart Douglas and Marie Williamson tried their luck in May’s elections in different wards but missed out.

Read more about the candidates here. 

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