ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has been unanimously selected to stand again for the Liberal Democrats at the next general election, which cannot be later than January 2025 and is likely to be called for by the end of 2024.
The trained solicitor has been the MP for Orkney and Shetland since 2001 when Jim Wallace stood down from the post he had held for 18 years.
The 57-year-old, originally from Islay, lives in Orkney with his wife Kate, a local veterinary surgeon. The couple have two sons, now at university.
He said he was delighted to have been reselected.
“We never take the support of local people in the isles for granted and we shall again contest the next election with an energetic campaign based on the issues that matter to people here,” Carmichael said.
Asked if after all those years he still has the appetite to do the job, the MP said: “I still love doing it. It is a massive privilege to get to do it and with the experience that I now have I feel better equipped to do it than ever.
“I expect that, for some time to come, dealing with the cost-of-living crisis will be the main focus of my work as a Member of Parliament. The Northern Isles have particular issues in dealing with that and this should be the number one priority for all local representatives.
“Recent wins like the Islands Growth Deal, Fair Isle ferry funding and the global success that is the European Marine Energy Centre show what we can deliver when we have representation that is both nationally connected and locally focused. That is how we keep the isles on the political agenda.”
He said that beyond helping bring the Fair Isle ferry bid to the starting blocks he has worked to support the council in pursuing the bid, lobbying ministers and pressing for feedback.
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“Locally and nationally there are massive challenges and opportunities for us to take on,” he said.
“Looking ahead I would love to continue the work we have started on getting fixed links built. Last week I met the tunnel action groups in Unst and Yell which are now doing great work to build the case in the community for fixed links.”
Analysis of parliamentary statistics by a national newspaper last year identified Carmichael as “Scotland’s hardest working MP” based on his participation in votes and the number of speeches and other contributions made in parliament.
The news of his re-selection coincided with Scottish party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton visiting Orkney and Shetland at the weekend.
Cole-Hamilton said: “What Alistair doesn’t know about the needs and interests of his constituents simply isn’t worth knowing.
“He has worked his heart out for Orkney and Shetland over 20 years and still has plenty of gas in the tank to make sure the isles get a fair deal from the UK government.”
Shetland’s Lib Dems MSP Beatrice Wishart added: “Having worked with Alistair for many years, I know how much effort he makes on behalf of his constituents especially when pushing through the mind-numbing bureaucracy that constituents often come up against.
“Alistair has vast experience in Westminster, speaking up and fighting for Orkney and Shetland on important matters like fishing and agriculture. I look forward to continuing to work with him in the run-up to the General Election and hope that once again the people of Orkney and Shetland will put their faith in him to continue to represent their interests.”
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