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Election / Smith and Summers elected as isles’ new MSYPs

Joe Smith (left) and Bertie Summers (right) after being elected. Photo: Dave Donaldson

SHETLAND has two new members of the Scottish Youth Parliament – Joe Smith and Bertie Summers.

Results of the election were announced at a ceremony at Islesburgh in Lerwick this afternoon (Monday).

More than 800 young people in Shetland voted in the election.

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, known as MSYPs, are aged between 14 and 25, and elected every two years with two MSYPs each for every Scottish Parliament constituency.

Three candidates were in the running this time around – Brandon Kennedy, Joe Smith and Bertie Summers – with the latter two being elected.

Both Smith, 15, and Summers, 17, said they were pleased to be elected and wanted to thank those who voted for them.

When asked what issues they were looking to push over the next couple of years, Summers mentioned the rising cost of living.

“I think that young people are being impacted the most of all by this crisis,” he said, adding there was also a “rural/urban disparity” due to the fact that unlike buses under 22s do not get free trips on inter-island ferries.

Smith added: “Travel is a big problem – even getting off Shetland itself is very expensive for young folk, [such as] in sport and competing down the road.”

Summers also said he stood for election because he “strongly believes that young people deserve a much larger and stronger voice”.

Smith added that he enjoys “speaking to folk and seeing how we can help them”.

The newly elected MSYPs will then undertake training to help them carry out their role and to decide on future campaigns.

They are replacing Michaela Christie and John Fraser, who were elected unopposed in November 2021.

This year’s elections were delayed due to a national issue with the voting website.

The Shetland results were announced by local returning officer Jan Riise, who said presiding over the youth elections was one of his greatest privileges.

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Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) youth and employability team leader Martin Summers added that the MSYP role was “really important for the whole community” and said it enabled young people’s voices to be heard by decision-makers.

The local MYSPs are also part of the SIC’s education and families committee.

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