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Politics / Local student picked as Tory election candidate

A UNIVERSITY student who grew up in Shetland has been selected as the Scottish Conservatives’ candidate for the Northern Isles in the upcoming general election.

Shane Painter, who is finishing a degree at the University of Aberdeen, was brought up in Shetland, attending Fetlar Primary School and then the Anderson High School in Lerwick.

Conservative candidate Shane Painter

He currently lives on the island with his family and is said to be a “strong advocate for issues affecting the island communities”.

Following his selection, Painter said: “I grew up in the Northern Isles and I want my campaign to focus on the issues that really matter to those of us who live in the islands.

“As an islander, I know just how crucial the ferry services are. They are the lifeline that connects our communities, and fighting to improve these vital services will be one of my top priorities.

“We have an ageing ferry fleet, and whilst the UK Government’s £27 million for a new ferry for Fair Isle is a very welcome first step, action from the Scottish Government in Edinburgh is long overdue.”

Painter added that he has seen “first-hand the challenges our fishing and farming communities face”.

“While the SNP, Greens, and Liberals would happily drag us back into the Common Fisheries Policy, I want to see us take advantage of leaving that hated policy that saw our fisheries being run by Brussels,” the candidate added.

“Our farmers and crofters need support tailored for our islands too – not just another one-size-fits-all policy dictated from Edinburgh. This must start with the reversal of the brutal £46 million cut to the agriculture budget inflicted by the out-of-touch SNP.”

Painter also highlighted the challenges the cost of living crisis has caused local people. He noted UK Government measures to help the situation, including the £400 payment towards people’s energy bills in 2022/23.

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“But more work still needs to be done,” Painter said. “Despite the pressure on local communities, the SNP-Green Government continues short-changing our councils and making hardworking people pay the bill for their financial incompetence by raising taxes.

“The SNP remain obsessed with pushing for another independence referendum – despite our islands firmly rejecting it in 2014 – and continue to ignore Scotland’s real priorities, such as the NHS, education, and the economy.

“That’s why I hope local people will elect me – a local champion for the islands, from the islands. I will be a fierce advocate for our island communities, committed to ensuring a fair deal for our islands and focused on Scotland’s real priorities.”

Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston welcomed Painter’s selection.

“He is an excellent choice and, as someone from the islands, understands the challenges our island communities face, particularly those of younger folk,” he said.

Already confirmed for the Orkney and Shetland region are the incumbent Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrats), Robert Leslie (SNP) and Alex Armitage (Greens).

The general election is expected to take place later this year, a date is not yet known.

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