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Politics / Local politicians react to first minister’s resignation

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael and SNP councillor Robbie McGregor

TWO VERY different perspectives on the future of government in Scotland have been put forward by local politicians following first minister Humza Yousaf’s resignation earlier on Monday.

While the isles only SNP councillor Robbie McGregor hopes for a new party leader to steady the ship and also win back at least some support from the Greens, isles MP Alistair Carmichael said what the country now needed is a change in government.

Accepting that the “Green situation” could have been handled better when the party’s two ministers were sacked on Thursday, McGregor said he could understand why the Scottish Greens had no interest in supporting the first minister in a no-confidence vote.

But he warned of alienating the SNP’s former partner further as their votes would be needed to appoint a new first minister.

McGregor was not prepared to name his favourite as a successor for Yousaf, but said of the names emerging he personally knew John Swinney, Kate Forbes and Neil Gray, and he could work with them all.

“We still need parliament to appoint them though, and to be able to do that we need the Greens to at least abstain. That actually might be the way forward,” the Shetland South councillor said.

“An election at this stage is not in the interest of the country,” he added.

“I hope other politicians in Shetland will try and put pressure on their parties to act in the interest of the country, and more importantly in the interest of Shetland.”

Carmichael, meanwhile, had a completely different take on the political crisis engulfing Scotland which he summed up as ‘decline and disintegration’.

“Just this weekend while the nationalists were in turmoil, we saw no fewer than six CalMac Ferries on the West Coast break down. The number of people dying in Scotland from drugs misuse remains scandalously high,” he said.

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“These failures are not just part of a run of bad luck. This is what happens when your government spends all its time and energy chasing the pipe dream of independence rather than concentrating on the day job.

“The resignation of Humza Yousaf will make no difference to us in the isles if he is replaced by another nationalist intent on centralising control.

“What is needed now is more than a change of face at the top. We need a change of direction which we know will only come from a change of government at Holyrood.”


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