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Politics / Labour councillor thinks isles’ ‘strategic importance’ will be recognised by new UK government

SHETLAND’s sole Labour councillor believes the isles’ strategic importance – particularly in energy – will “weigh heavily at Westminster” under his party’s new government.

Tom Morton, who represents the Shetland North ward, also said he hopes for and expects visits from senior Labour ministers in the coming months.

Shetland North councillor Tom Morton.

In the early hours of Friday morning it was confirmed that Labour had achieved a majority to effectively win the general election – leading to Sir Keir Starmer becoming the new prime minister.

In the end Labour secured 412 seats in the UK, up by more than 200, whilst making significant gains in Scotland.

Responding to the news and what a change in government could mean for Shetland, Morton said: “It’s interesting that MSP Rhoda Grant is visiting Shetland this week and I know she will be meeting the political leader and chief executive among others.

“Although a Scottish Parliament member she is influential in Westminster terms and her visit is a first indication of Labour’s commitment to the isles.”

He added that Sue Gray’s trip to the SaxaVord Spaceport in her previous civil service capacity could “pay dividends now she is a prime mover in the Labour government”.

She is now Starmer’s chief of staff.

With the previous Conservative government pledging nearly £27 million of Levelling Up funding for the replacement Fair Isle ferry scheme, which is still in the tendering phase, Morton said the future of the project will “undoubtedly need to be discussed urgently” with new secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities Angela Rayner.

He added: “Shetland’s strategic importance in terms of hydrocarbons, renewables and militarily will, I think, weigh heavily at Westminster.”

In the Orkney and Shetland election Labour’s Conor Savage came fifth out of six candidates with 7.2 per cent of the vote.

Starmer has already met with Scottish first minister John Swinney amid a desire to “reset” relations with devolved nations.

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