30th April 2017

‘Don’t back me,’ says Tory SIC ‘paper candidate’ for Lerwick North

One of the candidates in next month’s council elections has pleaded for constituents not to vote for him, calling his appearance on the ballot papers a “cock-up”.

Thomas Williamson, who is a Conservative candidate for Lerwick North, has so far refused to release a manifesto and has now revealed that he hopes to lose the election.

It emerged this week that Mr Williamson was contacted by Tory party officials and asked if he would stand, despite having no interest in being a councillor.

The process is known as standing a “paper candidate” in order to soak up a greater share of the national vote.

Despite being used in larger areas there is no evidence of it ever occurring in Shetland before.

Mr Williamson, known locally as “Skerries Tom”, said he had received a phone call from “two guys from south”. He had been asked questions about council elections and answered yes or no. It had been a “crackling line” and then he “got cut off”.

Describing the whole episode as “a cock-up”, he said he had not signed any documents indicating his intention to stand and was shocked to discover he was a Tory candidate when the SIC published its notice of poll.

When The Shetland Times visited his home at Robertson Crescent in Lerwick on Tuesday, Mr Williamson was not willing to let a reporter into his home to discuss his claims.

On his doorstep he reiterated allegations that he had received a call from “buggers doon sooth” and that he had heard nothing further about it until he saw his name in the notice of election.

When asked if he was hoping that constituents would not vote for him he replied “yes”.

However, a statement from the Scottish Conservatives refuted Mr Williamson’s claims.

The statement read: “Mr Williamson was asked if he’d like to be a candidate, he agreed, and was told in detail what it would involve. He also signed the paperwork agreeing to be a candidate, as all local government candidates have to.”

Documents obtained by The Shetland Times further suggest that Mr Williamson had agreed to stand for election. His nomination form shows that he signed a declaration which gave consent to appearing on the ballot.

The documents were witnessed and seconded by his election agent Maurice Mullay, chairman of the Shetland Conservative Association, whose signature is also included.

Mr Mullay, said there was no question of Mr Willaimson having been coerced into standing.

When asked whether Mr Williamson had told him that he hoped to lose the election Mr Mullay said that he “had not indicated” that at the time.

Mr Mullay confirmed that both Mr Williamson in Lerwick North and Isobel Johnson in Shetland North were standing as part of a “paper exercise” by the Scottish Conservatives.

The practice of fielding so-called “paper candidates” was “fairly common practice on the mainland in larger towns and cities”, Mr Mullay said.

With one paper candidate declaring he hoped to lose the vote The Shetland Times attempted to contact the second, Mrs Johnson, only to discover that she was on holiday.

When asked if this made a mockery of the election, with neither candidate campaigning to win their seat, Mr Mullay said it was his “personal view that anybody who stands should put their heart and soul into winning the seat and representing the constituency”.

• See full story in this week’s Shetland Times

AboutKeegan Murray

Junior Reporter for The Shetland Times. Interested in politics, literature and music. Born and bred Shetlander. Keen cyclist and long suffering Newcastle United supporter.

View other stories by »

11 comments

  1. Hazelann Alexander

    We don’t need more list mps.

    Reply
  2. Moureen

    Haha! Let’s hope the rest of the Conservatives througout Britain do the same!
    That would do us all a favour!

    Reply
  3. Aaron Smith

    Most folk with a conscience widna be voting for a Conservative anyway. Especially not one that is willingly involved in this nonsensical chicanery. Residents of the Shetland North ward take note!

    Reply
    • Graham Fleming

      Finding yourself standing as a Tory candidate must be a sane persons worst nightmare. What do you do, phone your lawyer, ring the Samaritans or plead with the Hague and tell them I always respect international law and never read the Daily Express.

      Reply
  4. ian tinkler

    Fight it, Thomas Williamson. Not as a Torie, as an independent. Fight for Shetland Autonomy, that will make you a rebel with a cause. Shetland needs a few of those.

    Reply
    • Ian Leask

      Why don’t you stand as a Tory Candidate Ian Tinkler as you seem to have the same views as the torys do, as for Wir Shetland it is nothing but a very poor attempt at trying to sabotage Scottish Independence.

      If councillors cannot make the right decisions now, god help Shetland when you have full control.

      This council has a very bad habit of wasting public money on things that are not needed, one just has to look at the street at the moment to know that Is true!

      Reply
      • ian tinkler

        Sabotage Scottish Independence.? Salmond and Sturgeon are managing that quite well, without any help from me.

  5. ian tinkler

    If not for Shetland, for yourself. Love to work with you, not enough men of principle around.

    Reply
    • ian tinkler

      The worst that can happen is that we lose however we may sway a few towards are beliefs and aspirations. No harm there.

      Reply
      • Graham Fleming

        Campaigning for Shetland autonomy but standing as an Independent does your cause no justice. In the forthcoming Council elections it will get zero votes a bit like the SNP really.Every councillor could believe in a different future for Scotlands northern Isles but if it has no democratic mandate from the population it is that,nil and void.

      • ian tinkler

        Who is writing this sanctimonious drivel for you, Graham Fleming? “Campaigning for Shetland autonomy but standing as an Independent does your cause no justice”. For your information Graham, In this election, I am not and nor have ever or claimed to be standing as an independent. I am standing to represent the Westside Shetland folk and to do my utmost to improve their rural communities and lives. I am not independent but totally dependent on their wishes and goodwill. To coin a Royal Naval term, I have the honour to be representing those folk.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.