Shetland Liberal Democrats re-selected Tavish Scott to fight next year’s Scottish parliamentary election at a well-attended meeting in Lerwick on Friday. No other candidate sought the nomination.
Mr Scott was first elected to Holyrood in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003 and in 2007, when he secured a majority of 4,409 (50.1 per cent).
He has served in various ministerial posts in previous Scottish governments, latterly as transport minster, in which post he introduced the air discount scheme to reduce flying costs for islanders. He was elected leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in 2008 with 59 per cent of the votes cast by party members.
Mr Scott said: “It’s a tremendous honour to serve the people of Shetland in the Scottish Parliament and that task will always be my main priority. Shetland faces challenging times and I will continue to represent the interests of the Islands to the best of my abilities.
“Next year’s election, in the aftermath of the new UK government being formed at Westminster, certainly provides a different background to any that I’ve fought either locally or nationally before. But the Liberal Democrats in the UK government have the opportunity to tackle issues that for too long the Labour government ignored. Reducing island petrol prices, taking people out of tax to help the lowest incomes or ending ID cards will all be positive steps forward.
“In Scotland I want a government that puts the country first, not a political party. We’ve had too much of that from Alex Salmond and it needs to change. These are tough economic times and governments across the UK have to put jobs and the economy before policies that are nice to do when there are unlimited funds. We face challenging financial times and I am determined that essential services such as schools, hospitals and transport links are assisted.”
Local party chairman Theo Smith said: “Shetland Liberal Democrats are very pleased to confirm that Tavish Scott will fight the seat at next year’s election. His energy, commitment and determination to fight Shetland’s corner in Holyrood has never been in doubt and he will campaign on that basis in next year’s election. The local party looks forward to the contest and will be working hard to make the campaign a successful one.”
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael added: “Tavish and I have worked as a team for Shetland. We raise the changes that the islands need in London and Edinburgh. Now with a direct route into the new UK government I am determined that Shetland’s requirements will be fully reflected in UK government policy.
“Tavish has the opportunity to create a new Scottish government next year which recognises all of the country, not just the SNP’s constituencies. That would be a necessary and welcome change on these past years. But above all Tavish and I will put the interests of the islands at the forefront of government decision-making in the period to come.”