The Liberal Democrats claimed by far the highest number of Shetland votes in Thursday’s European elections, gaining roughly twice the number of nearest rivals the SNP.
However, the isles’ effort was unable to save the Euro seat of Lib Dem George Lyon, who was likely to be replaced at Brussels by UKIP’s David Coburn.
The turnout in Shetland was 29.6 per cent, a noteworthy improvement on the 24.8 per cent in 2009. Of the 17,496 people eligible, 5,175 cast a legitimate vote with 16 spoiled papers.
The isles result was declared at Lerwick Town Hall just after 10pm last night. The overall Scottish result, with the country represented in Brussels by six MEPS, is expected to be announced at noon today.
The Lib Dems won 1,755 Shetland votes (33.9 per cent), a slight increase on five years ago, with the SNP gaining 897 (17.3 per cent), a slight drop.
The major surprise was the performances of both the Labour and Conservative parties, polling 590 votes (11.4 per cent) and 543 votes (10.4 per cent) respectively.
The two established parties finished in fifth and sixth places, beaten by both the Scottish Green Party (638 votes and 12.3 per cent) and the UK Independence Party (616 votes and 11.9 per cent).
The other three parties standing, Britian First, the British National Party and NO2EU, polled just 55, 40 and 25 votes respectively.
The small audience in Lerwick Town Hall was called to order at 10pm sharp, with the clock bells chiming above.
Returning officer Jan-Robert Riise first invited the four agents present – Beatrice Wishart (Lib Dem), Graham Johnston (Labour), Maurice Mullay (Conservative) and Charlie Gallagher (SNP) – to step forward before announcing the result.
Lib Dem spokesman Theo Smith said afterwards he was very pleased with the local result, but unsure whether it would be enough to help Scottish candidate George Lyon keep his seat.
Mr Smith said: “I’m really delighted to see the Liberal Democrats’ vote has held up in Shetland. I always thought it would but it’s possibly exceeded my expectations.
“I’m extremely delighted for George Lyon and just hope that it can be replicated down through the country.
“George Lyon is a very, very good MEP, interested in the rural areas, and I just hope he gets back again.”