Judgement day as Shetland and Orkney go to the polls

The polls are open for what Theresa May has dubbed “the most important election” of her lifetime and in Shetland and Orkney the result looks set to be a tight one.

After achieving a narrow victory in 2015 incumbent Alistair Carmichael is sure to be worrying an SNP surge in the constituency, which has become a cause for concern for the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Carmichael, who was part of the unpopular Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, only topped the SNP’s Danus Skene by 817 votes at the previous poll.

Shortly after his success in the constituency the 16 year MP became embroiled in the “Frenchgate” scandal which culminated in a hearing in the election court in Edinburgh.

But other factors are sure to come into play here as well. The SNP’s desire for a second independence referendum may push unionist supporting voters from other parties to favour the Liberal Democrats over the SNP’s young Miriam Brett.

The liberals too are seeking another referendum, on the final Brexit deal, and this could possibly push Brexit supporters towards the Conservative’s Jamie Halcro Johnston.

And in some recent polls for this constituency, seen by most as a two horse race, the Conservative’s are predicted to have a strong showing. The Electoral Calculus website has even given them better odds than Ms Brett.

But Ms Brett and her well organised local support are confident they can cause an upset, ending nearly seven decades of Lib Dem dominance in the constituency.

Of course the pollsters have been wrong before and it will be the early hours of tomorrow before a clear picture starts to take shape.

• To follow live news from the constituency, and titbits of the biggest national stories as they happen, be sure to follow The Shetland Times’ live reports from the count in Kirkwall.


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