Carmichael launches election campaign
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael officially launched his general election campaign on Saturday.
The Liberal Democrat politician is hoping to be re-elected as the Northern Isles representative at Westminster – a seat that he has held since 2001.
The isles politician opened his Orkney campaign in Kirkwall, meeting with local supporters and party members.
He is set to launch his Shetland campaign in Lerwick on Friday.
Mr Carmichael said the Lib Dems would fight a “positive campaign”.
“Liberal Democrats in Orkney and Shetland will again fight a positive campaign based on our record of getting things done as a strong team and helping people in the isles when they need it,” he said.
“The Northern Isles in 2014 voted for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom and in 2016 for the UK to remain in the European Union. Only a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament will represent local people’s views on both these issues.
“At a time when the SNP are again pursuing another referendum on independence it is more important than ever that people who want to remain in the United Kingdom should not split their vote.”
The Lib Dem MP also called out the Conservatives for “ignoring calls in the last Parliament to reform the visa system for non-EEA crew of Scottish fishing vessels”.
He said that non-EEA crew members make up approximately 20% of employees on fishing vessels in the UK, adding that their designation as “unskilled workers” makes obtaining visas difficult.
This has knock-on effects for the capacity of the industry, he said.
“Over the last few years I have led the campaign in Parliament to allow the Scottish fishing fleet access to the crews that they need and cannot recruit even inside the EU,” said the Northern Isles MP.
“This was an issue which commanded cross-party support and should have been an easy decision for the Government. Instead they stonewalled and prevaricated while in some ports boats were unable to go to sea.”
Three other candidates are currently contesting the Northern Isles seat: Robert Leslie for the SNP, Scottish Labour’s Coilla Drake and independent David Barnard.
Voters go to the polls in this year’s general election on December 12th.