General election: updates from Mareel hustings
The BBC Radio Shetland general election hustings was held in Mareel on Monday evening.
Five of the six candidates attended the event, with Brexit Party candidate Robert Smith the only absentee.
A crowd of around 70 people were on hand to grill the candidates, with Radio Shetland host Daniel Lawson giving each candidate an opening minute to introduce themselves and their policies.
Anti-monarchy candidate David Barnard went first, saying that the recent events involving Prince Andrew had raised “serious questions” about the monarchy, and finished by saying that: “A monarchy has no place in Britain in 2019”.
Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael said there were three big issues in this election – Brexit, climate change and a second Scottish independence referendum.
“Climate change should be at the heart of our political debate,” Mr Carmichael said, before adding that “we can’t delay any further” to make the issue a priority.
Labour’s Coilla Drake said she was an “ordinary person” who also wanted to concentrate on climate change, as well as funding for the NHS. She followed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s position, stating she would like to see a new Brexit deal negotiated with the EU and put to the British people in a referendum, with no Brexit the other option.
Jennifer Fairbairn, the Conservative candidate, said her priority was to “uphold democracy” and to see Brexit through “as soon as possible”.
The SNP’s Robert Leslie said that Orkney and Shetland had not voted for Brexit yet “we could suffer most” from the country leaving the EU. He added he would like to remain in the EU and help reform it from within as part of an independent Scotland.
The Brexit Party’s Robert Smith did not attend, but his stance of a ‘clean-break Brexit’ with a free trade deal with the EU was announced to the room.
Unsurprisingly, Brexit proved the hottest topic of the evening with several questions based around that subject.
Ms Fairbairn, the Conservative candidate, surprised most in attendance by repeatedly going against party policy – firstly by saying she supported the actions of Gina Miller, who took the Conservative government to court over Brexit, because she was “upholding democracy” and secondly by saying that the government’s ‘settled status’ scheme for EU citizens needed a “total overhaul”.
More in this Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.