24th January 2020
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LIVE: General election 2019

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The Shetland Times is in Kirkwall, where we’ll be bringing you live general election updates and news of the Northern Isles result into the early hours of the morning, alongside any big national stories.

This page automatically refreshes every ten minutes.


6.21 That’s all from us. Time for bed…

6.20 Coverage of the Liberal Democrat’s victory can be found here.

RESULT: Alistair Carmichael is the MP for Orkney and Shetland.

05.55 John Mundell has called all the candidates to the briefing area.

05.50 We are officially the last constituency in Scotland to declare, after SNP holds for the other two.

05.44 Alongside the Northern Isles, two other Scottish seats are yet to declare: Ross, Skye and Lochaber, and Argyll and Bute.

05.25 Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone holds onto his Caithness & Sutherland seat by 204 votes.

05.24 The ballot papers are stacking up, with the result expected within the hour.

05.14 With the election results declared so far: Boris Johnson has a majority.

05.05 Robert Smith, Brexit Party, said it was “going good” for his party, despite them not yet returning an MP.

“We have done what we were supposed to do and that is good,” he added.

“I do not care one jot about MPs or MSPs,” he said.

Mr Smith said they had shored up the Conservative vote, which is “supposedly” a Brexit vote.

Asked if the Conservatives had the Brexit Party to thank for standing down in seats across the UK, and he said: “It helped.”

“I think we are going to get a government who will attempt to do something right,” he said. “We will see how it goes.”

04.58 Brexit Party candidate Robert Smith is in the building, and has been since about 1am apparently.

The Brexit Party candidate, Robert Smith.

04.52 Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine holds onto her Edinburgh West seat, with the SNP in second and Conservatives in third.

04.44 Adjudication of doubtful ballot papers ongoing.

04.27 Returning officer John Mundell announces that adjudication of doubtful ballot papers has started, with a host of candidates, party supporters and attendees gathering to inspect.

– Turnout at this election is slightly lower (67.93 per cent) than the 2017 election’s 68.26 per cent.

– Tory leader Boris Johnson has also been re-elected an MP in his Uxbridge constituency.

– Liberal Democrat candidate Alistair Carmichael thinks it will be a “mixed night”.

When asked if he was worried about losing his seat, Mr Carmichael said: “Do you think I am going to lose my seat?”

He then said: “It is going to be a mixed night.”

Some “disappointment” was going to be “inevitable”, but he had praise for Wendy Chamberlain, who has gained Fife North East from the SNP, and Sarah Olney, who reclaimed her seat from Conservative Zac Goldsmith.

“I do not expect it to be a great night,” he added.

Mr Carmichael said he was concerned with what another five years of Boris Johnson and a majority Tory government would mean “for the country as a whole”.

On his seat, he said: “I have never taken it for granted.”

Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael.

03.50 Total turnout figure of 67.93 per cent, according to returning officer John Mundell.

This first stage in determining the election is complete, said Mr Mundell, with verified votes of 23,240.

We now move onto the second stage in the count, he said, which is sorting the ballot papers for each candidate.

03.45 Gasps from the room followed by sighs as Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson loses her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP by less than 200 votes.

03.35 Alistair Carmichael is in the building.

03.29 Cheers from the Lib Dems here as Wendy Chamberlain gains Fife North East from the SNP and Stephen Gethins. This was the most marginal seat in the country and his majority at the last election was just 2.

03.26 Mr Corbyn has announced that he intends to stand down.

03.22 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected in Islington North.

Despite the national results for the SNP so far, candidate Robert Leslie exercises caution when it comes to the Shetland and Orkney seat.

Mr Leslie said figures have been “flying around” early on in the night, which he said were getting people excited, but that he’ll wait until the results.

However, it is “not a great result” if you are looking to avoid Brexit, he said, referring to the projected Tory majority and the “mess that is going to create”.

Asked if a significant SNP majority is a mandate for a second Scottish independence referendum and Mr Leslie said that it is something “seriously” needs looking at, if “voters in Scotland are sending that kind of message”.

He does say that things are “looking good” for the party.

SNP candidate Robert Leslie.

03.05 Applause from the SNP table as Kirsten Oswald gains Renfrewshire East from the Tories.

03.04 Quick candidate briefing going on, with the ones who are here.

– And here are the Shetland ballot boxes arriving into Kirkwall Airport earlier.

02.28 No sign of Alistair Carmichael yet.

– The election in Orkney and Shetland cost around £100,000 to put on, according to returning officer John Mundell, including a £2,500 returning officer fee.

“You have to think these things through,” said Mr Mundell, describing that you have to plan for all eventualities.

“You have got to have contingency plans in place,” said Mr Mundell, especially in a December election in the Northern Isles, he added.

Potential disruption to inter-island ferries transporting votes, galeforce winds, snow and the need to grit roads for transporting boxes safely all have to be factored in.

Jan Riise (left) greeting John Mundell (right) after Mr Riise arrived in Orkney.

Jan Riise (left) greeting John Mundell (right) after Mr Riise arrived in Orkney.

The taxpayer pays for these elections, said Mr Mundell, through the cabinet office, with the cost of each varying given the vast differences between constituencies.

He stresses that transparency and openness are key, with Mr Mundell praising the “experienced people” on his team up in Shetland, including deputy returning officer Jan Riise.

 

 

02.22 In national news the SNP have gained two seats, one from the Conservatives (Angus) and one from Labour (Rutherglen & Hamilton).

02.13 And the Shetland ballot boxes are open and counting is taking place.

02.09 We’ve just heard that the verification of all Orkney and Shetland votes is about to take place.

Bringing the Shetland ballot boxes in.

02.05 The Shetland boxes have arrived at Kirkwall Grammar School, along with deputy returning officer Jan Riise.

01.42 The Loganair flight has landed!

00.45 The Shetland Times will be heading out to Kirkwall Airport soon to see the Shetland boxes arriving from Sumburgh. More updates to follow.

00.40 The team over in Shetland are loading boxes onto the plane.

00.24 The Shetland boxes are heading down to Sumburgh and the chartered flight that will take them to Kirkwall has also arrived.

23.56 Results are expected to be declared at 6am. Shetland and Orkney is the only UK constituency where ballot boxes are transported by air, meaning it is one of the last in the country to declare.

23.40 First surprise of the night, as Conservatives take Blyth Valley from Labour, who have held the seat since 1950.

23.34 We’ve just been told that there were 19 boxes in total from Orkney, and 34 from Shetland. The Shetland boxes are expected in around 2am.

23.29 First constituencies to declare are Newcastle Upon Tyne Central, and Houghton and Sunderland South: both Labour holds, although perhaps expected.

– Exit poll also predicts a big scalp: Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson could lose her East Dunbartonshire seat to the SNP.

23.23 That’s all the Orkney boxes in. Just waiting on the Shetland ones…

23.15 Just two candidates left to show up: Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael and the Brexit Party’s Robert Smith.

23.10 Someone who has more reason to be happy with the exit poll is Jenny Fairbairn.

Things are “looking good”, according to the Tory candidate.

“We can get Brexit done and carry on,” she said. “I think the fishermen in Shetland will be happy.”

Jenny Fairbairn.

– Exit poll predicts a possible SNP gain from the Liberal Democrats, with an 81% chance of a gain and 19% chance of the Lib Dems holding the seat.

Could we be in for a big upset?

Poll may be wrong but important to bear in mind that Alistair Carmichael has been the MP for this seat since 2001, and comfortably held his seat at the last general election, with almost half the vote share (48.6 per cent) compared to Miriam Brett’s 29 per cent.

The seat has been Liberal Democrat since 1950 (almost 70 years).

Labour candidate Coilla Drake.

22.55 Coilla Drake has called the exit poll results “surprising”.

“We will wait and see what happens,” she adds.

22.50 Two more are here, Labour candidate Coilla Drake and Conservative candidate Jenny Fairbairn.

22.44 Only two candidates, Robert Leslie (SNP) and David Barnard, have shown up so far. No signs of the others just yet.

Anti-monarchy candidate David Barnard looking festive earlier.

David Barnard, one of the first candidates at the count, said earlier it had been a “really positive day”.

He also has strong words for the Labour candidate Coilla Drake.

“I have no idea how many votes I am going to get but my sights are on the Labour candidate. I will be delighted if the Labour vote does not hold up.”

If the results of the exit poll are correct, it could be Labour’s worst result since 1935.

For anyone wanting to see the action shot.

22.29 The first boxes have been opened.

The first votes arriving.

22.22 The first boxes have arrived from Kirkwall.

– A few glum faces in the room after the result of that exit poll.

22.03 Exit poll predicts a Conservative majority of 86 for Boris Johnson, Labour (191), the Lib Dems (13), Brexit Party (0), SNP (55) and Plaid Cymru (3).

22.00 And we’re off! Polls have closed and the count will be underway soon, once the first boxes have arrived.

Returning officer David Mundell addresses the count in Kirkwall Grammar School.

21.55 Mr Mundell addresses a crowd of counters, media, parties and other attendees, saying he appreciates that this has been a “long, tiring period for people” but stresses that voters can be confident in the transparency of the count.

21.45 Returning officer John Mundell has given a media briefing. He’s hoping everything runs smoothly.

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