Carmichael holds on to his seat
Alistair Carmichael has been returned as the MP for Shetland and Orkney for a sixth time.
The longstanding isles MP won with over 10,000 votes, as the SNP were pipped to second place.
SNP candidate Robert Leslie garnered 7,874 votes compared to Mr Carmichael’s 10,381.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives came third, Labour fourth and Brexit Party fifth, with independent candidate David Barnard coming last.
Tory candidate Jenny Fairbairn polled 2,287 votes, Labour’s Coilla Drake 1,550, Robert Smith (Brexit Party) 900 and anti-monarchy candidate David Barnard garnered 168 votes.
There were 80 spoiled ballot papers, some of which may have been influenced by campaign by activist Stuart Hill, who called on voters to write “no thanx” across the paper.
The result in this constituency is perhaps unsurprising. An exit poll at 10pm yesterday predicting a possible SNP gain from the Liberal Democrats ultimately proved to be wrong, with a comfortable majority of 2,500 for Mr Carmichael in the end.
It was Mr Carmichael’s sixth win in the Northern Isles. He has been the MP for the seat since 2001.
The Lib Dem used his acceptance speech first to thank the returning officers, the other candidates for a “spirited and good-natured campaign”, his own campaign team, and wife and family, who had been “staunch in their support”.
He went on to say that representing the people of Orkney and Shetland had been, and remained, his “greatest privilege”.
It was more of a “mixed picture”, as Mr Carmichael said prior to his election result announcement, for the Lib Dems across the board.
The party were unable to capitalise on their strong anti-Brexit message in this election, making a net loss of one seat across the UK. They now have 11 MPs.
This included a shock scalp in the form of party leader Jo Swinson, who lost her Dunbartonshire seat earlier in the night to the SNP.
Despite being pipped to the post in this constituency, it was the SNP who made big gains across Scotland, taking 13 more seats. The party’s performance prompted their candidate Mr Leslie to say that a second Scottish independence referendum is something that “seriously” needs looking at.
However, that may prove difficult given an incoming government who have said they will refuse to grant one.
Boris Johnson has the keys to Number 10 after securing a majority government for the Conservatives. Targeting leave-voting Labour areas seems to have paid off for the Prime Minister.
Labour lost 59 seats on the night, prompting leader Jeremy Corbyn to announce that he intends to stand down.
Their candidate Coilla Drake called it a “sad, sad day”.
Mr Carmichael also used his acceptance speech to criticise Mr Johnson and his incoming government.
“The next five years is going to be a difficult and dangerous for this, our United Kingdom,” he said.
The newly re-elected MP, however, ended on an almost hopeful note, focusing on the need for “liberal voices”, unity and solidarity, which he said was “greater than ever before”.
The turnout for the Orkney and Shetland election was just under 68 per cent, with 23,240 Northern Isles folk voting.