8th April 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

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.

About Charley-Kai John

View other stories by »

13 comments

  1. John Tulloch

    So , how did the Remain parties’ anti-Brexit policies work out for them?

    Ten years of Tory government, as a direct result. One hopes they are satisfied.

    Our Lord’s admonition, “Reap as ye have sown,” springs readily to mind.

    Reply
  2. Brian Smith

    Strange – I thought the SNP was a Remain party!

    Reply
  3. LARS-GUNNAR OLSSON

    I love Shetland & Orkney! As a Swede I feel a strong fellowship. Hope the outcome (Brexit) won’t tarnish it.

    Reply
  4. John Tulloch

    No Brian, the SNP only say they want to Remain, as a stick to beat Westminster with.

    Their defining policy, independence, was guaranteed to take us out of the EU – with “No Deal” – on independence Day. The EU has confirmed this “repeatedly”.

    They also know they would be unable to rejoin until we satisfy the EU’s onerous conditions, notably:

    1. Austerity to cut necessary borrowing within EU Stability and Growth Pact guidelines.

    2. Establish our own central bank and currency – this will take nine years (‘Commonweal’ nationalist think tank).

    3. Hand the EU control of our economy and trade, agriculture and fisheries.

    Throw in control of energy and our military and Scots will never vote for it.

    They know that, too. So expect a policy switch, replacing EU membership with EFTA. (as Norway).

    It follows that they are only demanding Indyref 2 because they ‘ken fine weel’ it won’t be allowed and will use that to stoke phoney grievance against Westminster, with the added advantage (to them) of it being over before we find out what kind of trade deals Westminster achieves with the EU, US, etc.

    Reply
    • Brian Smith

      Goodness, so the SNP did so well because they are a (secret) Leave Party!

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        No, Brian. The SNP did not do well “because they are a secret Leave party” (although, they are one).

        They did well because of the absence of credible opposition, notably, from the Labour Party, with its incompetent leadership both nationally and in Scotland.

        Labour has gone from being the predominant Scottish party for decades to fourth position, behind the LibDems, with a single MP who stated in his election speech that “Labour must change or die.”

        Labour’s demise was well under way, long before Brexit arrived on the scene.

      • Brian Smith

        So why did ex-Labour voters in Scotland vote for a secret Leave Party while ex-Labour voters in England voted for an up-front Leave Party!

    • Stuart Hannay

      My grievance with Westminster is not ‘phoney’.

      Reply
  5. John Tulloch

    Why don’t you tell us, Brian?

    After all, you are one of the ones who deserted Labour, jumping ship to the SNP.

    The reasons for Labour’s demise in Scotland were not much to do with Brexit. It was well under way, long before Brexit.

    So back to my original point. What did the SNP and the Scottish people get out of the Remain parties’ anti-Brexit policies? “Ten years of Tory government, as a direct result.” Maybe the SNP are pleased about that, it does help their independence campaign?

    https://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2017/05/20/poor-show-local-labour-brian-smith

    Reply
    • Brian Smith

      Whit are you spaekin aboot, John? I voted Labour.

      Who no mak a new year’s resolution: stop readin da Mail!

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        🙂 Im spaekin aboot your 2017 election letter, Brian.

        You stated you would be voting for Miriam Brett, SNP (link below). You trashed Shetland Labour and offered an explanation for Labour’s spectacular collapse in Scotland.

        What changed to flip you back to Labour?

        https://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2017/05/20/poor-show-local-labour-brian-smith

      • ian tinkler

        The Labour party lost its fourth general election in a row on 12 December, recording its worst performance, in terms of seats, since 1935. (And lost to BOJO!!!!!) Militant Tendency, Tribune, now Momentum whatever next, extinction?.

        It is such fun to see Shetlands very own, company owning, house owning, Remoaning, Champagne Socialists and Prosecco Nationalist (a cheaper version of the former) squirm so. Very much yesterdays people, perhaps for a generation LOL. Not you Brian, you are at least genuine.

  6. Ian TInkler

    Whit are you spaekin aboot, John? I voted Labour. I would take something for that if I were you, Brian. Equine Necrophilic Beastiality is as daft as supporting Corbyn.

    Reply

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.