Shetland Council By-Election Results

Everyone may be focused on the Westminster General Election right now, but local democracy stops for nothing. Fully half of the council by-elections called for 2019 are falling in November, with that Shetland double-dip on the 7th the first up. For people desperate to foolishly attempt to read national runes from local by-elections, Shetland Islands Council’s Independent tendencies are going to leave you pretty disappointed.

First up let’s take a look at Lerwick South. This one was widely expected given councillor Beatrice Wishart was elected as a Lib Dem MSP in August’s Holyrood by-election. I had no predictions for this given the nature of Shetland politics, but I did wonder if Frances Valente falling not even 3 votes short last time might have put here in good stead.

Unfortunately for Valente she came a rather distant third, as former Council Leader Gary Robinson duked it out over a few rounds of transfers with Stephen Flaws. Valente’s transfers put Flaws ahead and handed him the seat. First preferences in full;

  • Robinson (Ind) – 374 (35.1%)
  • Flaws (Ind) – 350 (32.8%)
  • Valente (Ind) – 154 (14.4%, +2.3)
  • Wenger (Ind) – 116 (10.9%)
  • Henderson (Ind) – 73 (6.8%)

And at that final round head-to-head in stage 4;

  • Flaws (Ind) – 498 (46.7%)
  • Robinson (Ind) – 451 (42.3%)
  • Didn’t Transfer – 118 (11.1%)

Next door in Shetland Central, the presence of an official SNP candidate may have excited and/or confused some folk on Twitter, but they were never in the running to win the seat. As with Lerwick South, this one had a returning candidate who would have been next in line to be elected in 2017 in the form of Julie Buchan…

… and just like Lerwick South, that didn’t put her anywhere near winning the by-election, coming a distant second. Moraig Lyall came within touching distance of winning on first preferences, which were;

  • Lyall (Ind) – 344 (47.0%)
  • Buchan (Ind) – 116 (15.8%, +3.7)
  • SNP – 111 (15.2%)
  • Laverie (Ind) – 84 (11.5%)
  • Adamson (Ind) – 77 (10.5%)

Transfers were quite scattered, so despite being just 23 votes short, she needed to wait for the 161 sat with the two bottom placed candidates to transfer before crossing the line. Votes at the final round in stage 3 were;

  • Lyall (Ind) – 379 (51.8%)
  • Buchan (Ind) – 170 (23.2%)
  • SNP – 125 (17.1%)
  • Didn’t Transfer – 58 (7.9%)

And that brings to a close Shetland’s very busy year of by-elections! You won’t have long to wait for more by-election excitement though, as we have three coming up this week – another twofer for Fife, and one in Highland.