1973 Zetland County Council election
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← 1970 May 8, 1973 (1973-05-08) 1974 →

24 of 33 seats on the Zetland County Council
17 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
 
Leader Edward Thomason Clem Robb
Party Independent Shetland Democratic Group
Leader's seat Unst North (defeated) Delting South
Seats won 13 11
Seat change Decrease11 Increase11
Popular vote 2,078 566
Percentage 78.6% 21.4%
Swing Decrease21.4 Increase21.4

Council Convener before election

Edward Thomason
Independent

Council Convener after election

George Blance
Independent

Elections to the Zetland County Council were held on 8 May 1973 as part of Scottish local elections. This was the last election for the County Council before its incorporation along with the Lerwick Town Council into the Shetland Islands Council in 1975. Elections were held in every part of Shetland except Lerwick to elect 24 landward members to the County Council, who would be joined by nine nominated members from the Lerwick Town Council.

The election saw an unusually partisan competition between supporters and opponents of the County Council's policy on North Sea oil. The Shetland Democratic Group was formed to oppose the council's attempts to gain private legislation to exert direct control over oil developments in Shetland, objecting to proposals that would allow the council to take equity in industrial development and gain compulsory purchase powers.[1]

The Shetland Democratic Group gained 11 seats and defeated incumbent Convener Edward Thomason but failed to win enough support to gain control of the Zetland County Council. Supporters of the council's policy elected George Blance, a nominated member from the Lerwick Town Council, as the council's final Convener, defeating Shetland Democratic Group member John Jamieson by 18 votes to 12. The council's continued support for private legislation led to the passage of the Zetland County Council Act 1974, providing the council with powers to become a harbour authority, control harbour developments, invest in securities of bodies corporate, implement compulsory purchases in specified areas relating to oil developments and to establish a reserve fund from oil revenues.[2] These powers would be inherited by the Shetland Islands Council in 1975.

13 seats were uncontested, including seven of the Shetland Democratic Group's 11 gains.

Election results

Zetland County Council Election Result 1973[3]
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Independent 13 0 11 Decrease11 54.2% 78.6% 2,078 Decrease21.4
  Shetland Democratic Group 11 11 0 Increase11 45.8% 21.4% 566 Increase21.4

Ward Results

Aithsting
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Iain Caldwell 151 54.9%
Independent Robert Garrick (Incumbent) 124 45.1%
Majority 27 9.8%
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Bressay
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent James Irvine (Incumbent) 122 78.2%
Independent Brenda Scott 34 20.8%
Majority 88 58.0%
Independent hold
Burra
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent William Cumming (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold
Cunningsburgh
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Joan McLeod (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Delting North
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Fraser Peterson (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Delting South
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Clem Robb (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Dunrossness North
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group James Leask (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Dunrossness South
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Raymond Bentley (Incumbent) 150 63.3%
Independent Arthur M. Irvine 87 36.7%
Majority 63 26.6%
Independent hold
Fetlar
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent John Laurenson (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold
Gulberwick and Quarff
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Arthur Irvine (Incumbent) 45 51.4%
Shetland Democratic Group Alistair Leask 43 48.6%
Majority 2 2.8%
Independent hold
Nesting and Lunnasting
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Andrew Riddell 149 68.3%
Independent William Hamilton (Incumbent) 69 31.7%
Majority 80 36.6%
Independent hold
Northmavine North
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Robert Balfour 46 55.4%
Independent Andrew Cromarty (Incumbent) 37 44.6%
Majority 9 10.8%
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Northmavine South
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group John Jamieson (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Sandness
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Peter Garriock unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold
Sandsting
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent A.I. Tulloch (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold
Sandwick
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Thomas Stove (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Tingwall
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Andrew Irvine (Incumbent) 327 55.7%
Independent Martin Williamson 260 44.3%
Majority 67 11.4%
Independent hold
Unst North
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group William Thomson 249 70.5%
Independent Edward Thomason (Incumbent) 104 29.5%
Majority 145 41.0%
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Unst South
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group Alan Fraser (Incumbent) unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Walls
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Williamina Tait (Incumbent) 195 79.9%
Independent Peter Hick 49 20.1%
Majority 146 59.8%
Independent hold
Whalsay and Skerries
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Frederick Dainty unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold
Whiteness and Weisdale
Party Candidate Votes %
Shetland Democratic Group John Johnson 77 37.0%
Independent John Rae (Incumbent) 67 32.2%
Independent George Morrison 64 30.8%
Majority 10 4.8%
Shetland Democratic Group gain from Independent
Yell North
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Sandy Cluness 156 80.0%
Independent Robert Manson 39 20.0%
Majority 117 60.0%
Independent hold
Yell South
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Robert Gray unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold

By-elections since 1973

1974 Yell North by-election
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent David Johnson unopposed unopposed
Majority unopposed unopposed
Independent hold

References

  1. ^ "Pro-Bill Members Retain Control". The Shetland Times. 24 May 1973.
  2. ^ Nevis Institute (1978). The Shetland Report: A constitutional study prepared for the Shetland Islands Council by The Nevis Institute under the Chairmanship of Lord Kilbrandon. Edinburgh. p. 63.
  3. ^ Stewart, James. "County Council Election May 1973". Shetland History Online. Retrieved 25 January 2022.