2022 Shetland Islands Council election

← 2017 5 May 2022 (2022-05-05) 2027 →

22 of 23 seats to Shetland Islands Council
12 seats needed for a majority
Registered13,325[1]
Turnout47.2% (Decrease1.9%)
  First party Second party
 
Leader Steven Coutts Debra Nicolson &
Martin Randall
Party Independent Green
Last election 22 seats, 97.8% Did not contest
Seats before 21 0
Seats won 19 1
Seat change Decrease2 Increase1
Popular vote 5,542 442
Percentage 88.2% 7.0%
Swing Decrease9.6pp Increase7.0pp

  Third party Fourth party
 
Leader Robbie McGregor Tom Morton
Party SNP Labour
Last election 1 seat, 0.0% Did not contest
Seats before 1 0
Seats won 1 1
Seat change Increase1
Popular vote 276 0
Percentage 4.4% 0.0%
Swing Increase4.4pp n/a

2022 Shetland Islands Council election, parties.svg
2022 Shetland Islands Council election, incumbency.svg

Council Leader before election

Steven Coutts
Independent

Council Leader after election

Emma Macdonald
Independent

Elections to the Shetland Islands Council took place on 5 May 2022 on the same day as the other Scottish local government elections. Seven wards will be contested, each ward electing two to four Councillors using the single transferable vote system form of proportional representation, with 23 Councillors elected.

The elections will be the first held since the passage of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 which allowed wards in Scottish councils containing islands to be reduced to single and dual member wards. As a result, the Shetland West ward was reduced from three members to two.[2]

The Scottish Greens contested a Shetland Islands Council election for the first time, standing three candidates and electing one councillor in Shetland South.[3] Scottish Labour elected its first councillor to the Shetland Islands Council since 1994.

Background

Composition

There were no changes to the political composition of the council following the election in 2017. Two by-elections were held and both were won by independents.[4]

Party 2017 result
Independents 21
SNP 1

Retiring councillors

Ward Party Retiring councillor
North Isles Independent Alec Priest
Shetland North Alastair Cooper
Shetland West Steven Coutts
Theo Smith
Shetland South George Smith
Lerwick North Malcolm Bell
Lerwick South Peter Campbell
Stephen Flaws

Boundary changes

Following the implementation of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, a review of the boundaries was undertaken in North Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute, Highland, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The act allowed for single- or two-member wards to be created to allow for better representation of island communities.

As a result, the seven existing wards were retained with realigned boundaries but the number of councillors was increased from 22 to 23. Lerwick North was renamed Lerwick North and Bressay but was otherwise unchanged, as were North Isles and Shetland North. The boundaries were adjusted in the remaining wards which resulted in Shetland Central and Shetland South being increased from three- to four-member wards and Shetland West being reduced to a dual-member ward.[5]

Uncontested Seats

After nominations closed on 30 March 2022, two wards – North Isles and Shetland North – didn't receive enough candidates to trigger an election. Both are three member wards and only five candidates stood in total. As a result, all five candidates were automatically elected without a poll being conducted and a by-election will be scheduled to fill the vacant North Isles seat.

The lack of interest in standing for election was called a "threat to local democracy" by the Greens. Across Scotland, 18 councillors were automatically elected because the number of candidates was not enough to trigger an election. During the 2017 local elections in Scotland, just three council wards were uncontested but votes were held in every ward in both 2007 and 2012 – the first elections to use multi-member wards and the single transferable vote. Public disinterest in standing for election to local councils has been linked to the "ridiculous" size of some local authorities and the low pay councillors receive for their work.[6][7][8]

Campaign

During the election campaign, candidates gave particular focus to the cost of living, housing and the proposed construction of fixed link tunnels.[9] A survey conducted by The Shetland Times prior to the election found highest support for the issues of fuel poverty, fixed links and digital connectivity as priorities for the new council.[10]

Election results

Shetland Islands local election result 2022
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Independent 19 0 2 Decrease 2 82.6 88.2 5,542 Decrease 9.6
  Green 1 1 0 Increase 1 4.3 7.0 442 Increase 7.0
  SNP 1 0 0 Steady 4.3 4.4 276 Increase 4.4
  Labour 1 1 0 Increase 1 4.3 Steady Steady Steady[A]
  Sovereignty 0 0 0 Steady 0 0.4 26 Increase 0.4

Note: "Votes" are the first preference votes. The net gain/loss and percentage changes relate to the result of the previous Scottish local elections on 4 May 2017. This may differ from other published sources showing gain/loss relative to seats held at dissolution of Scotland's councils.

Ward summary

Results of the Shetland Islands council election 2022 by ward
Ward %
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
%
Cllrs
Total
cllrs
Independents SNP Green Labour Others
North Isles 2 Uncontested 2[B]
Shetland North 2 Uncontested 1 3
Shetland West 83.11 2 7.8 0 9.1 0 2
Shetland Central 42.72 2 7.0 0 50.29 2 4
Lerwick North and Bressay 100 3 3
Lerwick South 92.11 4 7.8 0 4
Shetland South 73.34 2 11.8 1 14.8 1 4
Total 17 1 1 n/a 1 2 22[C]
Notes
  1. ^
    A: The only Labour Party candidate was elected in an uncontested election in the Shetland North ward.
  2. ^
    B: Only two candidates stood for election in the three-member North Isles wards. A by-election will be held at a later date to elect a third member.
  3. ^
    C: As a result of less candidates standing for election than seats to be fill in North Isles, only 22 councillors will be elected instead of 23.

Ward results

North Isles

North Isles - 3 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1
Independent Duncan Anderson (incumbent) Uncontested Uncontested
No label Ryan Thomson (incumbent) Uncontested Uncontested
Valid:   Quota:  


Shetland North

Shetland North - 3 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1
Independent Emma Macdonald (incumbent) Uncontested Uncontested
Independent Andrea Manson (incumbent) Uncontested Uncontested
Labour Tom Morton Uncontested Uncontested
Valid:   Quota:  


Shetland West

Shetland West - 2 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Independent Liz Boxwell 39.3% 298              
Independent John Leask 17.8% 135 154.03 154.48 158.63 171.69 178.90 205.20 298.99
Independent Mark Robinson 16.9% 128 142.35 143.65 150.80 164.40 170.55 198.46  
Green Debra Nicolson 9.1% 69 70.36 71.51 71.51 81.66 118.96    
SNP Zara Pennington 7.8% 59 60.69 61.42 61.72 64.87      
Independent Andrew Holt 5.7% 43 46.02 47.32 50.32        
Independent Ian Tinkler 2.8% 21 21.60 21.60          
Independent Peter Fraser 0.7% 5 6.96            
Electorate: 1,364   Valid: 758   Spoilt: 13   Quota: 253   Turnout: 56.5%  


Shetland Central

Shetland Central - 4 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2
No label Moraig Lyall (incumbent) 29.3% 414  
Independent Davie Sandison (incumbent) 22.8% 322  
Independent Catherine Hughson (incumbent) 19.9% 282 339.27
No label Ian Scott (incumbent) 19.2% 271 308.34
Green Martin Randall 7.0% 99 116.09
Sovereignty Brian Nugent 1.8% 26 29.16
Electorate: 3,170   Valid: 1,414   Spoilt: 8   Quota: 283   Turnout: 44.9%  


Lerwick North and Bressay

Lerwick North and Bressay - 3 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5
Independent Stephen Leask (incumbent) 33.4% 310        
Independent Gary Robinson 32.4% 301        
Independent Arwed Wenger 14.7% 136 164.81 189.88 220.97 312.10
Independent Marie Williamson 12.4% 115 133.63 146.28 173.03  
Independent Stephen Ferguson 7.1% 66 79.66 92.99    
Electorate: 2,409   Valid: 928   Spoilt: 13   Quota: 233   Turnout: 39.1%  


Lerwick South

Lerwick South - 4 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4 5 6
Independent Dennis Leask 22.5% 302          
Independent John Fraser (incumbent) 19.5% 262 268.23 289.67      
Independent Cecil Smith (incumbent) 18.4% 251 257.45 275.88      
Independent Neil Pearson 12.7% 171 177.88 206.09 213.57 215.07 281.26
Independent Amanda Hawick (incumbent) 11.4% 153 156.93 168.37 173.78 176.28 208.72
No label Peter Coleman 7.8% 106 109.28 120.61 123.99 125.32  
Independent Shayne Mcleod 7.4% 99 102.50        
Electorate: 3,034   Valid: 1,344   Spoilt: 17   Quota: 269   Turnout: 44.9%  


Shetland South

Shetland South - 4 seats[11]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1 2 3 4
Independent Allison Duncan (incumbent) 42.7% 805      
Independent Bryan Peterson 27.1% 500      
Green Alex Armitage 14.8% 274 325.45 360.30 405.02
SNP Robbie McGregor (incumbent) 11.8% 217 326.41 364.40 401.62
Independent Stewart Douglas 2.5% 46 169.49 197.26  
Electorate: 3,348   Valid: 1,842   Spoilt: 14   Quota: 369   Turnout: 55.4%  


Aftermath

Following the election, independent councillors Andrea Manson and Emma MacDonald were elected as the council's convener and political leader, the first time either position had been held by women.[12]

A by-election was called shortly after the election in North Isles ward due to the lack of nominations received at the full election of the council. The by-election was held on 4 August 2022.[13] Two of the declared candidates, Stewart Douglas and Marie Williamson, stood unsuccessfully in other wards (Shetland South and Lerwick North & Bressay respectively) during the full election. The by-election was won by Robert Thomson.[14]

John Leask stood down from the Shetland West ward in August 2022, triggering a second by-election.[15]

North Isles by-election - 1 seat (4 August 2022)
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1
Independent Robert Thomson 68.6% 680
Independent Sonia Robertson 10.7% 106
Independent Gary Cleaver 10.1% 100
Independent Marie Williamson 9.3% 92
Independent Stewart Douglas 1.3% 13
Electorate: 2,152   Valid: 997   Quota:   Turnout: 46.2%  
Shetland West by-election - 1 seat (17 November 2022)[16]
Party Candidate FPv% Count
1
Independent Mark Robinson 76.4% 375
Green Debra Nicolson 13.6% 67
SNP Zara Pennington 10.0% 45
Electorate: 1,350   Valid: 493   Quota:   Turnout: 36.5%  

References

  1. ^ Cope, Chris (21 April 2022). "One in four registered to vote through the post". Shetland News. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Council boundary changes approved despite MSP's concern". Shetland News. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Third Green candidate throws hat into ring for council election". Shetland News. 7 February 2022. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  4. ^ Murray, Keegan (8 November 2019). "Winners announced in two council by-elections". Shetland Times. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Review of Electoral Arrangements Shetland Islands Council Area Final Proposals" (PDF). Boundaries Scotland. May 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  6. ^ Bhadani, Anita (31 March 2022). "'Threat to local democracy' as councillors elected without votes". The National. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  7. ^ Learmonth, Andrew (31 March 2022). "Eighteen councillors already elected in Scotland's local elections". The Herald. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  8. ^ Bowie, Justin; Philip, Andy (1 April 2022). "18 councillors are already elected ahead of May vote – here's why you should be alarmed". The Press and Journal. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Election 2022". Shetland News. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  10. ^ The Shetland Times (1 April 2022). "Online poll reveals voters' number one priority is tackling fuel poverty".
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Notice of Uncontested Election and Notice of Poll". Shetland Islands Council. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Women are first to take top jobs at Shetland Islands Council". BBC News. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  13. ^ "North Isles Ward By-Election - 4 August 2022". Shetland Islands Council. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Robert Thomson elected new councillor for the North Isles ward". Shetland News. 5 August 2022. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  15. ^ Times, Shetland (23 August 2022). "John Leask steps down from council". The Shetland Times. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  16. ^ Shetland Islands Council. "Notice of Poll".