Local News for Friday 9th June 2017

MP elected for Western Isles
After a tense night at Lewis Sports Centre, the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil is once again MP for the Western Isles. His win in the UK Parliamentary Election, declared at 2.15am, came by a reduced margin over near rival Ealasaid MacDonald, standing for Scottish Labour. Mr MacNeil polled 6,030 votes, down from 8,662 in the 2015 General Election, while Mrs MacDonald won the support of 5,006 voters, an increase from the 4,560 given to her predecessor as Labour candidate, Alasdair Morrison. Both candidates had spoken of a welcome on the doorsteps of islanders during their campaign, which was carried out under great stress with the tragic news from Barra – Angus MacNeil’s home island and one where Ealasaid MacDonald also has family connections. The two agreed to suspend campaigning after the Manchester bombing, and there was a low-key final push for votes. Angus MacNeil has been returned to Westminster as the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency for the fourth time. The turnout was 69.73% - down by more than 3% on 2015.

The remaining three candidates polled as follows:
Dan McCroskrie, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party 2,441
John Cormack, Scottish Christian Party 1,108
Jamie Paterson, Scottish Liberal Democrats 250

Flybe spoils the homecoming party
Flybe has spoilt Loganair’s celebration of ‘coming home’ to Scotland from September, by announcing that they will compete on some Highlands and Islands routes, including Stornoway to Glasgow. Loganair has been planning its new service launch for many months, after an announcement last year that the service agreement between Flybe and Loganair on the island routes was to end. From September 1st Loganair will offer all the services to and between island airports currently operated together with Flybe. But now Flybe’s announced a new partnership with Eastern Airways to operate routes including Stornoway to Glasgow, in direct competition with Loganair. Flights to and from Orkney and Shetland are also among the competitor services it plans, with a promise of new planes, faster journey times and cheaper fares on the routes. A spokesman for Loganair said this week that the company was disappointed, but up for a fight on the routes.

New Vice Lord-Lieutenant for Western Isles
The Lord-Lieutenant for the Western Isles, Donald Martin, has announced the appointment of Elizabeth McAtear from Barra as the new Vice Lord-Lieutenant. The post, which has been vacant since November 2016, was formerly held by the Donald  Martin, while Mrs McAtear has served as Deputy Lieutenant since 1998, under three Lord Lieutenants. A former Councillor, former Chair of the Board of Lews Castle College (UHI) and former Vice Chair of the Western Isles NHS Board, she has also been active with Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay and was involved in establishing the Western Isles CAB Service, where she worked until her recent retirement. Announcing the appointment the Lord-Lieutenant said: “Betty brings wide experience to the post. She has been very active in all aspects of the Barra community for over 35 years and that along with her experience of public life will be of great help to me in her new role”
Tomorrow’s football matches see Lewis and Harris league teams pitted against Uist and Barra in the Co-Op Cup. Three Lewis teams head south - Barra are at home to Carloway, Benbecula host Point and Eriskay welcome Back. Meanwhile North Uist makes the long trip to Fivepenny to meet Ness,  Iochdar Saints are against Stornoway United and Aths welcome Southend. Westside and Lochs have a bye to the next round. Kick-offs are scheduled for 12 noon.