Local News for Friday 6th May 2016

Allan claims third term as Isles MSP
The SNP’s Alasdair Allan claimed his third term as Member of the Scottish Parliament for na h-Eileanan an Iar, in a result delared around 3am this morning at Lewis Sports Centre, after a smooth-running count. The local result mirrored national SNP success, but Dr Allan’s result was down by 13.3% on his 2011 win, with 6,874 votes cast for him this year. Rhoda Grant claimed second place for Scottish Labour with 26% of the votes, 3,378. The surprise of the night was the number of votes polled by new Scottish Conservative candidate Ranald Fraser, of Tolsta Chaolais, who tripled the 2011 result with 1,499 votes, 11% of the votes cast. Following the result he declared it ‘the best result ever for island Conservatives in a Scottish Parliament election.” The Christian party’s John Cormack, who was not at the count, polled 1,162 votes, 9% and Scottish Lib-Dem candidate Kenneth Macleod had the support of just 293 voters, 2% of the electorate, losing his deposit. The total turnout was 61% in the islands.

After results were announced Alasdair Allan told Isles FM it had been ‘the privilege of his life’ serving as MSP for the islands and pledged to work hard for all constituents, whether or not they had given him their support.

In the voting for regional list MSPs, the local results are collated with other Highlands and Islands constituencies before proportions determine which parties or individuals will be elected. Locally the SNP secured 46% of the votes and Scottish Labour 23%, with 12% going to Scottish Conservatives and 9% to the Scottish Christian Party. Other parties and candidates polled 5% or less. Results were due to be announced in Dingwall around 7am this morning.

Crofting Commission ‘blunders on’
Former members of Mangersta grazings committee have expressed astonishment at a public statement about a meeting in mid-May from the Crofting Commission. Mangersta is one of two crofting villages in Lewis where the grazings commmittee has been dismissed by the Commission over management issues. Former committee members say they have no knowledge of a meeting which the Commission says it is to hold with stakeholders. A spokesman said: “The Commission just blunders on. We were astonished to see that they had ‘arranged to meet with the shareholders’ in both Upper Coll and Mangersta grazings in mid-May.’ We wish it to be known that we have heard absolutely nothing about any meeting, far less agreed to participate in it. If and when the Commission proposes a meeting, we will take legal advice on the appropriateness of attending.”

Football fixtures
Tonight sees Lewis & Harris Football Association league fixtures being played in Back, against Aths, in Lochs with Ness the visitors and at Goathill, where United will be at home to Westside. All kick-offs are at 7pm. On Saturday Point travel to Carloway, also in the league, and also with a 7pm kick-off.

Shinty weekend
Saturday is a big day in Shawbost as island shinty enthusiasts gather for the first home game of Lewis Camanachd’s season, against Kilmallie with a 2.30pm throw-up. Earlier in the day a youth shinty tournament sees all young players invited to test their skills in teams picked on the day from all who turn up – whether or not they have already taken part in youth training in Lochs, Stornoway and Point. 10am is registration time for the youth tournament, and between the youth and senior events there’s to be soup, sandwiches and baking provided by the Island Bake Club, who are using the event to fundraise for the FV Louisa Crew Families fund. Shinty supporters are urged to turn out on what’s forecast to be a good day, and to give Lewis Camanachd and the youngsters as much encouragement as possible.