Shetland Tory candidate cries ‘cock up’ over selection

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A Tory candidate in the local government elections has claimed that his name appeared on ballot papers as a result of a “cock-up” rather than a genuine wish to stand.

Thomas Williamson, who is a Conservative candidate for Lerwick North, told the Shetland Times he had no interest in standing.

According to the newspaper, Mr Williamson, known locally as “Skerries Tom”, said he had received a phone call from “two guys from south”.

He had been asked questions about council elections and answered yes or no. It had been a “crackling line” and then he “got cut off”.

Mr Williamson described the episode as a “cock-up”, and claimed not to have signed any documents indicating his intention to stand.

Interviewed by the Shetland Times, he said he had taken a call from “buggers doon sooth” and that he had heard nothing further about it until he saw his name in the notice of election.

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When asked if he was hoping that constituents would not vote for him he replied “yes”.

The Scottish Conservatives denied Mr Williamson had been coerced into standing and the Shetland Times has seen a declaration signed by him consenting to appearing on the ballot.

SNP MSP Maree Todd said: “The Scottish Tories’ desperation to field candidates is backfiring fast. Not only has Ruth Davidson had to suspend three candidates for their distasteful online rants, we now have the Lerwick North Tory candidate claiming he is only there to make up the numbers and soak up votes from other parties. Voters know that every SNP candidate is on the ballot because they want to represent their local community, but the Tories are putting forward any old name just to fill a space.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Mr Williamson was asked if he’d like to be a candidate, he agreed, and was told in detail what it would involve. He also signed the paperwork agreeing to be a candidate, as all local government candidates have to.”

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