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Gamble pays off as ward-hopping Tory councillors triumph in Wick and Inverness

Andrew Jarvie and his mother, Barbara, who have both been elected
Andrew Jarvie and his mother, Barbara, who have both been elected

A political gamble by the group leader of the Highland Conservatives has paid off after two councillors swapped seats and were still able to win.

Andrew Jarvie was declared a councillor for Wick and East Caithness, while Andrew Sinclair won in Inverness South.

The two were both elected in 2017, but swapped wards for this year’s election.

Mr Jarvie said he does not regret the move.

He said his influence for seeking election in the ward was that he feels the area is not fully represented within the council chamber.

What are the priorities?

Mr Jarvie has said “serious action is needed”.

He reiterated his party’s call to break up the Highland Council and has vowed to push for this during the new term.

Mr Jarvie has said it is a “tall order” but says the “evidence is compelling for it”.

Mr Jarvie is keen to break up Highland Council into smaller local authorities

‘Status quo can no longer persist’

Mr Jarvie said: “I am genuinely over the moon. At a time when we are being squeezed across the country, we have actually increased the vote in Wick and East Caithness from last time, which is a true testament to the mood across the county.

“Things need to change.

“The status quo can no longer persist because Caithness has so, so much potential.

“It just needs the right team to deliver that and see it truly prosper.”

Worry did creep in

The gamble to up sticks is one that eventually paid off, however, Mr Jarvie conceded there were some nerves.

He added: “You’d be lying to say you are not worried. When you give up the incumbency, you give up where you have built everything and start from scratch.

“At the end of the day, it was a very principled stance that I took because from my experience as an Inverness councillor, the city is the only thing the council cares about.

“It is to the detriment of the rest of the Highlands, particularly Caithness.

“At a time where we have known for over 30 years that Dounreay is coming to an end and the population is declining and nothing has been happening.

“It has just infuriated me so much that I just felt this was the right thing to do.”

He added that he had no regrets over his decision.

Mother and son duo

There will also be a family affair within the chamber as his mother, Babs Jarvie, took one of the four seats available for Nairn and Cawdor.

Mr Jarvie added: “I was more worried about my mother than myself really. It was a real tough one.

“When you are in politics and you have been in it a while, you can take the emotions, but when you bring someone new in, it is a little harder.

“I have to say I am even happier to see that my mother won in Nairn so convincingly.”

Asked if he was concerned about any public telling offs in the chamber from his mother, Mr Jarvie said: “We will just have to see about that one.”

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