The newly confirmed Western Isles MSP has been told to “do something” about the ferry issues that were repeatedly raised on doorsteps during this election campaign.
Alasdair Allan held onto the SNP seat for the island, which has been repeatedly hit by a series of breakdowns in the CalMac fleet.
Mr Allan has held the seat since taking it from Labour in 2007, receiving 7,454 votes.
The former education secretary’s vote majority was cut by just 55 to 3,441. In 2011, it stood at 4,772.
The Conservatives increased their vote – the party’s best ever result in the isles.
I want to say a sincere thank you to the people of the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency, for again giving me the honour…
Vow for more ferries push
After the result, he said the biggest issue he found among voters was the state of the islands’ ferries.
“I did manage to get out on the doorstep in the last two weeks when the restrictions allowed,” he said. “There’s no getting away from the fact that the ferries were the biggest issue and that CalMac at times does not have enough vessels in service on the routes.
“CalMac needs more ships built and these things have to be fully funded. I will continue to raise that with ministers as I have done in the past.”
To loud applause, Lib Dem candidate Neil Mitchison said he had never known so much “anger and despair” on the islands over the ferries.
Turning to Mr Allan, he said: “Do something about it.”
Runner-up Labour’s Shaun Fraser said the issues facing the Western Isles were “many” as he wished the newly-elected MSP well in tackling them.
The total electorate of 130-mile island chain is around 22,000 and nearly a third applied to vote by post. Turn-out was up 5% to more than 66%.
Ballot boxes from Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay and the Uists were carried by boat and road to the central count in Stornoway instead of being flown, like they usually are for an overnight count.
Meanwhile Britain’s remotest voters on St Kilda – 112 miles off the north-west Scottish mainland – were given postal votes.
- Results: Alasdair Allan (SNP) 7,454; Shaun Fraser (Labour), 4,013; Gavin Berkenheger (Scottish Conservatives), 2,116; Callum Iain Macmillan (Time for Change), 571; Neil Mitchison (Scottish Lib Dems), 353.