Steve Baker, Chairman of the European Research Group and Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Wycombe, has written a letter of support to the islands Conservative & Unionist candidate Jennifer Ross.

As one of the top Tory Euro-sceptics in Parliament, Steve has been instrumental in shaping the outcome of Brexit and is considered one of the most steadfast 'Leavers' having never voted for Theresa May's deal.

Steve said: "I'm delighted to support Jennifer Ross, the Conservative Candidate for the Western Isles.  When Jennifer got in touch, I was very pleased. As a young RAF officer, I was sent to survey the Phantom “gate guardian” at RAF Stornoway, and I have regarded the Western Isles as a place to which I would like to return ever since.

“I know that Jennifer has been a strong advocate for leaving the EU and understands the importance of gaining control over our waters by leaving the Common Fisheries Policy.

“I'm sure she would stand up for your fishing industry and crofting communities, to make sure your interests are well represented at Westminster.

“Jennifer is the only candidate on the ballot paper who says 'no' to more referendums. Scotland surely doesn't need any more constitutional change or divisive campaigning. We need to get Brexit done and move on to the issues that really matter in all our lives.

“Once we are beyond the campaign, I'd love to come up and visit you on the islands with your new Conservative MP. “

Conservative candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Jennifer Ross said "I am delighted to receive this endorsement from Steve Baker. He has been strongly principled on Brexit, and we share the same view that it is now time to get Brexit done so that we can move on to more important issues for these Islands."

Everyone must ensure they have a vote on December 12th - and that they use it. That's the view of Angus MacNeil, the SNP candidate for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency.

The deadline for registering to vote is Tuesday 26th November and this is also the last day for obtaining a Postal Vote.

Speaking in Stornoway Mr MacNeil said:“This is a crucial election for Scotland and despite only 6.5 hours of daylight and cold nights it is vital that there is a good turnout at this election.

“In 2015 non-voters outnumbered the supporters of every single political party, if these people had voted Westminster could have been a very different place.

“It is especially important that 18-30 year olds vote. Not only are they the largest block of voters but this election will decide their future – in Europe or out and whether Scotland should be Independent like other normal countries.

“Only by ensuring you have a vote and using it can you choose what kind of country Scotland will be."

A man appeared in court in Stornoway yesterday (Wednesday November 20th) charged with assault and breach of the peace.

The 28-year-old was arrested in Harris at 2.50am on Tuesday 19th and was two counts of police assault and two of breach of the peace.

He was kept in custody until yesterday’s court appearance, following which he was released on bail.

Mobile phone charge

A driver was cautioned and charged on Tuesday after being seen using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

The 42-year-old man was seen by police at 2.30pm on Perceval Road and is to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for the offence.

Classic car drivers contributed to the first ever Stornoway traffic-jam yesterday afternoon (Tuesday November 19th), according to traffic reports on BBC Radio 2.

But the reports were part of a tongue-in-cheek celebration staged by the team from Practical Classics magazine, visiting the islands this week.

About 25 classic cars owned and driven by island drivers massed at Lews Castle grounds at lunchtime to give a welcome to a team from the Peterborough-based magazine.

Editor Daniel Hopkins told “It’s exciting to see how many people were happy to bring their cars out to meet us, and what a variety! It shows what a great community the classic car world is, and everyone here is lovely, supportive and interested in each other’s projects – no competitiveness.”

After the castle grounds rally, the editorial team of five, with their own classic cars, led off a circuit round the town centre, creating a show for pedestrians as well as holding up other traffic.

Deputy editor James Walshe pulled strings at Radio 2 to get BBC traffic announcer Bobby Pryor to give out two bulletins warning of congestion in the town centre, giving Stornoway its first national traffic announcement ever.

Today the Practical Classics team is out and about around Harris, after spending yesterday afternoon and evening interviewing individual car owners for special features in the magazine.

Interviews with island classic owners are set to appear in the magazine throughout the winter, including special features on Kiwi Macleod’s red Jaguar XK150, Murdo Macleod’s Triumph Dolomite Sprint (described as ‘a work of art), a Cortina Mark 1 restored by Norman Maclean, Moto Plus, and an Escort Mark 1 Nimbus caravette restored by Ali ‘Nomie’ Macleod.

Daniel Hopkins said: “We would thoroughly recommend the islands as a destination for classic car drivers, especially in the winter, when there’s hardly anyone on the roads and you don’t get stuck behind a caravan.

“I love discovering new places and have travelled a lot in Britain, but I’ve never been here before. In terms of eye-candy it’s as good as anywhere on the planet – on the edge, extreme, bleak and with a wild beauty.

“We plan to visit the west side of Harris, the Bays road and Huisinis beach today (Wednesday) and we’re hoping to get a sunset shot with our own cars to round off our visit.”

Pictures show the classic cars gathered in Lews Castle grounds with island owners and the editorial team of Practical Classics in the front row (Judi Hayes and aerial shots by Christopher Mayers).

There are celebrations in the world of Gaelic culture today (Wednesday November 20th) after news of awards for islanders at last night’s Scottish Gaelic awards ceremony in Glasgow.

The Scottish Gaelic Awards reward all aspects of the Gaelic language and culture and the awards night was hosted by the Daily Record, alongside headline sponsor Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Broadcaster and Producer Cathy MacDonald announced recognition for Stornoway-based publishers Acair, who received the best contribution award for the individual, group or organisation that has contributed significantly towards the growth or development of the Gaelic language locally, nationally or internationally.

Acair posted later: “Thanks to all of Acair’s writers, illustrators, independent readers, proofers, editors, translators, designers and every other contributor at every stage of the publishing process.”

Meanwhile Marisa Macdonald and Sgoil an Rubha were recognised with a community, heritage and tourism award for the group, organisation, community or school that has done most to utilise Gaelic within its community, in highlighting its heritage.

The award was made for the production An Oidche mus do Sheol I, a successful community event in remembrance of the Iolaire tragedy, performed to acclaim at Sgoil an Rubha in November 2018.

Also celebrating were representatives of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Community Estate Trust) who were awarded recognition as event of the year at the award ceremony. The event, Dùthchas, was a week which celebrated language, culture and heritage in many different ways, including food and drink demonstrations, traditional skills and history and genealogy.

Posting the news today, a spokesman for UOG said: “It was a huge honour to pick up the event of the year award on behalf of our community for Dùthchas week at the Gaelic awards. A huge thank you to everyone who was involved - we’re very much looking forward to Dùthchas 2020!

The pictures show Fiona Rennie (left) and Shona Nic a' Mhaoilein of UOG at the awards ceremony (below) and pupils from Sgoil an Rubha performing their work (above).

Angus MacNeil, SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has echoed the First Minister’s call for Scotland to have an immigration system “fit for purpose and fit for Scotland’s needs”.

The Scottish Government has proposed that a Scottish visa should be introduced with the criteria and rules set in Scotland. The Scottish tax code is a current example of a residence-based framework within the UK. 

Regional immigration schemes operate successfully in other countries such as Australia and Canada. 

Commenting Angus MacNeil said: “Given depopulation and needs for labour in fisheries, Scotland needs to control migration and work visas so that our islands can become better off.

"Freedom of movement has enabled a number of people to come and make their homes here in the Islands and actively contribute to our communities, but we also know that is not enough.

"Currently, the UK Government allows five times more migration from the rest of the world than comes from EU Freedom of Movement, we just need to tailor this for Scotland and our islands. These people are crucial to our caring professions, to areas like our NHS, to tourism and of course fishing crews in our inshore waters, which the UK Gov has been working against.

“The SNP would prefer to see Scotland remain in Europe as voted for by more than 60% at the Brexit referendum.

“As the First Minister said, “leaving the EU, and ending freedom of movement, will not only be bad for our economy and our public services but will deprive Scots of our rights to live and work across Europe.”

 “No matter what happens with Brexit, we need a migration system fit for purpose and fit for Scotland’s needs."