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The state of ferry services to the Western Isles became a point of conflict in the ongoing election campaign for the Scottish Parliament today (Sunday April 18).  

The Labour Party candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Shaun Fraser, today demanded an immediate statement from SNP Ministers on the crisis caused by the breakdown of MV Loch Seaforth.

Mr Fraser said:  "My information is that the Loch Seaforth will be out of action for at least six weeks – rather than the two that have so far been admitted to.  If this is confirmed, the implications for the islands' economy will be devastating.

"Before another vote is cast, SNP Ministers must come clean on the scale of the damage their neglect has created, not only for Lewis but the whole islands' chain.

"South Uist and Barra are at least as badly affected by the whole debacle."

Mr Fraser said: "If the six weeks timescale is confirmed, there can be absolutely no hiding place for the SNP on chartering a back-up.

"It is a dereliction of duty that this did not happen long ago."

Meanwhile, ballot papers for postal voters in Na h-Eileanan an Iar have started arriving on doormats, ready for the Scottish Parliament election on Thursday 6 May 2021.

Malcolm Burr, Constituency Returning Officer, said: “When you receive your postal voting pack, make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully before completing your ballot papers. Don’t forget to include your date of birth and signature on the postal voting statement.  Follow the instructions in the pack to make sure your vote counts”

“Postal ballot papers must be received by the Returning Officer by 10pm on Thursday 6 May 2021.  As soon as you have completed your ballot papers and postal vote statement place it in the envelope provided and return it to make sure that it is received in good time.”

Name of Candidate

Description of Candidate

ALLAN, Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)

BERKENHEGER, Gavin

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

FRASER, Shaun Alexander

Scottish Labour Party

MACMILLAN, Callum Ian

Time for Change

MITCHISON, Neil

Scottish Liberal Democrats