A TORY council candidate has urged the electorate not to vote for him – claiming he was strong-armed into running by “buggers down south”.
Thomas Williamson is the official Conservative candidate for Lerwick North, Shetland, in the local elections on May 4.
But the 73-year-old denies agreeing to stand for office and claims his candidacy is based entirely on a call over a poor phone line with party officials on the mainland.
He has refused to release a manifesto or a picture of himself and called the situation a “cock-up”.
Speaking to a local newspaper, Mr Williamson claimed his political career started when he received a phone call from “buggers down south” on a “crackling line” and then had been “cut off”.
Mr Williamson insists he never signed anything indicating he intended to stand.
He said he was shocked when Shetland Islands Council published the list of candidates and he saw his own name.
When the local newspaper asked him if he hoped locals would not vote for him, he replied: “Yes.”
But Maurice Mullay, chairman of the Shetland Conservative Association, challenged Mr Williamson’s claims.
He said: “He certainly did agree to stand. I witnessed his signature on the nomination form.
“But it’s much too late for him to be removed, he will appear on the ballot paper.
“I believe if people stand they should be prepared to put their heart and soul into it.
“I think it’s possible that he might not have understood what he was agreeing to.”
The Scottish Conservatives also refuted Mr Williamson’s claim.
They 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.”
In the last Shetland Council elections, back in 2012, the Conservatives did not field any candidates and independents took all 22 seats.
Maurice Mullay himself stood back in 2007 but received just 159 votes and did not win a seat on the council.
In the most recent general election, in 2015, Donald Cameron stood for the Scottish Conservatives in the Orkney and Shetland seat.
He received 8.9% of the vote, and finished in third, behind the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.
Asked why theyr were fielding candidates now, when they had not done so in 2012, Mr Mullay explained: “In the earlier years, nobody was interested in standing.”
“Everybody has an opportunity to win.”
When asked if the party had grown in Shetland over the past five years, he added: “I wouldn’t say there has been an enormous change.”
As well as Mr Williamson, the Conservatives are fielding Isobel Johnson in the Lerwick North seat for the election.
The local newspaper reported that she was on holiday when they tried to contact her earlier this week.