The Tories are in such a mess one of their candidates has said ‘don’t vote for me!’

Theresa May Tories Mess
Steve Topple

A Conservative candidate has caused a storm in the party, after saying that people shouldn’t vote for him in the upcoming local elections.

You what?

Thomas Williamson is a Tory candidate for Lerwick North in the local council election. But he has so far refused to release a manifesto. And he has even said that he doesn’t want people to vote for him. He also claims he never wanted to stand for election in the first place.

The Conservative Party put Williamson down as a ‘paper candidate‘; that is, someone who has little chance of winning an election, but is just there to make up numbers. As The Shetland Times reported, Williamson claims he was called by “buggers doon sooth” (Tory HQ) about standing as a candidate. But he says the phone call was “cut off” halfway through, and that he never agreed to stand. He says the whole thing was a “cock up”; and that he only found out by chance when he noticed the Shetland Islands Council had published his name as a Tory candidate.

When The Shetland Times asked if he was hoping people would not vote for him, he simply said “yes”.

But…! We thought…!

But the Scottish Conservatives say none of this is true:

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.


So the Tories in Shetland appear to be in a bit of bother. But it perhaps reflects the nationwide chaos in the party. Three senior advisers to Theresa May have quit in the first week of election campaigning, and rumours of Tory in-fighting are dogging the party.

But never mind. In Shetland North, they also have another paper candidate, a “Mrs Johnson”, to rely on. Except she’s on her holidays at the moment, so she isn’t campaigning in the election either. Some would call that karma for the Tories.

This article was updated at 2.40pm on 25 April to reflect that “Mrs Johnson” is a Conservative candidate in Shetland North, not Lerwick North.

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