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Five candidates have put themselves forward to represent Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

ALLAN Alasdair James – Scottish National Party (SNP)

BERKENHEGER Gavin – The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

FRASER Shaun Alexander – Scottish Labour Party

MACMILLAN Callum Ian

MITCHISON Neil – Scottish Liberal Democrats

The poll will be held on Thursday 6th May 2021 between 7am and 10pm.

Electors in the Western Isles who plan to vote by post in the Scottish Parliament Election on Thursday 6 May 2021 are encouraged to register as soon as possible by filling in the postal application form and sending it to the Electoral Registration Officer.

Abigail Taylor

Malcolm Burr, Returning Officer, said: “Everyone is entitled to vote by post. You can apply for a postal vote for one election, for a set time or for this and all future Elections.

To apply for a postal vote you should contact the Electoral Registration Officer on 01851 706262 or you can download a Postal Vote Application Form. For the Scottish Parliament Election, there is a deadline to apply for a postal or postal proxy vote: 5.00pm on Tuesday 6th April 2021.”

Voting by post means that any ballot papers you require will be sent to your chosen address around 5-14 days before the election. Your postal pack must be returned by the close of poll, 10pm on Thursday 6th May 2021.

Mr Burr said: “Your postal pack will contain ballot papers, instruction on how to complete your Ballot Paper(s) and a Postal Voting Statement which requires your signature and date of birth (unless you have applied for and been granted a signature waver). The completed Postal Voting Statement must be returned with your ballot paper(s) for your vote to be valid.”

Postal packs can also be returned to any Polling Station within the constituency.

The deadline to register to vote is Monday 19th April 2021.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced changes to the current level four coronavirus restrictions. 

Abigail Taylor

Nicola Sturgeon addressed parliament on Tuesday 9th March 2021, explaining that up to four adults from two households will be able to meet locally in any outdoor space, including in private gardens, for social and recreational purposes as well as exercise from Friday 12th March 2021.

Changes were also made to outdoor sports, meaning that up to 15 adults can take part in outdoor non contact activity.

The First Minister acknowledged the speed of the vaccine rollout and that ‘the vaccination programme is progressing beyond our initial expectations’.  

It is believed that should progress suppressing the virus continue, the Scottish Government intends to reopen places of worship with attendance limits increased from 20 to 50 where there is space for social distancing on Friday 26th March 2021. 

Following backlash for Scotland’s roadmap out of the pandemic being too slow, this announcement will be the first set of rules to be reduced.

The First Minister explained: “I expect that further, more substantial changes will be possible in the weeks ahead, and I will set out as much detail as I can about that in Parliament next week. If the data allows us to relax more restrictions more quickly than we have previously indicated, we will not hesitate to do so.”

This change came with caution as the First Minister urged the nation to stick to the new rules: “I am certain that easing restrictions too quickly would be a mistake that we would regret. So do take advantage of the relaxations set out today. But please continue to stay within the rules.”

Ms Sturgeon also paid tribute to the people who had lost their life to the virus in the past 24 hours as well as acknowledging the upcoming anniversary of the national lockdown. 

She announced that there would be a national moment of silence on Tuesday 23 March to pay respect to those who had died as a result of the pandemic.