NICOLA Sturgeon has gambled on a long-shot SNP win in this month’s Shetland byelection after linking the result to support for independence.

On her second visit to Holyrood’s most northerly seat, the First Minister said a vote for the SNP on August 29 would be “a vote to decide our own future”.

However Ms Sturgeon may have set herself up for a fall, as Shetland has voted Liberal or Liberal Democrat since 1950.

Former Scottish LibDem leader Tavish Scott held it in 2016 with the biggest relative majority in the country, winning 67.4 per cent of the vote compared to the SNP’s 23.1%.

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He stood down as an MSP after 20 years in June to become head of external affairs at Scottish Rugby.

Campaigning with SNP candidate Tom Wills at the Cunningsburgh Show, Ms Sturgeon said: “A vote for the Tom at this by-election will make a real difference and help send a strong message to Boris Johnson that Shetland won’t stand for Brexit. Scotland’s future cannot be for Westminster to decide.

“A vote for the SNP on 29th August is a vote to decide our own future.”

Mr Wills added: “I’ll keep working hard for every vote and aim to achieve the SNP’s best ever election result in Shetland. Send a message of hope for the future and vote SNP.”

Also at Cunningsburgh Show, LibDem candidate Beatrice Wishart set out a five-point plan to help local farmers and crofters, and criticised the SNP over slow farm payments.

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She said: “Crofting and farming are critical parts of Shetland’s economy but everyone knows that without support payments there is not much of a living to be made.

“The inability of the Scottish Government in recent years to make Single Farm Payments on time caused real hardship and massive anxiety for many crofters and farmers in Shetland.

“People in Shetland have every right to demand better from the Scottish and UK governments. Unless they learn to put aside their differences and both act in the best interest of the sector then the consequences of more bad decisions could be catastrophic.

“As Shetland’s MSP, I would fight for access to markets, to protect the designations of our world class food and drink sector, and to end the threat of tariffs of up to 40% by demanding a no-deal Brexit is immediately taken off the table.”