The Liberal Democrats have held on to win the Shetland by-election, despite a high-profile SNP campaign to win the Holyrood constituency.

The Lib Dems obtained 5,659 votes, ahead of the SNP on 3,827, given them a majority of 1,837. 

In a fiercely fought election, Beatrice Wishart was elected as the new MSP, but the Lib Dem majority was more than halved from 4,895 in 2016 with the SNP gaining a 14.4% swing.

The turnout was 66.5%, up from 62% in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election with 11,835 votes cast. 

HeraldScotland: Beatrice Wishart has made history by becoming the first female parliamentarian elected to represent the area.Beatrice Wishart has made history by becoming the first female parliamentarian elected to represent the area.

READ MORE: Tom Gordon: SNP could win in Shetland, but pay for it at Holyrood

Speaking after the result Ms Wishard said: “Shetland has once again rejected Scottish nationalism and shows that it is not taken in by the bullyboy tactics in order to get what is fair for this community.

“I shall be going down to Holyrood at the beginning of the week and shall be putting the issues to the Scottish government that have been raised at the doorstep.

“My work will start on Monday to get Scottish Government to take action on its empty promises such as fair ferry funding, to improve nursery provision, mental health care and broadband which were key strands of my positive campaign.”

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP campaigned hard in a bid to win the seat, with the First Minister visiting the islands on several occasions.

The Holyrood by-election was sparked by the resignation of Mr Scott, who quit politics in July to join Scottish Rugby. He had held the seat since devolution began in 1999. 

READ MORE: Will SNP efforts to unseat Lib Dems be enough for Shetland by-election victory

SNP candidate Tom Wills said that the result showed the SNP vote in Shetland was heading in the right direction saying: “It was my first time standing for anything for the SNP but it was our best result here so I am not going to beat myself up too much.

“I was not counting my chickens – there were so many unknowns with 10 candidates – there was a big range of candidates.”

Wills rejected the notion that the SNP had pushed too hard, saying that the level of activity had been “normal” for a by-election, incidentally the first in Shetland for 98 years.

Independent candidate Ryan Thomson came in third in the by-election, with 1,286 votes, ahead of Conservative Brydon Goodlad on 425, Green candidate Debra Nicolson on 189 and Labour’s Johan Adamson on 152.

Independent candidate Michael Stout polled 134 votes, with Ian Scott collecting 66, while UKIP candidate Stuart Martin secured 60 votes and independent Peter Tait picked up 31.

Shetland had been the safest seat in Scotland with the Lib Dems winning a 44.3% majority at the last Holyrood election in 2016.

The results in full 

Beatrice Wishart (Scottish Lib Dems) 5,659 (47.86%, -19.52%)

Tom Wills (SNP) 3,822 (32.32%, +9.27%)

Ryan Thomson (Independent) 1,286 (10.88%)

Brydon Goodlad (Scottish Conservative) 425 (3.59%, -0.07%)

Debra Nicolson (Green) 189 (1.60%)

Johan Adamson (Scottish Labour) 152 (1.29%, -4.61%)

Michael Stout (Independent) 134 (1.13%)

Ian Scott (Independent) 66 (0.56%)

Stuart Martin (UKIP) 60 (0.51%)

Peter Tait (Independent) 31 (0.26%)

14.40% swing Lib Dem to SNP

Electorate 17,810 - Turnout 11,824 (66.39%, up by 4.31%)