A TORY MSP “should be ashamed” after lending support to Shetland’s exploration of self-determination options while defending the Tories’ power grab on Holyrood, a minister has said.

Shetland Islands Council passed a motion calling for them to look at how they could achieve “political and financial self-determination”.

The motion, put forward by council leader Steven Coutts, stated there is concern that centralised decision-making “is seriously threatening the prosperity, and sustainability, of Shetland as a community”.

Coutts felt representatives are still discussing the same issues after years, for example fears over ferry funding.

The motion passed by 18 to two, and received support from the local SNP councillor.

READ MORE: Shetland 'exploring options' for self-determination as councillors back motion

However Unionist commentators and politicians have been quick to jump on the story. Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston was one of those, saying it was “no wonder islanders have run out patience” with Holyrood.

The Conservative said there was a “growing frustration” across island communities that the “Scottish Government neither understands nor cares for their particular needs”.

After the vote said: “Nicola Sturgeon only shows up when there is an election on and the positive words around the Islands Act have too often not been reflected in actions.

“Over 13 years of SNP Government in Edinburgh, countless promises have been made to our island communities but few are ever delivered. It’s no wonder islanders have run out of patience.

“Shetland’s geography and history have made it a distinct community within Scotland and the UK. I hope that a positive discussion can be had on the future of the islands, and Scotland’s other island communities as well.”

He added that it is “clear that the current arrangements, where so much power is centralised in Edinburgh and the needs of Shetland often ignored, is some distance from where Shetlanders want to be”.

The National:

While Maree Todd, the SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said it was up to Shetland to make these kinds of decisions about its future, she added she was “astounded” by Johnston’s comments.

“The principle of self-determination is rooted at the heart of the SNP, so of course I am fully supportive of local decisions being made by the local people they impact,” Todd told The National.

“The Islands Bill was a great step forward for Shetland and there is work to be done to ensure that the principles of ‘island proofing’ are fully adopted. The initiative also set a precedent for Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles to work closer together in their commons interests – I want to see more of this.”

But she went on: “However, it is astounding that Jamie Halcro-Johnson backs greater autonomy for communities in Scotland, while in the same breath defends his Tory bosses, some 700 miles away at Westminster, as they rip up the current devolution settlements of the UK. He should be ashamed."

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Independence is our only protection from power grab

Todd was referencing the Internal Market Bill – the legislation which the UK admits will breach international law, but also impacts the devolved nations.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said only independence will be able to protect the Scottish Parliament against the power grab, which she called “an abomination” set to “cripple devolution”.

All 31 Scottish Tory MSPs voted in favour of the legislation at Holyrood, while every other party opposed the bill.