Labour claims first blood in Glasgow

 

The first results in the Scottish council elections have been declared.

Counting got under way this morning after voters across the country went to the polls yesterday.

A total of 1,223 seats are up for grabs, with the single transferable vote system being used to elect councillors and electronic counting used to determine the winners.

In the key battleground of Glasgow, Labour scored an early victory.

Before the election the party was reduced to a minority administration at Glasgow City Council, and the SNP mounted a major campaign in a bid to win power there.

But in the first ward to be declared in the city, two of the three councillors elected were Labour.

Both Stephen Curran and Emma Gillan were elected to represent the Newlands-Auldburn ward, along with Josephine Docherty from the SNP.

Turnout in the ward was 38%, with 199 rejected ballot papers.

The first ward declared in Renfrewshire Council also saw two Labour councillors elected, along with one from the SNP.

The SNP had run the council in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

In the Renfrew North ward, Bill Brown and Alexander Murrin of Labour were both voted in, along with Nationalist Bill Perrie.

Turnout in the ward, where Local Government Minister Derek Mackay has been a councillor, was 42.8%.

Another early ward to be declared was Kyle in South Ayrshire Council where the Conservatives had formed a minority administration before yesterday's election.

There voters returned one SNP, one Labour and one Tory councillor. After the results were announced, Nationalist John Allan, Andy Campbell of Labour and Conservative Hywel Davies were all elected.

At North Lanarkshire Council - part of Labour's traditional Scottish heartland - four of the six councillors elected in the first two wards declared were from Labour.

Both the Motherwell West and Kilsyth wards returned two Labour representatives, along with one from the SNP.

In Motherwell West, Paul Kelly and Michael Ross were elected for Labour, with the SNP's Annette Valentine.

Meanwhile in the Kilsyth area, Jean Jones and Heather McVey of Labour were declared as councillors, as was Nationalist Alan Stevenson.

In Inverclyde, the first ward declared saw two Labour councillors elected, with one Tory and one Nationalist.

Before yesterday's election the council had been run by a coalition involving the three main unionist parties, with one independence councillor.

In the Inverclyde East ward, the SNP's John Macleod was elected, with Stephen McCabe and James McColgan from Labour and David Wilson of the Conservatives.

The first Green councillor elected north of the border was former MSP Mark Ruskell, voted into the Dunblane and Bridge of Allan ward of Stirling Council.

In Glasgow, Gail Sheridan, wife of shamed former MSP Tommy Sheridan, failed to get elected. Mrs Sheridan, whose husband was jailed for perjury, stood for his Solidarity party in the Cardonald and Craigton ward.

Afterwards she said: "I was told I missed out very narrowly, so I'm very pleased with fifth place. The two big parties are taking the vote today. I beat the Tories, the Liberals and Green party."

Mr Sheridan tipped Labour to beat the SNP to become the largest party when all 21 wards are declared. He said First Minister Alex Salmond's relationship with media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has turned voters away from the SNP in Glasgow, a traditional Labour stronghold.

Mr Sheridan said: "The SNP's bandwagon has maybe stuttered here. Mr Salmond's relationship with Mr Murdoch has got something to do with it."

David Meikle, the city's only Conservative councillor, held on to his seat.

He said: "It was a hard-fought campaign. If I'm still the only one I'll obviously fight hard for my area."

In Glasgow, Labour pulled ahead of its SNP rivals after the first declarations.

However, SNP depute leader Nicola Sturgeon said she remains positive, adding: "We've picked up two seats on the way, in Craigton and Greater Pollok. We're pretty much on track at this stage of the game.

"We're going to make real progress."

Meanwhile, in the City of Edinburgh Council where the Liberal Democrats are in administration with the Nationalists, three councillors were elected in the first ward declared: one Tory, one SNP and one Lib Dem.

Conservative Lindsay Paterson, Norman Work of the SNP and Alistair Shields of the Liberal Democrats were all voted in to represent the Almond constituency.

In Fife, Jim Leishman, director of football at Dunfermline Athletic, was elected as a Labour councillor. He won 1,608 first-preference votes in the Dunfermline Central ward, the largest number of any of the candidates there.

The former professional footballer was backed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former First Minister Henry McLeish in his campaign.

PA

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