Scottish leader ponders `setback' setback'

Conservatives lose control of 6 councils where they held overall majority

BY JOHN ARLIDGE

Scotland Correspondent

Embattled Scottish Tories suffered electoral humiliation at the hands of Labour and the Scottish National Party in Thursday's local elections.

With just 11 per cent of the vote and 82 of the 1,161 councillors elected, the Tories lost control of all six councils where they had an overall majority. They no longer provide any local services in Scotland.

The Conservatives' share of the vote dropped 3 per cent from last year's regional elections and was less than half the 25 per cent they won at the last general election.

Sir Michael Hirst, chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, described the results as "a very severe setback". But he said Scots Tories had "suffered mid-term difficulties before. We have come back to confound the critics in the past and we shall do so again at the next election".

Labour on 47 per cent - their highest share of the vote in Scottish local elections - won an overwhelming political victory, taking control of 20 of the new 29 single-tier authorities. With 614 councillors, the party will provide local services for four out of every five Scots from Ayrshire to Aberdeen.

Following Tony Blair's Clause IV victory over party traditionalists at the Scottish Labour conference in Inverness last month, George Robertson, its Scottish spokesman, said the results was "an overwhelming victory for New Labour in Scotland".

The Scottish National Party, on 26 per cent, down from 33 per cent in last year's European elections, had a disappointing night. With 182 councillors, the nationalists won control of Moray, Angus and Perthshire and Kinross but they lost control of West Lothian and won just one seat in Glasgow.

Although the SNP failed to make inroads into Labour's central-belt heartland, the Perthshire and Kinross result means the party is set to win the forthcoming parliamentary by-election.

Alex Salmond, the party leader, said the victory in Perthshire was "the jewel in the SNP's local election crown".

The Liberal Democrats, on 10 per cent, failed to win a single council. But with 123 councillors spread across Scotland, Jim Wallace, the Scottish party leader, said it had established "firm bridgeheads for further advance".

The tradition of independent councils continued in the Highlands and Islands and the Borders. Some 150 independent councillors formed the majority in Borders, Highland, and Argyll and Bute councils.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk