It’s all change for political landscape in St Andrews . .

Labour candidate for St Andrews Brian Thomson.
Labour candidate for St Andrews Brian Thomson.

The political landscape in St Andrews - like that across the whole of Fife - has taken on a new look following the results of the local government elections.

For the first time ever, the university town not only has an SNP member in retired Waid Academy schoolteacher Keith McCartney but, perhaps more surprisingly, its first Labour councillor, Brian Thomson.

Added to that in a day of shocks, two stalwarts of the previous Fife Council representing St Andrews - Bill Sangster and Robin Waterston - lost their seats, while Liberal Democrat colleague, Fife’s Provost Frances Melville, had a nail-biting few hours but eventually made it through at the fifth stage.

Conservative Dorothea Morrison also retained her seat at the same stage.

In the East Neuk and Landward, sitting LibDem members Elizabeth Riches and Donald Macgregor retained their seats, but Fife’s only UKIP councillor, Mike Scott-Hayward, was unsuccessful in a bid to keep his place on the council and lost out to John Docherty (SNP).

In the Tay Bridgehead, LibDems Maggie Taylor and Tim Brett were returned to the coucil, while Bill Connor (SNP) was also successful.

Commenting on his breakthrough in St Andrews, a delighted Keith McCartney said: ”It is a great honour and privilege to have been elected to serve the people of St Andrews and Strathkinness on Fife Council.

‘‘I take this responsibility very seriously and will endeavour to represent the interests of our community to the best of my ability.”

Also savouring his success, Brian Thomson told the Citizen: ”I am delighted and honoured to be elected as the first-ever Labour councillor for St Andrews and Strathkinness.

‘‘I would like to thank all who have given me such fantastic support throughout the election campaign, and I am looking forward to representing the whole community on Fife Council.

“The hard work now starts and, as part of the largest party on the council, I hope that we can get into a position to take forward our manifesto - which includes the delivery of a new build Madras College - and increasing the supply of affordable housing.”

His joy was shared by Councillor Morrison who said: ”I am delighted and honoured to have been elected once again to represent the residents of St Andrews and Strathkinness.

“Over the next five years I intend to work as tirelessly as I can to ensure the town remains as special as it is today.

‘‘I hope that at the end of this term we will actually have a new Madras or, preferably, a refurbished South Street building and a new build at the Tay bridgehead.


“Solving the issues which arise in this town is never easy, but I hope the four St Andrews councillors elected last week can work as well together as the four of us did last term.

“Lastly, I would like to add that there were nine candidates standing for election in this ward and each one dedicated a large part of their lives preparing for it. We had great candidates and the people of the town were very lucky to have had such a high calibre from which to choose.

‘‘I wish each of those who were unsuccessful the very best and, in particular, my two great friends Bill Sangster and Robin Waterston.”

Congratulating the successful candidates, Councillor Melville said: ”This was always going to be a difficult election and so it proved to be.

‘‘I am mightily relieved to be re-elected but saddened at the loss of two kind, generous and hard working colleagues – Bill Sangster and Robin Waterston.

“However, I offer my warmest congratulations to Dorothea on her re-election and to Keith and Brian on their election to the St Andrews and Strathkinness Ward and would offer my thanks to all those who voted for me.

“The council will be very different and, whatever happens, I have had a very enjoyable and challenging five years in my role as Provost of Fife and will look back at the many wonderful people I have met, events attended and the interesting moments chairing the full council meetings.”

Robin Waterston told the Citizen: ”I have very much enjoyed representing the people of St Andrews ward over the last five years. It has been a time of challenge and change.

“The challenges of the next five years will be even greater as Fife Council seeks to find ways of delivering crucial services in different ways and with fewer resources.

‘‘The challenge of resolving the future of Madras College will be of great importance. I wish the four elected councillors every success in giving St Andrews and Strathkinness a strong voice in the council.”

A disappointed Bill Sangster added: ”I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over these past nine years. I have enjoyed the experience and will miss the day-to-day involvement.

“During this period there have been many major improvements in our community and I hope that this process can continue. I hope that the four separate parties now in place can forget politics locally and work together for the good of St Andrews and Strathkinness and wish all the elected councillors well.”

There was a dramatic slump in the turnout against that of 2007, at just over 30 per cent compared with more than 47 per cent five years ago, while the number of votes cast was down from 6628 to 4411 out of an electorate of 14,434.

n So, If the saga of Madras College played a prominent role in the outcome of the St Andrews ward, it also made no less clearer what the views of the townspeople are as to the future of secondary school educational provision in the town - a new build as proposed by Brian Thomson or a redeveloped Kilrymont site supported by Keith McCartney.

Did the national trend of Lib Dems bashing affect the St Andrews result? Or was it further compounded by issues like the party’s change of policy against developing a two-site Madras with schools at the Tay bridgehead and St Andrews; Did the Lib Dems lose votes from students at St Andrews University over its controversial HMO policy? Did the low turnout affect the result? Let’s hear your views.

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