THE Labour led Administration have survived their first big test since taking control of Fife Council by holding onto the seat in the Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch by-election.
Labour’s John Wincott held on to the seat by a narrow 185 vote margin ahead of SNP candidate Keith Grieve, Conservative candidate Allan Smith coming third.
A win for SNP would have meant outright control of the Glenrothes Area committee giving them much of the decision making power within the town.
But there was jubilation and clear relief for Labour supporters as Fife Council’s chief executive Ronnie Hinds declared the result shortly before midnight.
Afterwards the new councillor praised his campaign staff and also the fellow candidates for a fair and well fought by-election campaign.
“It’s been a good result and I commend the other candidates, I feel it’s a good result not just for the people of the ward, but also the the people of Glenrothes as a whole”, added Mr Wincott.
The newly elected councillor also paid tribute to the late Bill Kay who’s death earlier this year sparked the by-election.
“The result is tinged with sadness, as every day throughout this campaign I’ve been reminded just how great a councillor Bill Kay was and how hard he worked for his constituents so it’s a big role to fill.
“I will do my upmost to try and represent all of my constituents and continue the many years of dedicated service Bill gave to Glenrothes.”
Labour deputy leader Councillor David Ross said the result was a clear mandate by the people of ward 15.
“We now got a a very good councillor who has a track record of working hard for the community.
The voters have given the Administration a clear endorsement of our work since taking office with this result tonight.”
SNP’s election agent Councillor John Beare said that while there was disappointment that their candidate Keith Grieve had not been elected it was the low turn out , just 29.21 per cent, that was also of concern.
“We mounted a good campaign and it was a close run result, with Labour retaining a sit they already held which is always difficult to overcome, but there were a lot of positive messages coming from talking to people on the doorstep.
“I’m equally disappointed by the turn out, we need to think of ways to get more voters to the ballot box.”
The night proved a dismal one for the Liberal Demecrats with their candidate Harry Wills back in fifth place polling just 83 votes and losing their deposit.
1 Wincott (Labour) 1896,
2 Grieve (SNP) 1711,
3 Smith (Conservative) 272,
4 Taggerty (UKIP) 176,
5 Wills (Liberal Democrats) 83.
25 spoilt ballot papers,