Rowley steps down from Fife House and heads to Holyrood

Alex Rowley will be at Fife House today (Friday) to tidy his desk and make preparations to hand over the hot seat before moving to the Scottish Parliament as the new MSP for Cowdenbeath.

He will stand down as leader of Fife Council following his 5400-majority win last night, and then step down as a councillor at the forthcoming European elections to focus on life at Holyrood.

SSFF 0214069 cowdenbeath by-election 'Cowdenbeath By-Election - Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour wins - Dalgety Bay Sports Centre, Dalgety Bay

SSFF 0214069 cowdenbeath by-election 'Cowdenbeath By-Election - Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour wins - Dalgety Bay Sports Centre, Dalgety Bay

Mr Rowley said: ‘‘I need to finalise everything and pull together anything that needs to be done and will then step down as leader.’’

The move means a change at the very top at Fife House where, as councillor, he leads the Labour administration.

His priority now will be to serve his new constituents in a west Fife seat which also takes in parts of Cardenden.

Mr Rowley’s win was emphatic.

He took the 1300 majority of the late Helen Eadie and raised it to 5488 on a night when just 34.81 per cent of the voters turned out - that’s almost ten per cent down on the 2011 poll.

He praised his team for a ‘‘first class’ and ‘‘very positive’’ campaign which saw Labour predicting a solid win even before the count started at Dalgety Bay Sports Centre.

‘‘We fought on the issues that people were taking about - their priorities.

‘‘In 18 months as a Council we invested in 400 apprenticeships. Imagine what we could achieve with a Scottish Government that focused on young people and investment in jobs. We will do that and we will do it now. That’s the message that came across in this constituency.’’

Mr Rowley touched on health care and the bedroom tax in his victory speech and called for ‘‘a better vision’’ for Scotland.

“Unemployment, opportunities for youths to get work, and deprivation. we have to tackle those issues - give our young people the skills to get jobs and have more opportunities.’’

The SNP vote crashed by 13 per cent, down from 10,679 in 2011 to 5704, but the party tweeted it was ‘‘as good as 2007.’’

There was better news for David Dempsey (Conservatives) who saw his party’s vote rise from 1792 in 2011 to 1893.

The other talking point of the night was UKIP easily knocking the Lib Dems into fifth place.

Denise Baykal’s 610 vote was comfortably ahead of Jade Holden who could only poll 425 - half the party’s vote two years ago.

The Lib Dems only managed to beat the Victims Final Right Party, and the Scottish Democratic Alliance, continuing their poor showings in elections across the Kingdom.

Full result:

Alex Rowley (Lab): 11,192 (share 55.79%, +9.33%)

Natalie McGarry (SNP): 5704 (28.43%, -13.17%)

Dave Dempsey (C): 1893 (9.44%, +2.45%)

Denise Baykal (UKIP): 610 (3.04%)

Jade Holden (LD): 425 (2.12%, -1.77%)

Stuart Graham (Victims): 187 (0.93%)

James Trolland (SDA): 51 (0.25%)

Lab maj: 5488 (27.36%)

11.25% swing SNP to Lab

Electorate 57,687

Turnout 20,062 (34.78%, -12.51%)