Scottish Nationalists are celebrating this morning after their candidate Craig Walker convincingly won the Glenrothes West and Kinglassie by-election.
Crucially the win, by 896 votes, means the SNP have seized control of the town’s area committee which could have huge ramifications for the whole of Glenrothes.
Craig Walker the SNP candidate received 2,539 votes, 54 per cent of the overall total, well ahead of his nearest rival Labour’s Alan Seath who polled 1,643.
John Wheatley Conservative ran in third with 202 votes ahead of UK Independence Party candidate Martin Green with 146 while it was once again a dismal night for Liberal Democrats with their candidate Jane Ann Liston securing just 61, there were 40 spoiled ballot papers.
Understandably delighted by the result, Mr Walker said the overriding message from constituents on the doorstep had been that there was a feeling of not being listened too.
“People have told me they are tired of this administration not listening too their concern and not consulting on local issues,” said Mr Walker.
“That will now change because the one thing I will do beyond anything else is listen to the people.”
Councillor Peter Grant, who is the SNP’s local candidate in the forthcoming general election on May 7 said the result was a fantastic one for everyone who had been involved in the campaign,
He added: “The situation is same locally as it is nationally, there is a clear indication now that the people trust the SNP with their vote, other parties have lost that.”
The election was triggered by the death of Labour councillor Betty Campbell who had represented the ward since 2007. Her death left the balance on the area committee finely balanced with five councillors apiece for Labour and the SNP.
...the one thing I will do beyond anything else is listen to the peopleCraig Walker
There was clear disappointment from the Labour ranks following the result, David Ross, leader of Fife Council and the Labour candidate Alan seath’s campaign agent blamed the result on the influence of national situation.
“We now need to put the message out that come the general election any other vote other than for Labour will put the Tories back in power,” said Mr Ross.
Councillor Altany Craik, chairman of the Glenrothes area committee, echoed his leader’s sentiments adding: “It’s been a difficult campaign and the warning now is that if the vote goes the same way in May we will certainly end up with another Conservative government, we must do all we can to prevent that.”
With the SNP taking control of the area committee it is expected Cllr Craik will now step down from his position as area chairman or else almost certainly face a vote of confidence that would force him out of the position.