Falkirk South by-election: Four candidates bid to represent ward

Four candidates are competing to become the new councillor for Falkirk South in a by-election that will be held on October 14.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 10:27 am

It was triggered when Labour councillor and former Provost Pat Reid, who had represented the ward since 2002, surprised everyone with his resignation in August.

The new councillor will represent the ward alongside SNP councillor Lorna Binnie and Conservative councillor John Patrick.

Falkirk South includes Hallglen, Tamfourhill, Bantaskin and Falkirk town centre as far as Rosebank.

The by election will take place next month

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Who are the candidates?

Scottish National Party (SNP), Emma Russell

Emma Russell, who lives in Falkirk South, has a degree in Business and is studying towards a Masters in Human Resources (HR).

Stuart Duffin, Scottish Greens

She works providing HR advice and information for a global company and is a former vice-chair of the dementia services charity, Town Break.

She said: “This is a time for real solutions to the real problems that we all face. Falkirk South needs a hard-working councillor willing to help build the recovery that we need.

“My track record in shaping services for people in our communities, through my work with Town Break and other organisations, gives me lived experience of what is needed and how we can achieve better.”

Having started her campaign quickly, she says she and her team have had a good, positive response.

James Marshall, Scottish Labour

“I would say that Covid recovery, business recovery and town centre regeneration are the main issues that I’m hearing about,” she said.

If elected in this by-election, Emma is looking forward to working closely with her SNP colleague Lorna Binnie.

Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party, Sarah Patrick

Sarah Patrick was born and still lives in the Falkirk South ward, where she also works as a solicitor.

Emma Russell, Scottish National Party

She is a member of the Soroptomists, an elder with Falkirk Trinity Church and a keen supporter of Falkirk FC.

If elected in she would be in the unusual position of sharing a ward with her dad, Conservative councillor John Patrick who has been a councillor for 25 years.

In her campaign, she has been asking people for feedback on issues that are important to them.

She said: “People are raising things that seem mundane issues but they affect people’s day to day lives – like the conditions of the roads and the pavements.

“Litter, fly tipping and dog fouling are also a nuisance for many people. There is also general concern about the state of the town centre. I understand these concerns because I have lived in this area all my life so these are my concerns too.”

Sarah Patrick, Scottish Conservative

James Marshall, Scottish Labour Party

James Marshall, who lives in Denny, is now retired but has 30 years experience in waste management and recycling. He was formerly a community councillor in Denny and if elected, he has a list of things he would like to see change.

“Hall closures, the state of the roads, weeds growing through the gutters – the place is just a shambles,” he said.

He is particularly concerned about recycling centres being closed two days a week and intends to fight for this to be reversed.

James said: “I want to be in a position to ask why councils are not being properly funded, why is SNP /Tory austerity still inflicted on councils? Cuts to Councils equals cuts to communities and we must try as hard as we can to reverse this draconian trend.”

Stuart Duffin, Scottish Green Party

Green Party candidate Stuart Duffin lives in Falkirk South. Across his career, he has worked in the not-for-profit sector to secure peoples’ rights and

access to justice: whether that is housing, employment, education, equality, or citizenship.

Stuart has helped to shape public policy and practices for local, national, and international governments.

Stuart said: “In Falkirk we are proud of our industrial past. We must now be leaders in our Green industrial future with investment in jobs, in clean energy, warm homes and public transport.”

He added: ‘I am passionate about people and communities and involving them

about decisions which impact on them. Our Scottish Green transformation for Falkirk will enable us to invest in the infrastructure needed to produce clean energy, warm homes, and decent public transport, creating green secure jobs where they are sorely needed, bringing new and sustainable industry.”

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