Falkirk by-election: Candidates launch campaigns to clinch council seat

Campaigning is already well underway in the by-election to decide who will represent the Falkirk South ward on Falkirk Council – despite the fact that the Labour Party has not yet chosen its candidate.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 12:47 pm

SNP candidate Emma Russell has been taking her message out to voters on Falkirk High Street, where she and her team have been campaigning for the past two Saturdays.

Conservative candidate Sarah Patrick’s team, meanwhile, have been busy delivering her newsletter to local homes.

The by-election was caused by the surprise resignation of Labour councillor Pat Reid, a former Provost of Falkirk, who announced that he was standing down at the beginning of August.

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Pic: Robert Perry

That leaves the Falkirk South ward – which includes Hallglen, Bantaskin and the town centre – represented by the SNP’s Lorna Binnie and the Conservatives’ John Patrick.

The by-election to decide who will fill the vacancy is to be held on October 14.

The SNP’s Emma Russell, who lives in the ward, is a human resources adviser and former vice-chair of the dementia services charity Town Break.

Ms Russell, who is the SNP’s Falkirk South organiser, said: “This is a critical time for Falkirk South, and Falkirk district, as we navigate our way to recovery from the pandemic.

“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.

“I look forward to getting out and speaking to people across the ward, listening to their concerns, and working to make sure they can rely on me and the SNP to continue delivering for our communities.”

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The Conservatives, meanwhile, have chosen Sarah Patrick. who was born in Falkirk and has lived in the area her whole life.

She is a member of the International volunteers charity the Soroptimists, an Elder at Falkirk Trinity Church, and an enthusiastic supporter of Falkirk Football Club.

And if elected, she’ll be part of an unusual double act as her father, Councillor John Patrick, has served the same ward for 20 years.

Ms Patrick says she wants to follow in his footsteps and “be a strong representative for all in Falkirk South”.

As a Councillor, she says she would “seek to serve her constituency first and fight for a fair funding deal from Falkirk Council”.

In her campaign, Ms Patrick has been asking people how they feel about local issues such as empty shops in Falkirk High Street, grass-cutting around the district and potholes.

Prospective candidates have until 4pm on Monday, September 13 to submit nomination papers.

The Labour Party is expected to announce its candidate early next week.

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