Falkirk Council: New Labour councillor, 22, could be Falkirk's youngest ever

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Six new Labour councillors elected to Falkirk Council on Thursday include one believed to be Falkirk’s youngest ever.

Euan Stainbank, 22 – a law graduate who is currently working in a Falkirk restaurant – regained the Falkirk South seat for Labour after the party lost it in last year’s by-election, held when Pat Reid resigned.

And he said many people seemed to see his age as a positive, bringing new energy to the council chamber.

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He added: “The one think you’ve definitely seen on the doorstep is young people after the pandemic are thinking far more locally and they actually care – they see the issues that we’re talking about are impacting us as much as everyone else.”

Elected councillors for Falkirk South, Sarah Patrick, Euan Stainbank and Lorna Binnie.Elected councillors for Falkirk South, Sarah Patrick, Euan Stainbank and Lorna Binnie.
Elected councillors for Falkirk South, Sarah Patrick, Euan Stainbank and Lorna Binnie.

The SNP’s Lorna Binnie topped the poll, followed closely by Conservative Sarah Patrick – but Mr Stainbank’s result crushed the SNP’s hopes of getting Emma Russell re-elected.

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After his win, he said that he is now looking forward to working not just with the Labour group but also with his ward colleagues, Lorna and Sarah.

“It is our duty to be on the ball for the next five years for the people of Falkirk!” he said.

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He is joined in the Labour group by 26-year-old Jack Redmond, a college lecturer in joinery, who reclaimed a seat for the party in the Bonnybridge and Larbert ward.

Speaking after the victory, Mr Redmond admitted he was in shock at the result.

He said: “It’s good to take back Bonnybridge and Larbert – maybe things are starting to change, although we’ve still got a way to go.”

He’s hoping that eventually the signs of recovery for Labour will start to be seen at a national level.

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“I think we’ve had too many cuts under the SNP – it would be good to see a Labour government coming in that’s going to fight against cuts and help people out with the cost of living crisis,” he said.

The only Labour councillor to top the poll in their ward was Anne Hannah, who now represents the Lower Braes.

She took over from Labour’s Alan Nimmo, who successfully stood to represent Grangemouth where he lives.

Speaking after the vote, Ms Hannah said that she and the Labour team had worked hard for their victories.

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“I parked my job and worked very hard on the campaign and that’s the way I’m going to be a councillor as well – I’m going to be a full-time councillor and do my very best to represent the Lower Braes and the people of Falkirk.”

She admitted that on the campaign trail she had been “cashing in” on the young members of the team by telling the young people she met about Labour’s youth manifesto.

“I think people are fed up with what’s been happening in this area – I was saying that on the doorstep and people were saying ‘yes, it’s been terrible’.

Another new face is the new Upper Braes councillor Siobhan Paterson who said she was happy with the results although very disappointed that two Labour candidates had not been elected as “we worked so well as a team”.

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Another 22-year-old, Robbie Burgess, who stood in Falkirk North was narrowly beaten by the Conservatives – after the transfers were taken into account, he missed out on a seat by just 18 votes.

Ms Paterson said that during the campaign, they had had good feedback from people “who are looking for change”.

“I don’t know if it’s the pandemic and people are more politically aware, but I think people are looking for change,” she said.

While the Labour group still has just nine councillors out of 30, the new members have given the party some energy after a difficult period when three resignations saw them end the last term with just six councillors.

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Labour’s share of the vote this time was 23 per cent, almost identical to 2017 when it took 23.1 per cent – and this time ahead of the Conservatives.

However, that’s still significantly behind the SNP, which took 39.7 per cent of the vote, a very slight improvement on its 2017 results when it had 38.8 per cent.