Falkirk Council: Round up of all the results and reaction

SNP efforts to win a majority on Falkirk Council were thwarted as they failed to take overall control, despite winning the largest share of the votes and 12 of the council’s 30 seats.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporter
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 12:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 1:20 pm

The Conservatives saw their numbers cut from seven to five, while Labour increased their share of the vote to claim second place and retain nine councillors.

But while the arithmetic isn’t too different, there were plenty of new faces elected to Falkirk Council, each promising to concentrate on local issues and work together for change.

SNP group leader, Cecil Meiklejohn – who herself won a comfortable victory with 2260 first preference votes – took comfort in the fact that the SNP vote held up well from 2017.

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SNP councillors elected to Falkirk Council (missing David Balfour). Pic: Michael Gillen

She said: “We know that with the prospect of a referendum unionist votes are high and they are more focused on that than they are on local issues.

“We’ve maintained our position as of 2017 and we’re still the largest group so we’ll need to see how the dust settles following the election and what the future will hold.”

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Both Conservative losses went to Independent candidates – former SNP depute provost Ann Ritchie saw a huge vote in Bo’ness and Blackness where she stood as an Independent, taking 2262 votes.

The successful Labour candidates who are now councillors.

With Stacey Devine taking a seat for the SNP and David Aitchison holding for Labour, there was no place for the Conservative’s Lynn Munro.

In Denny and Banknock, the SNP duo of Paul Garner and Fiona Collie were comfortably returned and Labour’s Alf Kelly took the place vacated by Jim Blackwood.

Brian McCabe – a former councillor – returned to deny the Conservative’s Nigel Harris a second term.

The campaign saw Labour energised with a team of new candidates and they were delighted with the new team that emerged following the vote.

The five Conservative councillors elected to Falkirk Council.

Group leader Robert Bissett said: “It’s a fantastic result for Labour – the vote has gone up across the wards and we’re still the second largest party.

“We have got some great new councillors including three younger councillors who will bring fresh blood.

“It will be a different Labour group from the past and we look forward to the next five years with vigour and enthusiasm and we hope to bring about change and challenge the cuts.”

Display of newly elected councillors for Falkirk Council.

There were other familiar faces with Independent Billy Buchanan topping the poll in Bonnybridge and Larbert and Robert Spears returned in Grangemouth.

The other new councillors in Bonnybridge and Larbert include 26-year-old Jack Redmond who reclaimed the seat Labour lost in 2017.

The SNP’s Bryan Deakin took 1212 votes but despite getting 1038 votes – ahead of Labour on first preference votes – Conservative David Grant did not get enough transfer votes to reclaim his seat.

There was an upset in the Lower Braes ward where the SNP’s Adanna McCue – who has been the party’s education spokesperson lost her seat.

Labour’s Anne Hannah topped the poll, with Conservative James Kerr second and new candidate Gordon Forrest taking the third spot for the SNP.

Conservative group leader James Kerr said he was sad to have lost three former councillors but delighted to welcome new members to the fold.

Sarah Patrick took her father John’s place representing Falkirk South; fuel poverty campaigner Claire Brown won in the Upper Braes; and James Bundy won a seat in Falkirk North for the first time.

Mr Kerr said: “We campaigned hard and we tried to concentrate on local issues – we were quite happy with the responses we got door to door.

There was no sign of any kind of surge for the other parties on the ballot, the Greens polling in the low hundreds, while the Liberal Democrats struggled to get much traction.

And there was no cause for celebration for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party for Independence – their best result was in Falkirk North where Zohaib Arshad picked up 294 first preference votes.

Former Labour candidate John McLuckie was unsuccesful in his bid to be elected as an Independent candidate, after he was deselected by his local Labour party.

UKIP candidate Stuart Martin got just 27 votes in Grangemouth, where the SNP’s David Balfour topped the poll and Alan Nimmo successfully swapped wards to replace Allyson Black and retain Labour’s seat.

The next few days will see the winners decide how the new administration will look – and with so many new faces in the mix, that’s something that no-one is offering any predictions on the moment.

Full voting results

Ward 1 – Bo’ness and Blackness (turnout 45.6 per cent)

David Aitchison, Scottish Labour Party, 1041 First Preference votesStacey Devine, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1202 FPvLynn Munro, scottish Conservative & Unionist, 843 FPvDebra Pickering, Scottish Green Party , 136 FPvNicholas William Pitts, Scottish Literal Democrats, 90 FPvAnn Ritchie, Independent, 2262 FPv

Ann Ritchie (Ind), Stacey Devine (SNP) and David Aitchison (Lab) elected

Ward 2 – Grangemouth (turnout 40.5 per cent)

David Balfour, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1808 First Preference votesMarc Bozza, Independent 157 FPvMandy Bryson, Scottish Conservative & Unionist, 685 FPvJohn Haston, Scottish National Party (SNP), 454 FPvStuart Martin, UKIP, 27 FPvAlan Nimmo, Scottish Labour Party, 1179 FPvRobert Spears, Independent, 611 FPvRhys Stenhouse, Scottish Green Party, 122 FPv

David Balfour (SNP), Alan Nimmo (Lab), Robert Spears (Ind)

Ward 3 – Denny and Banknock (41.7 per cent)

Fiona Collie, Scottish National Party (SN), 1084 First Preference votesPaul Garner, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1868 FPvNigel Harris, Scottish Conservative and Unionis, 1026 FPvRachel Hart, Scottish Green Party, 200 FPvAlf Kelly, Scottish Labour Party, 889 FPvJames Marshall, Scottish Labour Party, 423 FPvBrian McCabe, Independent, 860 FPv

Fiona Collie (SNP), Paul Garner (SNP), Alf Kelly (Lab), Brian McCabe (Ind) elected

Ward 4 – Carse, Kinnaird and Tryst (42.5 per cent)

Margaret Anslow, Scottish Labour Party 1762 First preference votesGary Bouse, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1961 FPvJames Flynn, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1081 FPvRobert Kemp, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 646 FPvSean Patrick McCay, Scottish Liberal Democrats, 207 FPvTom McLaughlin, Scottish Green Party, 297 FPvLaura Murtagh, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1224 FPv

Margaret Anslow (Lab), Gary Bouse (SNP), James Flynn (Con), Laura Murtagh (SNP) elected

Ward 5 – Bonnybridge and Larbert (turnout 43.8 per cent)

Billy Buchanan, Independent, 1423 First Preference votesBryan Deakin, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1212 FPvDavid Grant, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1038Jim Muir, Scottish National Party (SNP), 700Jack Redmond, Scottish Labour Party, 993David Robertson, Scottish Green Party, 277

Billy Buchanan (Ind), Bryan Deakin (SNP), Jack Redmond (Lab) elected

Ward 6 – Falkirk North (turnout 39.6 per cent)

Zohaib Arshad, Alba Party for Independence, 294 first preference votesRobert Bissett, Scottish Labour Party, 1464 FPvJames Bundy, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 857Robbie Burgess, Scottish Labour Party, 399Judith McLaughlin, Scottish Green Party, 381Cecil Meiklejohn, Scottish National Party (SNP), 2260Iain Sinclair, Scottish National Party (SNP), 801

Robert Bissett (Lab), James Bundy (Con), Cecil Meiklejohn (SNP), Iain Sinclair (SNP) elected

Ward 7 – Falkirk South (46.3 per cent)

Lorna Binnie, Scottish National Party (SNP) 1843 First preference votesSarah Patrick, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1744 FPvEmma Lindsey Russell, Scottish National Party (SNP), 701 FPvEuan Stainbank, Scottish Labour Party, 1364 FPvHunter Thomson, Scottish Green Party, 346 FPvRichard Wilson, Independent, 108 FPv

Lorna Binnie (SNP), Sarah Patrick (Con), Euan Stainbank (Lab) elected

Ward 8 – Lower Braes (43.6 per cent)

Scott Fallon, Alba Party for Independence, 67 First preference votesGordon Forrest, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1205Anne Hannah, Scottish Labour Party, 1393James Kerr, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1204 Adanna Bridget McCue, Scottish National Party (SNP), 825Doug Sheehan, Scottish Green Party, 298Ashley Hunter Ward, Scottish Liberal Democrats, 167

Gordon Forrest (SNP), Anne Hannah (Lab), James Kerr (Con) elected Ward 9 – Upper Braes (turnout 43.8 per cent) Claire Brown, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1202 Ian Kennedy, Independent, 89 Rachel Kidd, Scottish Green Party, 308 John McLuckie, Independent, 459 Siobhan Paterson, Scottish Labour Party, 1272 Austin Reid, Scottish Liberal Democrats, 139 Jim Robertson, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1918 Colin Todd, Alba Party for Independence, 63 Mark Andrew Tunnicliff, Independent, 49 Claire Brown (CON), Siobhan Paterson (Lab), Jim Robertson (SNP) elected