Cowdenbeath by-election set for 23 January

The by-election to replace Helen Eadie will be held in January. Picture: Neil Hanna
The by-election to replace Helen Eadie will be held in January. Picture: Neil Hanna
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THE by-election to replace late Labour MSP Helen Eadie will be held in the new year.

Mrs Eadie, who represented the Cowdenbeath constituency, died earlier this month at the age of 66, just days after it emerged she was being treated for cancer.

She was a member of the Scottish Parliament since it was established in 1999 and was initially elected as MSP for Dunfermline East. She became the MSP for Cowdenbeath following boundary changes.

The by-election will be on Thursday January 23, Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said.

She has written to Steve Grimmond, chief executive of Fife Council and returning officer for the constituency, to inform him of her choice of date and to ask for arrangements to be made for the by-election.

MSPs have been informed of the date of the poll.

Parliamentary business was suspended on Tuesday afternoon to allow MSPs to attend Mrs Eadie’s funeral.

First Minister Alex Salmond, Labour leader Johann Lamont, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie were among around 500 people at the service.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown spoke at the service, describing Mrs Eadie as a “woman of the people” who was “admired, respected and loved” by all who knew her and “enhanced and enriched” thousands of lives.

The by-election is the second in Fife in just over three months. Labour’s Cara Hilton won the Dunfermline seat vacated by disgraced MSP Bill Walker who was jailed for domestic abuse.

Mrs Eadie campaigned with Ms Hilton in the days before she was diagnosed with cancer and was later said to have been conducting parliamentary business from her hospital bed.