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Scottish council elections: As it happened

The votes are counted in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna

The votes are counted in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna

THE latest news, analysis and results as votes are counted in Scotland’s 32 councils following yesterday’s local government elections.

• 1,223 councillors to be elected across Scotland

• Labour hold on to majority control of Glasgow

• SNP win majorities in Dundee and Angus

The results as they come in

• Analysis from The Scotsman’s expert political team at scotsman.com/politics

• Follow us on Twitter @scotpolitics

6.45pm: That’s the end of our live coverage of the Scottish council elections. Read the best analysis and reportage in The Scotsman tomorrow.

6.40pm: Scotland’s council make-up looks like this tonight:

SNP 424 (+57)

Lab 394 (+58)

Cons 115 (-16)

Lib Dem 71 (-80)

Green 14 (+6)

SSP 1

Others 201(-22)

6.35pm: The final result is in... Alistair Munro reports from the Highlands:

The last ward to be announced, after a close recount, saw Lib Dems gain one more seat with Martin Rattray just beating the SNP’s Sheila Fletcher. Also elected on the four-member ward are Mike Finlayson and Carolyn Wilson, both Independent, and Maxine Smith, SNP. The make of the council is Independent with 35 councillors – the same as the last council – SNP 22, up four, Lib Dems15 and Labour eight.

6.20pm: First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond has claimed victory for his party. He’s just said:

“With over 420 councillors, an increase of around 60 on 2007 and double the lead over Labour the SNP has won Scotland’s election.

“This is a great win for the SNP and for Scotland. Five years after backing the SNP for the first time Scotland continues to move forward with the only national party. That is a substantial achievement.

“This year the SNP has secured our first two overall majorities in Dundee and Angus and the SNP has become the largest political party in ten local authorities, far more than in 2007. That is a major step forward for the SNP and for Scotland.

“In 2007 we were the largest party in only 7 authorities and held no majorities.

“The SNP has won seats from Labour, from the Lib Dems and from the Tories in all parts of Scotland, urban and rural. We set ourselves the target of securing more councillors and we have met that target with around 60 extra councillors.

“This is a tale of two governments. The Lib Dems and Tories have had a disastrous day, feeling the full force of the Scottish people who have rejected their damaging austerity agenda in favour of the SNP locally and nationally.

“And in Labour’s heartlands it is clear that Fortress Glasgow is no more. Labour’s campaign stalled in Glasgow with not a single extra seat while the SNP increased our number of councillors and pushed Labour to the wire in their heartland.

“This is a major success for the SNP, and I look forward to working with all councillors across the country to see Scotland take another step forward.”

6pm: Humza Yousaf, the SNP MSP, has just tweeted: “Disappointing on day in Glasgow. Suppose shows how far we’ve come we are disappointed at gains in Glasgow! Well done 2all elected”

5.50pm: Craig Brown reports from Glasgow:

As the afternoon wore on, the joy of the Labour camp at averting what had been trailed by the SNP as its moment of reckoning became palpable, with one passing member hugging another and saying “We’ve done it!”

But by mid-afternoon, members of all the parties were beginning to flag visibly, as the stress and tension of the day took its toll. Many moved out into the corridor, and SNP and Labour councillors slumped side-by-side on benches, ties loosened and collar buttons undone, some exchanging small talk about the day.

Mid-afternoon, news went around that Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont was due to arrive and the Labour camp gathers around the entrance to form a reception committee. A loud cheer announces her entrance, followed by a barrage of camera flashes as the leader marched in, beaming, arms aloft.

Immediately embraced by Gordon Matheson, she was then guided through the hall arm in arm with the city leader and MP Margaret Curran, who was keen to point out Ms Lamont’s bright red patent leather shoes, exclaiming: “Check out the shoes. You’ll need to wear those at every election from now on.”

Hailing the local party’s campaign, she said that the results were about the work of Glasgow Council rather than the national party, but said that it was proof that Labour were “hungry” for the public’s support, and now had a “real opportunity to serve people in Scotland.”

5.30pm: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson: “We have seen a number of gains in councils across Scotland. We are up in Argyll and Bute, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian, and we are now heading towards becoming the third party of local government in Scotland for the first time since 1992. We are the largest party in the Borders and South Ayrshire, and we will play a pivotal role in forming a number of administrations across Scotland. Over the next two or three days we will play a key part in deciding who controls local councils right across the country.”

5.15pm: Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party: “These results are incredibly positive and demonstrate that Greens have a significant role to play in local government. We have tireless activists and volunteers who have helped raise awareness of Green action at community level. Our councillors who have served over the past five years have proved how effective they can be. It’s particularly pleasing to increase our influence in Scotland’s capital and get Greens onto Stirling and Midlothian for the first time. All Green councillors will work hard to protect our public services and involve local people in decisions that affect them. Greens will work constructively with other parties in the interests of their communities.”

4.35pm: Alex Salmond hails his party’s success in Ayrshire, Angus, Aberdeenshire and Dundee: “It is a certainly very close fight in many areas. You have seen variable results. I mean Ayrshire has been tremendous for the SNP. We might well emerge as the largest party in Edinburgh. It could be that Labour will lose overall control in Glasgow. We have done fantastically well in Aberdeenshire. Angus is now back in SNP overall control and the city of Dundee – a fantastic result for the SNP there.

“In many areas across Scotland, we have had spectacular results. But, of course, it is a close run thing in many areas as you would expect. When the dust settles, when the STV calculations are finally worked out then I think, I am reasonably confident that we are going to have more councillors than any other party. We are going to win the election.”

Mr Salmond adds that he knew conquering Glasgow was “a big mountain to climb”, but puts a brave face on his party’s failure to take control of Scotland’s largest city: “We have made substantial progress across the city of Glasgow. We have picked up a huge number of seats. If Labour think.. the election in Scotland...they can judge a success by just keeping control of Glasgow, even though they might not have an overall majority...that just shows how far the Labour Party have come back.”

4.30pm: Brian Ferguson in Edinburgh: “A dejected Steve Cardownie, leader of SNP group on #Edincouncil, admits Labour are now in “driving seat” to run the capital.”

4.25pm: The Liberal Democrats have suffered an embarrassing wipeout in East Lothian where the party’s six seats have all gone. The Lib Dems had been on the administration with the SNP until the election. Labour won the vote with 10 seats, one ahead of the Nationalists. The campaign has been dominated by widespread anger over plans to cull local bus services after First announced plans to close a depot in nearby Dalkeith.

4.20pm: Labour is the biggest party in Edinburgh City Council — taking 20 seats to the SNP’s 18

4.10pm: More on that earlier tweet from Tom Peterkin — Appearing on the STV election programme, Alex Salmond said:

“We only really have a good indication on the number of councillors just now, because we won’t get the final votes until later,” Mr Salmond added, “but I’m very confident we are heading towards 400 councillors and I think will have the most councillors of any party in Scotland. So in that sense... we will win the election.”

4.00pm: From Tom Peterkin on Twitter: Alex Salmond says he thinks SNP will have more councillors than other parties — SNP “going to win the election”.

4.00pm: Labour has held onto power in North Lanarkshire, holding of a strong push by the SNP. The council had been at the centre of a bad tempered campaign between the two main parties with council leader Jim McCabe and SNP Government minister Alex Neil, a local MSP, clashing over management pay on the authority. The Nationalists campaign had been blighted by candidate Lyall Duff who was caught up in a row over tweets about catholic midwives. In the end Labour gained a seat, going up from 41 to 42, with the SNP up from 22 to 27, with a couple of Independents.

3.55pm: The new South Lanarkshire Council composition is Scottish Labour Party — 33, Scottish National Party — 28, Scottish Conservative and Unionist — 3, Independent — 2, Scottish Liberal Democrats.

That compares with 32 Lab in 2007; 23 SNP; eight Tories; two Lib Dems and two independents.

3.50pm: Jenny Dawe loses her seat in Edinburgh

3.50pm: Labour has won back control of West Dunbartonshire. The full results show that the SNP won six seats, Labour 12 seats, Scottish Socialist Party one seat and three independents were elected.

This compares to 2007 when the SNP won nine seats, Labour ten, Scottish Socialist Party one seat, and two independents were elected. The 2007 result led to the SNP running the administration with support from the independents.

3.30pm: Apparently, the former SNP candidate Lyall Duff — who described two Catholic midwives as “moneygrabbing old witches” — has not been elected.

Duff’s intemperate attack came after Mary Doogan, 57, and Concepta Wood, 51, who lost a legal bid against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde over their refusal to delegate, supervise and support staff taking part in abortions or provide care to patients during the process.

He resigned from the SNP, but it was too late for his name to be removed from the ballot paper.

3.20pm: David Maddox: House of Lords reform likely sticking point as coalition takes stock of election results

3.15pm: ANALYSIS - Frank Urquhart in Aberdeen:

Labour will hold the ace cards when negotiations begin early next week on the shape of the future adminsitration of Aberdeen City Council after emerging as the largest single party on a day when they more than doubled the number of councillors on the authority.

It was a day of disaster for the Liberal Democats, the former partners with the SNP in the last administration,where their representation was slashed from 11 to five councillors.

Labour now have 17 councillors - nine more than in 2007. The SNP achieved a standstill with 15 councillors with the Tories increasing their representation from two to three. And there are now only three instead of seven Independents on the council.

Barney Crockett, the leader of the triumphant Labour Group, said he would be ruling no party out when it comes to the crucual coalition talks which are expected to begin as early as Monday.

3.12pm: The SNP have overtaken Labour as the biggest party in North Ayrshire. The party finished on 12 seats, doubling the number of councillors they had from 2007. Labour finished on 12, one down, meaning the prospects look bleak for the party remaining in power after ruling as a minority in recent years. The Liberal Democrats lost both their seats, while the Independents stayed on six and the Tories got one seat.

3.10pm: ANALYSIS - Eddie Barnes in Glasgow:

The talk at the count in Glasgow is of the wider impact the result here today might have. Labour seems certain to have a far better than expected day, and may even gain overall control of the city.

First Minister Alex Salmond has already been out to put a sheen on things. The national result, he notes, is better than it was in 2007. And, he argues, given the poor showing of the Tories and Lib Dems, the UK’s other governing parties, the SNP has done well to keep its head above water.

However, there is no getting away from the fact that Glasgow was the Big One today. And if, as seems certain, Labour comes back out on top today, it presents a potential tripwire for the Nationalists. The party relies on a sense of inevitability and momentum as it heads towards the independence referendum. People will be best persuaded of independence by a party which itself seems unstoppable. Since 2007, when Alex Salmond first won power, that has seemed to be the case. As with its by-election defeats in Glenrothes and Glasgow North East in the last few years, the danger for the SNP will be if its reverse in Glasgow becomes seen as a change in those political fortunes.

The expectation is that the SNP will now be out of the traps early in order to move the agneda onwards - with the official launch of its independence campaign expected at the end of next week. They will have to make sure that Glasgow becomes a footnote, not a turning point, in the run up to the referendum.

2.59pm: Alistair Munro in the Highlands: Election history is being made in the Highlands when a count was split by 0.01 per cent of a vote. A recount has been called for the Cromarty Firth ward. But this has caused a delay to the whole count in Inverness because every other result must be announced before the recount can take place. Officials claim this could be the slimmest margin between candidates in any vote in the country.

2.57pm: The SNP is confident of taking control of Midlothian after the election produced a tied result with Labour. Both parties have eight apiece, with Labour down two and the nationalists up two. There was one  one Green and one Independent. SNP group leader Owen Thompson said it was a “fantastic” result for the Nationalists.

“Midlothian is a traditional Labour heartland, so to have made this kind of progress shows that we’re continuing the momentum we’ve had for a number of years,” Mr Thomspon said.

2.55pm: Gordon Matheson, Labour leader at Glasgow Council:

“So far the results have been very good for Labour and extraordinarily bad for the SNP. Their juggernaut has rolled into a ditch. They were the party that made big predictions that they would sweep Labour from power. The people of Glasgow have had other ideas. I’m not making final predictions about the outcome because there are a number of seats to declare. I’ll be absolutely clear about this: if Labour does emerge as the largest party, I would be seeking to form the administration and lead Glasgow City Council through the Commonwealth Games and beyond.”

2.50pm: The SNP has hailed its first ever majorities under the STV voting system - just achieved in Dundee and Angus.

In the City of Discovery, the Dundee West SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick said: “This truly is historic for the SNP in Dundee. I am absolutely thrilled that my home city has voted clearly to become an SNP city. In 2007 the SNP held no majorities.  I am pleased Angus and Dundee have delivered the first two majority administrations for the SNP.”

The Angus South MSP Graeme Dey said: “We took nothing for granted in this election and worked hard for every vote. Our positive message based around jobs and families went down well on the doorsteps. I am absolutely delighted by this result.”

2.35pm: News from the Outer Hebrides, Angus Brendan MacNeil SNP MP is at the count in Stornoway for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. He reports that the SNP has increased its representation from four to seven, but the vast majority of members remain independents.

“We have increased the numbers by three,” Mr MacNeil said. “We have gone from four to seven. We are the largest political group on the council. Labour have three and there are 21 independents. We don’t konw if they are forming a club or not.

“We are very pleased. There are lot of independents and the challenge is: what is the agenda of the independents? It is all right to get elected, but what’s next?”

2.25pm: Former Lib Dem council leader Jenny Dawe has lost her seat in Edinburgh.

2.20pm: Frank Urquhart in Aberdeen: Talks will get underway next week to determine the new administration at Aberdeenshire Council with the SNP in the driving seat after becoming the largest single party on the authority for the first time. The Nationalists, who had 21 seats five years ago - the same as the Lib Dems - now have 28 councillors. The Lib Dems now have only 12, while the Labour Party made history by going from zero to two.

As Richard Baker, the local Labour MSP exclaimed: “Ten minutes ago we didn’t have a single councillor - now we’ve got a group.”

There are 14 Conservative councillors - one more than 2007 - one Green and eleven Independents,

 

 

2.15pm: Eddie Barnes in Glasgow: Delight on Labour faces in Glasgow shows just how much they feared defeat here. Lots of hugging going on #sc12

 

2.10pm: The SNP have won overall control of Dundee City Council with 16 seats in the city. It looks certain to be the only majority administration in Scotland.

 

2.03pm: The voters of Edinburgh and the Lib Dems seem to be poles apart - after the party was beaten by a ‘penguin’.

Professor Pongoo - an independent candidate in the Pentland Hills ward - campaigned dressed as the animal throughout his campaign.

He had pledged to turn up to meetings of for the City of Edinburgh Council in his full costume. Today, he won 444 votes compared to 370 for the Lib Dems. Ricky Henderson, Bill Henderson & Dominic Heslop were all elected in the ward.

 

1.58pm: Brian Ferguson in Edinburgh: “Pretty tight between Labour & SNP in Edinburgh at the moment - Lib Dems seem to be doing as badly as predicted.”

 

1.55pm: The SNP is on course to gain a surprise majority in Dundee, bucking predictions that all Scottish councils would be coalitions. With just one four-seat ward to be decided in the city, the Nationalists have 15 councillors, with Labour on 9 and the Independents and Lib Dems on one apiece. The SNP would stay in control in the city after ruling as a minority in recent years.

 

1.53pm: The Conservaties saw off a strong challenge from the SNP to remain the biggest party in the Borders. There were 10 Tories returned, one ahead of the Nationalist in today’s count. The Liberal Democrats lost four seats and are down to 6, with seven Independents and two from the Borders party returned.

 

1.50pm: East Lothian results: Labour 10, SNP 9, Conservative 3, Independent 1.

 

1.43pm: In pictures: Edinburgh votes are counted

 

1.42pm: History has been made in Aberdeenshire with Labour returning the Party’s first ever councillor to the North east authority. Labour candidate Alison Evison secured one of the four seats in the North Kincardine ward.

In Aberdeen City the misery continued for the Lib Dems where they failed to hold on to both their seats in the Bridge of Don ward. The SNP picked up one additonal seat and John Reynolds, the former Liberal Democrat Lord Provost, was returned as an Independent.

 

1.40pm: Alistair Munro in the Highlands reports: Former Lib Dem MSP Jamie Stone is making a return to politics after being elected onto Highland Council. The new councillor stood down at the last Scottish Parliament elections after 12 years representing Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

He was voted into the Tain and Easter Ross seat, albeit at the seventh stage of the single transferable system, behind Independents Alasdair Rhind and Fiona Robertson.

He said: “I am surprised to be elected, but honoured to be representing my home town of Tain and the surrounding Easter Ross.”

 

1.30pm: Labour on course to seize control in Renfrewshire after claiming 17 seats so far from the 29 declared. The SNP are down on 10 in the home council of the SNP’s local government campaign co-ordinator Derek MacKay. Only three wards of eleven remain to be declared in the council where the nationalist have ruled in Coalition with the Lib dems in recent years, although Labour was the biggest party. The Lib Dems and Independents have one seat apiece so far.

 

1.25pm: Craig Brown at the Glasgow count: Govan ward result has proved pivotal in today’s vote. With the SNP-group leader Allison Hunter the only one of its three Nat candidates elected, and the party cannot secure a majority in the council chamber.

Scottish Labour members were jubilant as news of the result being announced publicly, Mohammed Sarwar hugging a newly-elected member as others cheered.

Nicola Sturgeon also hugged Ms Hunter and defended her election campaign, describing the Govan ward as “a unique seat”, as three former Labour councillors ran in the ward as Glasgow First She praised Ms Hunter, however, saying that she was one of the most-liked councillors she had ever met.

Ms Hunter said: “I’m delighted to have won my seat, but it is disappointing that my two colleagues didn’t win, but as Nicola said, Govan was a strange seat because of the presence of the three Glasgow First councillors.”

 

Ward 4 Craigton: Iris Gibson - SNP; Matt Kerr - Lab; Jim Torrance - SNP; Alistair Watson - Lab. 36.8%. Represents a one seat gain for SNP

Ward 5 Govan: James Adams- Lab; Stephan Dornan - Glasgow First; Allison Hunter, SNP; Fariha Thomas - Lab. Turn out 36.1%

Ward 7- Langside: Susan Aitken - SNP; Archie Graham Lab & Co-Operative Party; Liam Hainey - Scottish Green Party. Turn out 34.75%

 

1.20pm: The SNP look on course to stay comfortably in control in Perth and Kinross. The Nationalists have 15 councillors with just two wards to be declared. There are nine Tories, four Lib Dems, four independents and one Labour councillor. A majority SNP administration remains a slim possibility, after the party ruled in Coalition with Lib Dems in recent years.

 

1.16pm: Alex Salmond still “very hopeful” that SNP will come top in first preferences and in the number of councillors.

As to whether the SNP will end up as the largest party overall, Mr Salmond said he was “still pretty hopeful”.

“The Labour Party vote is going up, there is no doubt about that, but then so is the SNP vote,” he said.

 

1.13pm: The SNP and Independents are tied as the biggest groupings in Moray with 10 seats apiece. There have been three Labour and three Tory councillors elected, but the Lib Dems suffered another wipeout. The Independents ruled in Coalition with the Tories last time and another power sharing deal looks inevitable as talks get underway.

 

1.08pm: Alex Salmond says the SNP will certainly be the leading party in Aberdeenshire within two or three seats of an overall majority – which is “almost impossible” to do under STV system. It will be “nip and tuck” between the SNP and Labour in Aberdeen City, Mr Salmond predicts.

In Dundee, Mr Salmond is “very hopeful” of an SNP majority.

 

Across Scotland, the First Minister says the SNP are up about 25 councillors, “which is a very, very strong performance indeed”. He adds: “We did incredibly well in 2007 and amazingly it looks like we are going to do even better in 2012.”

 

1.05pm: Alex Salmond’s take on Prof Curtice’s analysis is that the SNP are heading for a “spectacular” result. The SNP leader tells the BBC:

 

“What he (Curtice) was saying was our vote was only up six or seven per cent from a year in which we won control of the Scottish Parliament in 2007. 2007 was a spectacular result for the SNP, if our result is six or seven per cent greater than that, then it is even more spectacular result for the SNP. Maybe the distinguishing feature here is right across the country, you have got government parties that are doing badly. In Scotland, on the results we have got so far, the SNP are making further advances and that must be a good thing.”

 

 

1.02pm: Clackmannanshire Council remains on a knife-edge after the SNP and Labour gained eight seats apiece on Scotland’s smallest mainland council. Both parties are up one on 2007. Tory Alistair Campbell and Independent Archie Drummond were the only candidates outside the big two to get elected. The SNP ruled as a minority in recent years, but talks are now get underway to see if a power-sharing agreement can be reached.

 

1pm: Craig Brown at the count in Glasgow: Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson has said that results so far have been “in the upper end” of Labour’s predictions.

 

12.58pm: Michael Kelly: Claims on Labour meltdown in Glasgow not ringing true

 

 

12.55pm: John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde Uni, has predicted that the result could be a “substantial disappointment” for the SNP. Speaking on the BBC, Prof Curtice said that the results from 30 wards in six biggest Scottish councils show that “for the most part the SNP advance is not on the scale of last year.”

 

Last year SNP vote went up by 12/13 points compared with 2007. Of the results so far the advance is only 5 or six points.

 

“It looks, if anything, that Labour’s vote is going up more in Scotland since 2007 than the SNP. If that is true of Scotland in general we may discover when the votes are added up that it is the Labour Party that has come ahead in the Scottish vote rather than the SNP.”

 

He added that it may be that Labour doesn’t get overall control in Glasgow, but it doesn’t looks as if the SNP are going to get an overall majority.

 

“If these figures are representative of what we get later this afternoon, the truth is that these are going to be a substantial disappointment to the SNP and the idea that the SNP necessarily electorally commands Scotland north of the border – that judgement will no longer be quite as secure as it was 12 months ago,” Prof Curtice said.

 

12.52pm: Jennifer Dempsie: Tram revenge early story of local election count in Edinburgh

 

12.50pm: In Glasgow, 22 seats declared so far; Lab 11, SNP 8, Cons 1, Lib Dem 1, Glasgow First 1

 

12.45pm: Brian Ferguson on the Edinburgh contest: Not quite a poisoned chalice, but Edinburgh councillors face many challenges

 

12.40pm: Scottish politics editor Tom Peterkin: Contact in Angus telling me that so far the SNP account for eight of the 14 candidates who are home and dry. That’s down one from 2007 with two SNP members returned in returned in Monifeith and Sidlaw compared with three five years ago. Even so, the SNP expected to gain a majority in Angus having run a far slicker campaign that opponents showing a greater understanding of the complex STV voting system. Other seats taken by Independents, one Labour in Monifeith and Conservatives including well known Tory and ex-Black Watch soldier Ronnie Proctor in Kirriemuir.

 

12.39pm: David Maddox on Twitter: “John Curtice predicting Labour win and SNP disappointment in Scotland #sc12”

 

Eddie Barnes on Twitter: “SNP only get 1 of the 3 they fielded in Govan. SNP can no longer get a majority in Glasgow #sc12”

 

12.38pm: Alistair Munro in the Highlands: The Lib Dems in the Highlands are fairing better than their local party had even envisaged. Another two of the party candidates have been elected in the Inverness South ward. Long-standing councillor Thomas Prag has been re-elected. The other two members on the ward are Ken Gowans, SNP, and Independent Jim Crawford.

 

12.35pm: First Minister Alex Salmond swept into the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre and said: “It’s going to be a long day but it’s looking good so far.”

Surrounded by SNP supporters he then went to greet sucessful SNP candidates from both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

 

12.30pm: Frank Urquhart in Aberdeen: The Lib Dems’ already disastrous morning in Aberdeen continued into the early afternoon as Kate Dean, the accomplished former leader of the council, lost her seat in Kincorth and Loirston after 18 years in local government. Her seat in the Kincorth and Loirston ward went to Independent Andrew Finlayson, the chairman of the local community council in Cove and Altens.

In the Kingwells and Sheddocksley ward Dr David Cameron, the former chairman of NHS Grampian who stepped down from his post following allegations of gross misconduct, was elected as an SNP councillor for the first time.

He said: “I think this is vindication in the eyes of the public. The public are not stupid. I have always said I was innocent of what was alleged against me.”

In the ward Len Ironside, the veteran former leader of the Labour group, kept his seat while Steve Delaney retained the third seat for the Lib Dems. The Independents suffered a second major shock in Aberdeenshire where another veteran Indepenent councillor Sam Coull lost his seat in Peterhead North and Rattray.

Back at the Aberdeen count the Lib Dems lost another seat in Hilton and Stockethill where their candidate failed to hold on to the place made vacant by departing Lib Dem councillor Neil Fletcher, the civil partner of former administration leader John Stewart. It marked another Labour gain with George Adam grabbing the seat and the SNP’s Kirsty Blackman holding on to her place on the council.

 

 

12.28pm: Labour leader Ed Miliband has been in Birmingham celebrating the party’s result there. Labour won a comfortable victory in the city, and Mr Miliband said the party would focus on people who are “struggling” and “hurting”.

 

12.25pm: Correction: In Falkirk, Labour’s Allyson Black and Joan Paterson are elected along with the SNP’s David Balfour and Independent Robert Spears in Grangemouth.

 

12.22pm: Oh dear. Lib Dem MP Jo Swainson is tweeting: “Electronic counting machines in East Dunb have stopped working - problem seemingly harder to fix than turning them off & on again...”

 

Hopefully not a re-run of the chaos five years ago when over 40,000 ballots were spoilt, because of difficulties with computerised counting system. Labour MP Tom Harris tweeting nostalgically that he wishes that the old system of counting by hand could be reintroduced.

 

12.20pm: Labour are making gains from the Nationalists in East Lothian with Shamin Akhtar, Jim Gillies and Donald Grant all returned for the party in Fa’side. Only Kenny McLeod is elected for the Nationalists who had two seats in the ward last time. Widespread anger over a mass cull of local bus services dominated the campaign in the SNP/Lib Dem council area.

 

12.15pm: More results. This time from Angus Council - Forfar & District wardt: Lynne Devine (SNP), Glennis Middleton (SNP), Colin Brown (IND), Ian McLaren (IND

 

12.10pm: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s mother is returned as a councillor in the Irvine East ward of North Ayrshire. She is joined in the ward by former Labour MSP Irene Oldfather. The council is currently a Labour minority administration.

 

12.08pm: The Scotsman’s Alistair Munro gives an overview of the picture in the Highlands so far.

 

“The SNP is currently leading the way with five councillors so far elected. However, they have lost two prominent members in Bob Wynd, a former provost of the local authority, and Pauline Munro.”

 

12.07pm: The Scotsman’s Tom Peterkin: Have just spoken to the Tories’ Murdo Fraser, who is at the Perth and Kinross count. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he is talking up the Tories’ performance and claims that an SNP surge has yet to materialise.

He said: “So far there’s been no change in the election of councillors, but there has been a wee bit of local variation in the votes. Overall there looks like there has been a slight uplift in the Tory vote since 2007, a lot of which is down to good, hard-working local councillors. There is no sign of a surge in the SNP vote. What is interesting is that when you compare the early results with last year’s Scottish elections, it represents a substantial drop. The SNP here are not looking very chipper.”

 

12.05pm: The outlook is not good for the Nationalists’ hopes of seizing control in Glasgow, according to Green party co-leader Patrick Harvie. “The general mood so far is that the SNP aren’t making anything like the progress they expected,” he said.

 

12.04pm: Eddie Barnes in Glasgow: “Paranoia has now lifted from Labour optimism in Glasgow. They are beginning to talk of whether they can get a majority #sc12”

 

12.02pm: Brian Ferguson in Edinburgh: “Former Labour stalwart Billy Fitzpatrick has lost his bid to get back onto #edincouncil after losing out in the Almond ward. #votedin12”

 

Almond ward: Lindsay Paterson (Tory), Alastair Shields (Lib Dems) + Norman Work (SNP) all elected.

 

12.01pm: Tom Peterkin: Phone hacking shadow casts long shadow over local elections

 

11.59am: Orkney has remained totally Independent as the main parties are snubbed. Only a few candidates from the SNP and one from UKIP stood in the islands, but voters rejected party politics. Council leader Stephen Hagan is once again returned in the North Isles.

 

11.58am: Boris Johnson is expected to be returned as London mayor

 

11.55am: In Perth and Kinross four out of 12 wards now declared. So far there are 8 SNP councillors, four Conservatives and one Lib Dem. But still a lot more votes to be counted.

 

11.52am: The SNP gain in Aberdeenshire with two councillors – Jim Ingram and Lenny Pirie - both returned in the Central Buchan ward on First Minister Alex Salmond’s doorstep. The nationalists are currently the junior party on the party’s ruling Coalition with the Lib Dems.

 

11.50am: Scotsman reporter Craig Brown in Glasgow: Ruth Davidson attending the vote appeared upbeat, even though the Conservatives as yet continue to have just a solitary councillor in Glasgow.

Praising his re-election as a “great result”, she said it was recognition of David Meikle’s performance as a councillor: “It was about the last five years, not the last five weeks”.

 

Ward 4 Craigton: Iris Gibson - SNP; Matt Kerr - Lab; Jim Torrance - SNP; Alistair Watson - Lab. 36.8%. Represents a one seat gain for SNP

 

11.45am: In Aberdeenshire, Anne Robertson has announced she will stand down as head of the Lib Dem/Conservative coalition. But could the SNP be in power by the end of the day?

 

11.40am: Political correspondent Andrew Whitaker has a look at the picture in Scotland so far:

 

EARLY early results show successes for Labour, the SNP and the Tories in Moray, one of the first authorities to start declaring election results.

Successful candidates in Elgin City South are Graham Leadbitter (SNP); John Divers (Labour): James Allan (Conservative). Councillors elected for Elgin City North are: Mike Shand (SNP); Patsy Gowans (SNP); Barry Jarvis (Labour).

There was also a Labour gain from the Lib Dems in Inverclyde. The Tories have made a gain in Aberdeenshire from the Lib Dems as Mike Roy is elected in the Banff and District ward. The Nationalists retain two seats on the authority.

Meanwhile, in Perth and Kinross, the Carse of Gowrie ward saw two SNP candidates and one Tory councillor returned.

Labour has made gains in the Fife ward of Dunfermline North where Helen Law and William Campbell have been elected for the party. David Mogg of the SNP also elected.

 

11.39am: Read the best analysis of the results in The Scotsman tomorrow, with a dedicated 8-page election supplement.

 

11.38am: According to Twitter, apparently one of the spoilt ballot papers in Edinburgh had “TRAMS - ENOUGH SAID, EH?” scrawled across it....

 

11.35am: Eddie Barnes on the picture so far in Glasgow: Labour are very pleased with initial results in Glasgow. In two of the seats announced so far, Newlands and Linn, things have gone as they hoped. An SNP majority is now almost out of reach. Labour is also pleased that they have held up in the southside, the SNP’s stronger area. But they remain very cautious given the SNP victory here last year. A big test coming up will be the Govan ward. Still a long way to go but first blood to Labour.

 

11.32am: The count is underway in Glasgow - where it is set to go down to the wire. The city has been a key SNP target - so would it be a bad result if they fail to win it?

 

11.30am: The SNP have made a gain in Angus where Iain Gaul and Jeanette Gaul have been returned in the Kirrimuir and Dean seat. The party is currently frozen out of the ruling Angus Allliance in the council which includes Independents, Tories, Lib Dems and Labour.

 

11.28am: Former Green MSP Mark Ruskell has been elected to Stirling council - making him the first Green to be returned in Scotland. Scottish Green leader and Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie tweeted: “Congratulations to the first Green councillor returned in Scotland today - the marvellous @markruskell.”

 

11.27am: Scotsman reporter Brian Ferguson at the Edinburgh count: “Been at #Meadowbank less than hour & have already heard ever possible permutation bring speculated upon for running new #edincouncil”

 

“Edinburgh Labour boss Andrew Burns tells me his party “couldn’t have done more” to win back control of #edincouncil”

 

11.25am: Craig Brown in Glasgow reports:

 

Ward 1 Linn results: Margot Clark-Lib; Malcolm Cunning - Lab; Sadie Docherty -1; Glenn Elder - SNP. 34% turnout

 

Ward 2 Newlands/Auldburn: Stephen Curran-Lab; Josephine Docherty - SNP; Emma Gillan - Lab. 38.9%

 

Ward 3 Greater Pollok: Bill Butler-Lab; Rashid Hussain-Lab; Shabbar-SNP; David McDonald - SNP. 30.5% turnout.

 

Ward 6 Pollokshields: Norman MacLeod - SNP; David Meikle - Con; Hanif Raja - Lab. Turnout 42.7%

 

Results so far suggest a low turn-out averaging the low mid 30s. There has been talk of a high number of spoiled ballot papers - video scrutiny of these votes has shown that a recurring error is people marking their’s with a cross, rather than numbering them in order of preference. This suggests that the Scottish Government’s high profile advertising campaign instructing people on how to fill in their Single Transferable Vote ballot paper has not had the effect it hoped.

 

11.21am: Westminster Correspondent David Maddox: YouGov’s Peter Kellner says that it is a “modest” victory for Labour and Ben Page of Ipsos Mori says it was “a low turnout” and the voters were just “grumpy”. Maybe not the platform for Ed Miliband to sweep to power then.

 

11.20am: Fife football legend Jim Leishman has been elected as a Labour councillor in Dunfermline. The ex-Dunfermline Athletic and Livingston manager has promised a “sporting revolution” in the Kingdom.

 

11.18am: Frank Urquhart in Aberdeen: In the Midstocket and Rosemount ward the Conservatives grabbed back the seat they lost to the SNP at the by election following the death of veteran Tory councillor John Porter. Mr Porter had died of a heart attack only three weeks after the 2007 elections. The new Tory councillor Fraser Forsyth who works in the mental health profession. The two remaining seats went to sitting SNP councillor Bill Cormie and Labour’s Jenny Laing.

 

11.16am: The Nationalists have gained two councillors in the key target council of North Lanarkshire. Fulton MacGregor and Julie McAnulty have both been elected in Coatbridge North & Glenboig ward. The council is the last Labour majority in Scotland and a key SNP target.

 

11.15am: Finance Secretary John Swinney tweeting that the SNP have held two seats in Blairgowrie and Glens with an increase in share of vote.

 

11.11am: Political commentator David Torrance ‏on Twitter: “Interesting that #sc12 is marking the electoral comeback of several former MSPs, including Bill Butler, Robert Brown and @markruskell”

 

Eddie Barnes, The Scotsman’s political editor on Twitter: “Mood among labour people at Glasgow count is one of paranoid optimism. But no hiding they are now v confident. #sc12”

 

Frank O’Donnell, Evening News editor on Twitter: “Labour figures in Glasgow increasingly confident of holding the council. “I think we can predict a Lab council in Glasgow now,” says one.”

 

David Maddox, Westminster correspondent, on Twitter: “If labour still emerges as the biggest party in Glasgow that will be taken as a major win for Miliband given the party’s problems #sc12”

 

11.10am: SNP claiming gain in Strathmartin in Dundee, congratulating Stewart Hunter and John Alexander.

 

11.09am: Not the Prime Minister, but David Cameron of the SNP has been elected to represent the Kingswells/Sheddocksley ward of Aberdeen City Council along with Steve Delaney (Lib Dem) & Len Ironside (Lab)

 

11.08am: Labour have made an encouraging start in Fife, with another gain in Glenrothes Central and Thornton, this time from the SNP. Two Labour candidates, Ian Crichton and Ian Sloan both returned, along with Ross Vettraino of the SNP. This reverses the make-up of seats in the last election.

 

11.05am: The Liberal Democrats have been left reeling as the first result was announced at the Aberdeen City Council count at the city’s Exhibition and Conference Centre, reports Scotsman correspondent Frank Urquhart.

The Lib Dems, part of the coalition with the SNP in the last administration, lost both their seats in the Dyce, Bucksburn and Danestone ward.

Both Labour and the SNP grabbed a seat each, doubling their previous representation in the ward, and Barney Crockett, the Labour group leader, topped the poll.

There was also a major shock in the first result in Aberdeenshire where veteran Indepenent councillor Sydney Mair lost his seat on the council to another Indepenent Mark Findlater in the Troup ward.

 

11am: There have been fresh calls for Nick Clegg to stand down as leader of the Lib Dems this morning. Former MP Lembit Opik said Clegg should quit as leader, but stay as Deputy Prime Minister.

“The writing is on the wall here. There is nothing constitutionally to make Clegg have to be leader and Deputy Prime Minister; he needs to split the roles,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“The problem is Nick Clegg: there is a poll today which suggests that 19% of the people like the Lib Dems without Clegg; 12% like Clegg without the Lib Dems.

“My empirical view is that we would have done better with a different leader.

“I don’t dislike Clegg as a person but I think you can actually point at specific mistakes he has made.”

 

10.57am: Results from Moray Council.

Successful candidates in Elgin City South: Graham Leadbitter (SNP); John Divers (Labour): James Allan (Conservative)

Councillors for Elgin City North are: Mike Shand (SNP); Patsy Gowans (SNP); Barry Jarvis (Labour)

 

 

10.55am: Labour makes a gain from the Lib Dems the first results from Inverclyde. Stephen McCabe and James McColgan are returned for the party in Inverclyde east, up from one last time. James MacLeod and Deputy Provost David Wilson also elected. The Lib Dems John Watson loses out. The council is a Labour/Tory/Independent coalition.

 

10.50am: The Tories make a gain in Aberdeenshire from the Lib Dems as Mike Roy is elected in the Banff and District ward. The Nationalists retain two seats with John Cox and Ian Gray both elected. The SNP are in coalition with the Lib Dems in the council.

 

10.45am: In the Highlands, it is almost inevitable there will be a coalition tomorrow, says The Scotsman’s Highlands and Islands correspondent Alistair Munro:

 

“There will be a battle for power at Highland Council as it heads towards another Coalition as no one party is likely to win outright. The Independents, with 49 candidates, are the only party which can mathmatically achieve a majority of the 80 available seats, but the nature of proportional representation makes this almost impossible.”

 

10.41am: Result in from Perth and Kinross, Carse of Gowrie ward. Successful candidates: MacRoberts (Con), Douglas Pover (SNP) and Gordon Walker (SNP).

 

10.40am: Michael Kelly says Labour’s performance so far in England gives the party some cause for optimism in Scotland.

 

10.39am: The first result in Glasgow sees an SNP gain from Independents as Josephine Doccherty is elected in the Newlands/Auldburn ward. Labour retains two seats with Stephen Curran and Emma Gillan both returned. The city is the Nationalists’ top target in this election.

 

10.37am: Result in from Highland Council – Ward 16 Inverness, Ness-side. Successful candidates: Alasdair Christie, Lib Dems; Norrie Donald, ind; Fraser Parr, Lab; Jean Nimmo Slater SNP.

 

10.35am: Labour Lothians MSP Kezia Dugdale says the Greens could be on course for success in Edinburgh. “Strong showing for the greens across the city by the looks of it - key factor in four member wards where Lab/SNP are head to head,” she says. There are currently three Greens in the city, but a few more could help form a ruling Coalition in the city.

 

10.30am: Labour have just taken SNP election campaign manager Derek Mackay’s old seat in Renfrewshire North. Labour’s Alex Murrin and Bill Brown have been elected with just one Nationalist in the ward, reversing the make-up from the last election. Nationalists in Coalition with Lib Dems on the council, but it’s a key Labour target.

 

10.28am: SNP congratulating Fraser McAllister on an SNP gain from Lib Dems in Musselburgh West. Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale tweeting that it is “looking promising” for Labour gains in Edinburgh West.

 

10.25am: Labour has made gains in the Fife ward of Dunfermline North where Helen Law and William Campbell have been elected for the party. David Mogg of the SNP also elected. Labour is hoping to regain control from the SNP/Lib Dem administration in the kingdom.

 

10.15am: Prime Minister David Cameron says he is “sorry” for all the “hard-working Conservative councillors” who lost their seats today.

 

10.10am: The SNP have already made gains from Labour in Stirling. Alicia Hayes and Fergus Wood have been elected in Trossachs and Teith ward, while Graham Lambie and Ian Muirhead are elected in the Forth and Endrick wards. Nationalists are confident of keeping control of the city where they ruled in minority in recent years.

 

10.05am: SNP group leader in Edinburgh Steven Cardownie says there has “definitely” been a low turnout in the city, leaving any predictions ”up in the air.” He could become city leader if the Nationalists overtake their Lib Dem Coalition partners on the council and secure the highest number of seats.

“You always prefer a bigger percentage of participation, because it gives you a bigger mandate and it shows that people are interested in local politics,” he said.

“But if you’re percentage holds up even with a low turnout, that will get you people elected.”

 

10.02am: Local Government minister Derek Mackay announces that he is going to launch a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill to overcome voter apathy at local elections. On BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye, Mr Mackay said it will “bring forward questions about how we can reinvigorate local democracy.”

 

It will look at how communities influence decision making and public services. “I think the parties will take a look at that,” Mr MacKay said.

 

He cannot prejudge consultation, but his “personal view is that bits of paper through the door isn’t good enough and media, parties, electorate joint responsibility to make local government feel more relevant, because it does spend one third of the Scottish block about £11.5 billion.”

 

Mr Mackay also calls for more people to get involved in local politics.

 

“I understand some of the issues around apathy, the challenge I would put out is that if people don’t like the system or the challenges presented by all means get involved and reinvigorate democracy.”

 

10am: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has arrived at the count in Glasgow accompanied by the Nationalists group leader Allison Hunter. The SNP are determined to capture the city after years of Labour dominance, but Ms Hunter had a gaffe-prone campaign.

 

9.52am: England update: Labour have been doing well in the overnight elections south of the border. Ed Miliband said this morning that it showed the party was “winning back people’s trust”.

The party has taken control of a series of key councils including Southampton, Birmingham, Plymouth, Reading, Norwich, Thurrock and Harlow. With around half of votes counted, Labour had racked up more than 470 new seats and looked set for overall gains of more than 700, while the Tories looked likely to lose more than 350 seats and the Liberal Democrats about 200.

 

Prime Minister David Cameron suffered the embarrassment of losing seats in his Witney constituency to Labour as it made inroads into the Conservative heartlands of southern England. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he was “really sad” at his party’s results.

But he insisted they would “continue to play our role” in Government dealing with the economic crisis.

 

9.50am: It looks like Orkney’s predictions that it will be the first in Scotland to declare is on course. Stromness and South Isles have just declared with Rob Crichton, Maurice Davidson, and James Stockan being elected. A final result from the islands expected by 11am.

 

9.47am: Tory leader Ruth Davidson says its “difficult” to predict how the party has done in last night’s vote, but insists the party has fought a “strong campaign based on real localism.”

 

9.45am: In Edinburgh, whoever takes power today will have a challenge on their hands. Brian Ferguson looks at two significant issues for the new administration to deal with:

 

“Whoever takes charge of the City Chambers in Edinburgh will find two fairly substantial clouds hanging over the historic civic headquarters on the Royal Mile.

“The blame game over who is responsible for the handling of the tram project - which is already running more than five years later with a price tag that has more than doubled - and alleged corruption, mismanagement and fraud within its property repairs service will run and run.”

 

9.35am: The first results have come from Orkney where the Islands are run by all Independents. Alan Clouston and John Richards have been newly elected to the Kirkwall West and Orphir ward. They join Jack Moodie and David Tullock who represented the area previously.

 

9.30am: Edinburgh will record one of its lowest election turnouts in history after voters stayed away from the polls in their droves, reports the Evening News. As counting began today after yesterday’s council elections, there were forecasts that just 20 per cent of voters bothered to take part in some areas of the Capital.

 

9.15am: SNP local elections chief Derek MacKay believes the party is set to make big gains across Scotland’s cities as the results come through later today. “We’ve heard good news from the cities in Scotland that progress will be made in some of the cities - in Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth and Stirling,” he said. “It’s very possible that the SNP could form our very first majority administrations in at least one of those cities.”

 

9.05am: Perhaps the biggest prize in Scotland today could be Glasgow - where both Labour and the SNP have been out in force. The result will be close. The Scotsman’s political editor Eddie Barnes looks at why the city is so important for both.

 

9am: As well as the poll results in Scotland, we’ll be bringing you and overview of the results elsewhere in the UK. Our Westminster Correspondent David Maddox provides a snapshot of the picture down south so far.

 

8.45am: Welcome to our live coverage of the Scottish council elections. Stay with us for the latest results, reports from across the country and the best analysis from The Scotsman’s politics team. Our unsurpassed team of commentators and reporters will include: Tavish Scott, Jennifer Dempsie, Michael Kelly, Brian Monteith, Eddie Barnes, Tom Peterkin, Scott MacNab, Andrew Whitaker, David Maddox and Brian Ferguson.

 

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