LABOUR has lost control of Glasgow council for the first time since 1980 as the SNP, Greens and Conservatives all made gains across the city.
Scotland’s largest local authority, once viewed as an impregnable Labour stronghold, will be ruled for the first time by the Nationalists - although they finished four seats short of an overall majority.
Susan Aitken, set to become new leader of the council, said the party would assess its options over the coming days but did not rule out a minority administration.
The Conservatives enjoyed a memorable day, winning more than one seat in the city for the first time in 20 years and finishing with nine councillors in total.
Shettleston, among the first wards to be declared at the count at the Emirates Arena, set the tone for the day when the SNP increased its representatives from one to two - but the real surprise was the Tories making a gain in the east end district.
Ruth Davidson’s party had by then already won seats in former Labour heartlands such as West Fife and Paisley and it managed to repeat the trick in Glasgow.
Thomas Kerr, a 20-year-old advertising and marketing student, told The Scotsman that his election win in Shettleston was down to three things.
“Firstly, Ruth Davidson,” he said. “People have seen the job she is doing in holding the SNP to account at Holyrood.
“Secondly, people in Shettleston can read the polls. They knew the SNP were likely to emerge as the biggest party in Glasgow, so they wanted a party that can provide strong opposition.
“And thirdly, I promised I would be a local champion. I’m from Shettleston and I know the area like the back of my hand. The east end of Glasgow has been let down by the Labour and the SNP and people have voted for a fresh start.”
Among the other Tory new faces on Glasgow City Council is Abe Aibinu, who was one of three councillors returned in the Victoria Park ward in the west end.
Asked why there had been an increase in the Conservative vote, he said: “People were not listening to the party. But now we have a message.”
While Tory activists were delighted with their showing, they were not the only party to make gains at Labour’s expense. The Greens finished with seven seats, their best ever total. Party leader Patrick Harvie will be delighted to see his candidates returned in not just leafy west end wards such as Hillhead, but also in Govan, proving they are attracting support in new areas.
But the biggest victory of the day belonged to the SNP, who will take charge at the City Chambers in George Square for the first time - 10 years on from their breakthrough election victory at Holyrood.
“An outright majority would have been lovely, but we have won this election and we will be the administration at Glasgow City Council and that’s what matters,” Aitken told The Scotsman.
“We have a group meeting tomorrow afternoon and we will discuss how we now go forward as an administration.
“The team have candidates I’ve worked with are fantastic. We’ve worked together with a clear vision for the city and we have a detailed manifesto to deliver.”