Scottish Tories gain two council seats in Aberdeenshire by-elections

The Tories gained two seats in Aberdeenshire by-elections. Picture: John Devlin
The Tories gained two seats in Aberdeenshire by-elections. Picture: John Devlin
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Tories took an Aberdeenshire Council seat from the SNP and another from an independent in the latest local by-elections in Scotland.

Conservatives topped the first-preference votes in both polls under the single transferable vote (STV) system.

The Tory victory over the Scottish Nationalists came in the Banff & District ward in a contest following the death of SNP councillor Ian Gray.

First-preference voting was: C 1,170, SNP 962, LD 526. Turnout was 29.5%.

The Conservatives’ second win came in the Inverurie & District ward in a by-election prompted by the resignation of independent councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, who previously had been elected as a Liberal Democrat. He stepped down after the so-called “Legogate” row over the costs of a trip to Denmark when he returned early as he was dissatisfied with his accommodation.

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First-preference voting was: C 1,302, SNP 1,164, LD 755, Lab 139. Turnout was 30.4%.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “This double win proves once again that the Scottish Conservatives are the party which can take on and beat the SNP, including in (Gordon MP and former First Minister) Alex Salmond’s backyard.

“It’s also vindication for our local campaign against the SNP’s unfair council tax plans, which would strip millions of pounds from the North East.”

She declared: “The message is clear: the SNP must start listening to the people of Scotland who want them to focus on the day job of governing - not obsess over a second referendum on independence.”

Alexander Burnett, Tory MSP for Aberdeenshire West, added: “People in Banff and Inverurie have sent a clear message to the SNP that it is time to give the North East a fairer deal. Our councils are among the lowest funded in the country and NHS Grampian is being short-changed to the tune of millions of pounds this year.”