Tory candidate Robin Kleinman gained the Dunblane and Bridge of Allan seat on Stirling Council from the SNP with 41 per cent of first preference votes, with the party’s vote share increasing by nearly 11 per cent. SNP candidate Ahsan Khan was in second place with 26.9 per cent of the vote.
Labour won 13.4 per cent of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats took 8.9 per cent and the Scottish Greens 8.7 per cent. The Lib Dems and Greens saw their vote share decrease by 0.4 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.
Mr Khan, who met with SNP leadership candidate and health secretary Humza Yousaf on the campaign trail earlier this week, tweeted his disappointment following the result, saying it “wasn’t to be”.
The turnout was 38.1 per cent, down 22.3 per cent from the 2022 election.
The result means Stirling Council – a minority Labour-run administration – now has eight Tory councillors, seven SNP, five Labour, one Green and two independents.
Mr Ross hailed the result as a “terrific by-election win”, saying it shows only the Tories can stand up to the SNP. He said: “My congratulations go to Robin Kleinman as our party’s newest councillor. I campaigned with Robin and I know he will be a fantastic councillor and a strong voice for the area he is proud to call home.
“Having gained this seat from the SNP and significantly increased our share of the vote, it’s clear people have strong faith in our party. They have also recognised that only the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stand up to the SNP and hold them to account for their failings at all levels of Government.
“Labour are simply too weak under Anas Sarwar to stand up to the nationalists and their continued obsession with breaking up the United Kingdom at any cost. This by-election victory for the Scottish Conservatives – against the backdrop of the SNP’s bitter leadership contest – reaffirms that we are the real alternative for Scots who are tired of this out-of-touch and divided SNP Government.”
The by-election was triggered following the death of SNP councillor Graham Houston in December.