SCOTTISH Nationalists are celebrating after holding on to a key seat in a by-election for West Lothian Council.
David Tait was elected as councillor for Linlithgow in place of fellow Nationalist Martyn Day, who stepped down after he became the town’s MP at the general election in May.
Labour finished in second place, leapfrogging the Tories who were runners-up last time.
Mr Tait, 66, is a father-of-two, a former construction business owner and member of Linlithgow community council, who has been involved with the SNP since 1997.
He started Linlithgow community magazine The Black Bitch four years ago “to give the community a voice” and said he wanted to use his new position to continue to “empower people”.
The SNP was ahead from the start of yesterday’s count at the Howden Park Centre, Livingston, with 2049 first preference votes to Labour’s 1087.
Liberal Democrat Caron Lindsay was the first to be eliminated in the Single Transferable Vote (STV) election where voters rank candidates in order of preference.
Independent Brenda Galloway was eliminated after the second round and Green candidate Marie McCormack after the third.
That left the SNP on 2099 votes, Labour on 1174 and the Tories on 1056, with redistribution of the Tory votes finally giving the victory to the Nationalists by 681 votes over Labour.
Mr Tait said he was honoured to be elected. He added: “I’m very much looking forward to engaging with the public. My real interest is in bringing power back into communities.
“I already work across all sectors of Linlithgow to produce the magazine and I work with people of all stripes so I have no concerns or worries about working with anybody and it is something I would like to continue with.
“I will work with anyone who is interested in promoting Linlithgow. I’ve learned a lot just in this campaign, speaking to people at home having really difficult problems.
“There’s no magic wand that will solve these problems but I do think community empowerment is the way forward.”
The SNP won a total of six by-elections across Scotland yesterday with almost 45.9 per cent of the votes, which the party said represented a 5.7 per cent swing from Labour.
SNP national business convener Derek Mackay said: “These results are the latest sign that, after eight years in government, the SNP still maintain the confidence of people across Scotland to represent their communities.”