SNP and Scots Labour win seats in Leith by-election

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LABOUR has had its first success at the ballot box in Scotland since it was reduced at the general election to just one MP north of the border.

The party took a seat from the Greens in an Edinburgh City Council by-election in the Leith Walk ward. The SNP also held a seat in the same ward.

It was the first time in Scotland that a by-election took place to fill two vacancies in the same ward using the STV voting system.

Labour’s win came despite a swing in first-preference votes of 7.6% from it to the SNP - but this was a much smaller swing in favour of the Scottish Nationalists than at the general election and in other Scottish council by-elections since then.

The Greens were unable to hold the seat even though their vote share fell by only 1.5 percentage points.

First-count voting for the two seats was: SNP 2,290, Lab 1,623, Green 1,381, C 501, LD 255, Ukip 102, Soc 97, Left 32, Ind 26, Libertarian 17.

The by-election followed the resignation of Deidre Brock, the new SNP MP for Edinburgh North & Leith, as a councillor and the resignation of a Green councillor.

In other council by-elections in England, Labour held two seats and Conservatives held two.

Labour’s wins were at Sandwell (Blackheath ward) and Thurrock (West Thurrock & South Stifford). The Tories’ successful defences were at Maidstone (Fant) and Tunbridge Wells (Southborough North).

A result is expected later from a Midlothian Council by-election following the resignation as a councillor of Owen Thompson, the new SNP MP for Midlothian.

Fourteen SNP MPs newly-elected in May have resigned as councillors to focus on their Westminster roles, prompting local by-elections.

Forthcoming contests in such circumstances are:

September 17: South Ayrshire - Corri Wilson (now MP for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock);

October 1: East Ayrshire - Alan Brown (Kilmarnock & Loudoun); Fife - Peter

Grant (Glenrothes); West Lothian - Martyn Day (Linlithgow & Falkirk East).

October 8: Highland - Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey).