Independent candidate Ann Ritchie won a stunning victory in elections to Falkirk Council, topping the poll in the Bo’ness and Blackness ward with 2,262 first preference votes.
The ward was the first to be declared, with a turnout of 45.6 per cent.
The former Depute Provost, who has been a councilor since 2009, told voters that she had stood as an Independent, having fought against cuts that would see Bo’ness Recreation Centre, town hall and Hippodrom closed.
She abstained from this year’s budget vote, as she refused to return the closure of all public toilets and later announced she had left the party and was standing as an independent.
Speaking after the count, Ms Ritchie said: “I knew I had a good support going on social media and talking to people but I didn’t think it would anywhere near that, so I have to thank people. It’s tremendous!”
Ms Ritchie left the SNP after this year’s budget when she refused to agree to the closure of public toilets in Bo’ness.
“I just couldn’t vote for the closure – you’ve got the John Muir trail, you’ve got the town center – we need people to come down to the town center and taking away the toilets after taking away the One Stop shop , to me, was just another nail for Bo’ness.
“I just thought I’m better on my own for Bo’ness and Blackness and won’t be aligned with any political party.
Falkirk Live brings you the latest headlines from Falkirk and beyond.
But did you know all the ways you can stay informed with us?
We share live news and exclusive scoops every day so make sure you’re following us so we can keep you informed on all things Falkirk!
“If anything comes up for closure, I will be there to find against it – that’s all I can do and I’ll keep doing it!”
The SNP’s Stacey Devine – a first-time candidate – got 1202 first preference votes, which meant she was elected in the second round of the Single Transferable voting system.
While new to the council, Ms Devine has plenty of political experience as a National Union of Student’s women’s organizer and she said that being elected was a “massive honour”.
“The campaign was brilliant – myself and my team worked so hard and what’s happened today has only been possible because I have a cracking team and teh SNP family.
“The biggest thanks, though, has to go to the voters in Bo’ness and Blackness, because it’s their decision at the end of the day.
“The hard work now starts and I’m excited to get going!”
Labour’s David Aitchison took 1041, which took him over the quota needed in the fifth stage of voting.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted that people have had faith in me and I look forward to representing and fighting for more facilities and more money for Bo’ness and Blackness.”
There was disappointment, however, for the Conservative candidate Lynn Munro, who got 843 votes.
Debra Pickering took 136 votes for the Scottish Green Party and Nicholas William Pitts took just 90 votes for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.