Falkirk Council election 2022: New faces, but no majority for SNP

SNP efforts to win a majority on Falkirk Council were thwarted as they failed to take overall control, despite winning the largest share of the votes and 12 of the council’s 30 seats.

The Conservatives saw their numbers cut from seven to five, while Labor increased their share of the vote to claim second place and retain nine councillors.

But while the arithmetic isn’t too different, there were plenty of new faces elected to Falkirk Council, each promising to concentrate on local issues and work together for change.

Read more: Independent Ann Ritchie wins stunning victory in Bo’ness

SNP group leader, Cecil Meiklejohn – who herself won a comfortable victory with 2,260 first preference votes – took comfort in the fact that the SNP vote held up well from 2017.

She said: “We know that with the prospect of a referendum unionist votes are high and they are more focused on that than they are on local issues.

“We’ve maintained our position as of 2017 and we’re still the largest group so we’ll need to see how the dust settles following the election and what the future will hold.”

Labor group leader Robert Bissett congratulates Jack Redmond.

Both Conservative losses went to Independent candidates – former SNP depute provost Ann Ritchie saw a huge vote in Bo’ness and Blackness where she stood as an Independent, taking 2262 votes.

With Stacey Devine taking a seat for the SNP and David Aitchison holding for Labour, there was no place for the Conservative’s Lynn Munro.

In Denny and Banknock, the SNP duo of Paul Garner and Fiona Collie were comfortably returned and Labour’s Alf Kelly took the place vacated by Jim Blackwood.

Brian McCabe – a former councilor – returned to deny the Conservative’s Nigel Harris a second term.

The campaign saw Labor energized with a team of new candidates and they were delighted with the new team that emerged following the vote.

Group leader Robert Bissett said: “It’s a fantastic result for Labor – the vote has gone up across the wards and we’re still the second largest party.

“We have got some great new councilors including three younger councilors who will bring fresh blood.

“It will be a different Labor group from the past and we look forward to the next five years with vigor and enthusiasm and we hope to bring about change and challenge the cuts.”

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There were other familiar faces with Independent Billy Buchanan topping the poll in Bonnybridge and Larbert and Robert Spears returned in Grangemouth.

The other new councilors in Bonnybridge and Larbert include 26-year-old Jack Redmond who reclaimed the seat Labor lost in 2017.

The SNP’s Bryan Deakin took 1212 votes but despite getting 1038 votes – ahead of Labor on first preference votes – Conservative David Grant did not get enough transfer votes to reclaim his seat.

There was an upset in the Lower Braes ward where the SNP’s Adanna McCue – who has been the party’s education spokesperson lost her seat.

Labour’s Anne Hannah topped the poll, with Conservative James Kerr second and new candidate Gordon Forrest taking the third spot for the SNP.

Conservative group leader James Kerr said he was sad to have lost three former councilors but delighted to welcome new members to the fold.

Sarah Patrick took her father John’s place representing Falkirk South; fuel poverty campaigner Claire Brown won in the Upper Braes; and James Bundy won a seat in Falkirk North for the first time.

The Conservative group shrinks but includes three new councillors.
The Conservative group shrinks but includes three new councillors.

Mr Kerr said: “We campaigned hard and we tried to concentrate on local issues – we were quite happy with the responses we got door to door.

There was no sign of any kind of surge for the other parties on the ballot, the Greens polling in the low hundreds, while the Liberal Democrats struggled to get much traction.

And there was no cause for celebration for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party for Independence – their best result was in Falkirk North where Zohaib Arshad picked up 294 first preference votes.

Former Labor candidate John McLuckie was unsuccessful in his bid to be elected as an Independent, after he was deselected by his local Labor party.

UKIP candidate Stuart Martin got just 27 votes in Grangemouth, where the SNP’s David Balfour topped the poll and Alan Nimmo successfully swapped wards to replace Allyson Black and retain Labour’s seat.

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The next few days will see the winners decide how the new administration will look – and with so many new faces in the mix, that’s something that no-one is offering any predictions at the moment.

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Full voting results

Ward 1 – Bo’ness and Blackness (turnout 45.6 per cent)

David Aitchison, Scottish Labor Party, 1041 First Preference votes
Stacey Devine, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1202 FPv
Lynn Munro, Scottish Conservative & Unionist, 843 FPv
Debra Pickering, Scottish Green Party, 136 FPv
Nicholas William Pitts, Scottish Literal Democrats, 90 FPv
Ann Ritchie, Independent, 2262 FPv

  • Ann Ritchie (Ind), Stacey Devine (SNP) and David Aitchison (Lab) elected

Ward 2 – Grangemouth (turnout 40.5 per cent)

David Balfour, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1808 First Preference votes
Marc Bozza, Independent 157 FPv
Mandy Bryson, Scottish Conservative & Unionist, 685 FPv
John Haston, Scottish National Party (SNP), 454 FPv
Stuart Martin, UKIP, 27 FPv
Alan Nimmo, Scottish Labor Party, 1179 FPv
Robert Spears, Independent, 611 FPv
Rhys Stenhouse, Scottish Green Party, 122 FPv

  • David Balfour (SNP), Alan Nimmo (Lab), Robert Spears (Ind)

Ward 3 – Denny and Banknock (41.7 per cent)

Fiona Collie, Scottish National Party (SN), 1084 First Preference votes
Paul Garner, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1868 FPv
Nigel Harris, Scottish Conservative and Unionis, 1026 FPv
Rachel Hart, Scottish Green Party, 200 FPV
Alf Kelly, Scottish Labor Party, 889 FPV
James Marshall, Scottish Labor Party, 423 FPV
Brian McCabe, Independent, 860 FPv

  • Fiona Collie (SNP), Paul Garner (SNP), Alf Kelly (Lab), Brian McCabe (Ind)elected

Carse Kinnaird and Tryst: Gary Bouse, Laura Murtagh (SNP), Margaret Anslow (Lab) and Jim Flynn (Con).
Carse Kinnaird and Tryst: Gary Bouse, Laura Murtagh (SNP), Margaret Anslow (Lab) and Jim Flynn (Con).

Ward 4 – Carse, Kinnaird and Tryst (42.5 per cent)

Margaret Anslow, Scottish Labor Party 1762 First preference votes
Gary Bouse, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1961 FPv
James Flynn, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1081 FPv
Robert Kemp, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 646 FPv
Sean Patrick McCay, Scottish Liberal Democrats, 207 FPv
Tom McLaughlin, Scottish Green Party, 297 FPv
Laura Murtagh, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1224 FPv

  • Margaret Anslow (Lab), Gary Bouse (SNP), James Flynn (Con), Laura Murtagh (SNP)elected
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Ward 5 – Bonnybridge and Larbert (turnout 43.8 per cent)

Billy Buchanan, Independent, 1423 First Preference votes
Bryan Deakin, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1212 FPv
David Grant, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1038
Jim Muir, Scottish National Party (SNP), 700
Jack Redmond, Scottish Labor Party, 993
David Robertson, Scottish Green Party, 277

  • Billy Buchanan (Ind), Bryan Deakin (SNP), Jack Redmond (Lab) elected

Ward 6 – Falkirk North (turnout 39.6 per cent)

Zohaib Arshad, Alba Party for Independence, 294 first preference votes
Robert Bissett, Scottish Labor Party, 1464 FPv
James Bundy, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 857
Robbie Burgess, Scottish Labor Party, 399
Judith McLaughlin, Scottish Green Party, 381
Cecil Meiklejohn, Scottish National Party (SNP), 2260
Iain Sinclair, Scottish National Party (SNP), 801

  • Robert Bissett (Lab), James Bundy (Con), Cecil Meiklejohn (SNP), Iain Sinclair (SNP) elected

Ward 7 – Falkirk South (46.3 per cent)

Lorna Binnie, Scottish National Party (SNP) 1843 First preference votes
Sarah Patrick, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1744 FPv
Emma Lindsey Russell, Scottish National Party (SNP), 701 FPv
Euan Stainbank, Scottish Labor Party, 1364 FPv
Hunter Thomson, Scottish Green Party, 346 FPV
Richard Wilson, Independent, 108 FPV

  • Lorna Binnie (SNP), Sarah Patrick (Con), Euan Stainbank (Lab) elected

Ward 8 – Lower Braes (43.6 per cent)

Scott Fallon, Alba Party for Independence, 67 First preference votes
Gordon Forrest, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1205
Anne Hannah, Scottish Labor Party, 1393
James Kerr, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1204
Adanna Bridget McCue, Scottish National Party (SNP), 825
Doug Sheehan, Scottish Green Party, 298
Ashley Hunter Ward, Scottish Liberal Democrats, 167

  • Gordon Forrest (SNP), Anne Hannah (Lab), James Kerr (Con)elected

Ward 9 – Upper Braes (turnout 43.8 per cent)

Claire Brown, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, 1202
Ian Kennedy, Independent, 89
Rachel Kidd, Scottish Green Party, 308
John McLuckie, Independent, 459
Siobhan Paterson, Scottish Labor Party, 1272
Austin Reid, Scottish Liberal Democrats, 139
Jim Robertson, Scottish National Party (SNP), 1918
Colin Todd, Alba Party for Independence, 63
Mark Andrew Tunnicliff, Independent, 49

  • Claire Brown (CON), Siobhan Paterson (Lab), Jim Robertson (SNP) elected


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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