Voters in the eight wards across Monklands reflected the overall North Lanarkshire result by returning a total of 15 SNP councilors and 11 Labor – plus the authority’s first-ever Green representative.
The local line-up was completed by the area’s sole returning Conservative plus one independent; while there are 11 new faces heading to the Civic Center after unseating incumbents or replacing retiring members.
With neither of the two main parties having reached the crucial figure of 39 seats needed to reach an outright majority, respective leaders Jordan Linden and Jim Logue are now in talks with their teams over each group’s intended plans to form an administration.
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The most-eye catching result came in Stepps, Chryston & Muirhead where Claire Williams became North Lanarkshire’s first-ever Green councillor; joining Labor member John McLaren and new SNP councilor Josh Cairns.
A local resident and member of the area’s Northern Corridor community volunteers, she polled 523 first-preference votes and reached the electoral quota following the transfer of subsequent ballots under the single transferable vote system.
She told Lanarkshire Live she was “overwhelmed” by her election success and said: “I’m delighted to be able to make some inroads on green policy into North Lanarkshire Council and that’s what I’ll be focusing on – I’m already starting to think about the job and I’m really grateful for all the support.”
Andrew Bustard became the area’s youngest councilor when he was elected alongside Labor colleague Geraldine Woods in Coatbridge South and incumbent SNP members Tracy Carragher and Fergus MacGregor.
The newly-elected 22-year-old said: “I’ve lived in Coatbridge all my life, went to school there and I’m involved in local groups and clubs; this was another natural step to take to give something back and I’m relishing the chance to get out and do things.
“One of the major things that was coming up a lot was the cost of living crises and pressures that seemed to keep spiraling out of control; making streets safer and improving public transport are things that can have a marked increase to quality of life.”
The SNP made two gains from Labor compared to the 2017 result, picking up an extra seat in both Coatbridge West and in Gartcosh, Glenboig & Moodiesburn – reversing the electoral position in both to two SNP members and one from Labour.
Mary Gourlay of Labor lost her seat in Coatbridge West, with new SNP members Lesley Mitchell and Gary Robinson winning places to represent the ward alongside Labor incumbent Kevin Docherty.
Greg Lennon is joined in Gartcosh, Glenboig & Moodiesburn by party colleague Joanne Keltie, with the SNP duo plus Michael McPake, the council’s environment convener in the previous Labor administration, regaining his seat.
Coatbridge North is the only ward in Monklands to have an unchanged line-up of councilors, with Labor duo Bill Shields and Alex McVey and SNP pair Kirsten Larson and Allan Stubbs all retaining their seats.
Conservative members lost two of the three seats they had won in Airdrie five years ago, with Trevor Douglas losing out in Airdrie Central – now represented by longest-serving North Lanarkshire councillor Jim Logue, Labor colleague Chris Costello and new SNP representatives Lesley Jarvie and Janice Toner.
The vacated seat in Airdrie North went to the SNP, whose representative Sophia Coyle is now joined in the ward by colleague Richard Sullivan, as well as incumbent Alan Beveridge – one of only two independents to be elected – and new Labor member Henry Dunbar.
Sandy Watson, the council Conservative group leader, retained his place in Airdrie South alongside Michael Coyle and Paul Di Mascio of the SNP; While Labor retained their representation in the ward but at the expense of an incumbent party member.
It will now be former community council member Michael McBride who heads to the civic center for Labor in Airdrie South, after he polled more first-preference votes than sitting party colleague Ian McNeil.
Seven former councilors across Airdrie, Coatbridge and the surrounding wards did not stand at this election, including depute provost Tom Castles in Coatbridge, former SNP group leader David Stocks and long-serving Plains and Airdrie North councillor Tommy Morgan, a founder member of North Lanarkshire Council back in 1995.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.