Conservatives make major gains in Stirling council elections

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Ross Oxburgh after he won his seat in Stirling North. Credit: Andrew Baxter

The Scottish Conservatives were the only party in Stirling to gain seats as the results of the council elections were announced earlier today.

The party are now tied with the SNP on nine seats and will hold talks as they fight for control of the administration.

In 2012, the party managed to accumulate four seats and formed a coalition government with the Labour Party.

Following the results declared in Stirling’s Albert Hall, the Conservatives managed to gain five seats while the SNP held their nine.

The Scottish Conservatives emphatically won in all of Stirling’s council wards except for Bannockburn.

After his victory in Stirling North with 1237 votes, Conservative candidate Ross Oxburgh said he felt “fantastic” after his victory.

He said: “We knew we were going to do better but if you’d told me we were going to do this well I’d have bitten your hand off.

“It’s fantastic that there’s been so many [Conservative] candidates elected. I’m not surprised, they’ve all worked very hard, and they’re all very committed individuals that are passionate about their own local area.

“In terms of what the first thing I’m going to have to do is to learn the ropes at the council, and so far they’ve been very helpful and supportive, but I’ve promised all these things to voters so I need to learn the mechanics of the council and work out how I see those promises through.”

The SNP’s Jim Thomson and Susan McGill were also elected to the council with 727 and 1054 votes respectively.

Support for the Labour Party in Stirling showed decline as they lost half of their seats overall, winning four, with convenor of Stirling Council’s environmental committee, Danny Gibson winning re-election for Stirling North.

Green’s candidate Chloe Campbell. Credit: Andrew Baxter

Student and Scottish Green’s candidate, Chloe Campbell lost out, receiving 496 votes and discussed with Brig where her campaign went wrong.

She said: “We fought a really strong local campaign and a lot of the areas where we do very well have a low turnout unfortunately and there’s only 60 folk voted at the university.

“Unfortunately, I think it was national issues that swung it rather than local issues which is a bit of a shame.

“Things like the independence referendum and Brexit really took over in the local campaign and I think that was quite to the detriment of the Greens.

“We had one seat before and we have retained that same seat so the Greens have not done any worse – I think it’s positive signs for the Greens.”

Despite their increased attempts to engage with students in the area, Chloe stated that turnout at the university was just 20%, with 60 of a possible 300 turning out to vote.

In Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, the Conservatives won significantly, gaining two seats.

Alastair Majury won the vote with 1543 votes while fellow candidate Douglas Dodds achieved 1502 votes.

The SNP’s Graham Houston was chosen as the third candidate for the Dunblane and Bridge of Allan ward, winning 1203 seats.

While running mate Chloe Campbell may have missed out in the North ward, Alastair Tollemache gave the Scottish Green party their only Stirling councillor after receiving 706 votes.

Steven Paterson, SNP MP for Stirling, was at Albert Hall to support his party’s council candidates and discussed his bid for re-election next month.

Paterson said he hopes to fight off competition from the Conservatives for the seat. He said: “We find very strong SNP support in many areas right across from the constituency when we’re out knocking on doors.

“So I of course hope that translates into a positive vote for the SNP in a few weeks time.

“I think that we’ve done enough and we have enough in terms of the SNP’s policy platform that we can persuade the people of Stirling that we must make that the Tories do not get a foothold here.”

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