Council elections – blue surge as horse trading lies ahead

Key highlights – 32 out of 32 councils declared

  • Major surge by the Tories saw them increase their number of councillors by 164 from 2012, to 276. Now the largest party in six councils – Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders and South Ayrshire.
  • SNP has performed at the lower end of expectations, losing 7 councillors when compared with 2012 and currently stands at 431. Despite being the largest party in Glasgow, Edinburgh and 14 other councils, it has lost overall control of Dundee and Angus.
  • Labour has lost 133 councillors compared with 2012, currently standing at 262 and losing overall control of West Dunbartonshire and South Lanarkshire.
  • Greens and Liberal Democrats flatline.

(due to boundary changes drops and increases in councillor numbers are based on notional outcomes for 2012)

Well, the votes are in and counted and the 1,227 councillors elected across 353 wards in 32 local authorities. You knew it was going to be a good day for the Conservatives when they picked up a Council seat in Gordon Brown’s backyard of Cowdenbeath and other previous no-go areas such as the Highlands and Glasgow.

The Conservatives have indeed made significant gains when compared to the last elections in 2012 and look set to leapfrog the Labour Party in terms of councillor numbers

With elections in Scotland now seen through the prism of the constitutional question, it is only natural that this has been a key focus of each and every election since the independence referendum of 2014. It was inevitable given this and their strong anti-independence, anti-referendum rhetoric, that it was the Conservatives who were set to make strong gains through tactical voting, at the expense of both the SNP and to a greater extent the Labour Party.

There are now dilemmas across the country, with many councils such as Clackmannanshire, Aberdeen and Edinburgh witnessing the SNP as being the largest party as the Tories gain and Labour lose, but with the need to form a coalition or a method of governing.

A weekend and further days of horse-trading now lie ahead in Councils where parties have failed to achieve an overall majority and in which there is currently no overall control. With the SNP pledged not to form coalitions with the Conservatives, there could be some interesting alliances forged, which may see SNP, despite having the largest number of councillors still lose out to a pro-Unionist alliance

Party Councils +/- since 2012 Seats +/- since 2012
SNP -3 431 -7
Conservatives 276 +164
Labour -3 262 -133
Liberal Democrat 67 -3
Greens 19 +5
Independent 3 172 -26
UKIP
No overall control 29 +5

Individual Councils – numbers in brackets refer to 2012 results

Council SNP Lab Cons Lib Dem Grns Ind Control
Aberdeen City 19(+3) 9(-9) 11(+8) 4(-1) 0 0 No overall control
Aberdeenshire 21(-8) 1(-1) 23(+9) 14(+2) 0(-1) 10(-2) No overall control
Angus 9(-6) 0(-1) 8(+5) 2(+1) 0 9(+1) No overall control
Argyll & Bute 11(-2) 0 9(+5) 6(+2) 0 10(-5) No overall control
Clackmannanshire 8(-) 5(-3) 5(+4) 0 0 0 (-1) No overall control
Dumfries and Galloway 11(-) 11(-1) 16(+3) 1(-) 0 4(-2) No overall control
Dundee City 14(-2) 9(-1) 3(+2) 2(+1) 0 1(-) No overall control
East Ayrshire 14(-1) 9(-5) 6(+4) 0 0 3(+2) No overall control
East Dunbartonshire 7(-1) 2(-5) 6(+4) 6(+3) 0 1(-2) No overall control
East Lothian 6(-3) 9(+1) 7(+4) 0 0 0(-2) No overall control
East Renfrewshire 5(-1) 4(-2) 7(+2) 0 0 2(+1) No overall control
City of Edinburgh* 19(-2) 12(-9) 18(+7) 6(+3) 8(+1) No overall control
Falkirk 12(-1) 9(-4) 7(+) 0 0 2(-1) No overall control
Fife 29(+4) 24(-10) 15(+12) 7(-3) 0 0(-3) No overall control
Glasgow City 39(+8) 31(-16) 8(+7) 7(+3) 0(-1) 0(-1) No overall control
Highland* 22(+3) 3(-5) 10(+10) 10(-4) 1(+1) 28(-5) No overall control
Inverclyde 7(-) 8(-3) 2(+1) 1(-1) 0 4(+3) No overall control
Midlothian 6(-2) 7(-1) 5(+5) 0 0(-1) 0(-1) No overall control
Moray 9(-1) 1(-2) 8(+5) 0 0 8(-2) No overall control
Na h-Eileann Siar 7(+1) 0(-3) 1(+1) 0 0 23(+1) Ind Hold
North Ayrshire 11(-4) 11(-2) 7(+6) 0 0 4(-) No overall control
North Lanarkshire* 33(+3) 32(-12) 10(+10) 0 0 2(-1) No overall control
Orkney 0 0 0 0 1(+1) 20(-1) Ind Hold
Perth & Kinross 15(-2) 1(-3) 17(+7) 4(-1) 0 3(-1) No overall control
Renfrewshire 19(+2) 13(-11) 8(+7) 1(-) 0 2(+2) No overall control
Scottish Borders 9(-) 0 15(+5) 2(-4) 0 8(-1) No overall control
Shetland 1(+1) 22(-1) Ind Hold
South Ayrshire 9(+2) 5(-4) 12(+2) 0 0 2(-) No overall control
South Lanarkshire 27(+1) 22(-10) 14(+10) 0 1(-) 0(-1) No overall control
Stirling 9(-1) 4(-4) 9(+5) 0 1(-) 0 No overall control
West Dunbartonshire 10(+3) 8(-3) 2(+2) 0 0 2(-2) No overall control
West Lothian 13(-2) 12(-4) 7(+6) 0 0 1(-1) No overall control

*Boundary changes have occurred here. 2012 seats are an estimate of what the result would have been then if the new boundaries had been in place.

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