COWAL ELECTION RESULT
Last Updated on Monday, 07 May 2012 18:36 Written by Gordon Neish Friday, 04 May 2012 16:29
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THERE was a big shock in the Cowal ward of Argyll and Bute Council when the results of the local elections were announced in Lochgilphead earlier today as the SNP’s Ron Simon lost his seat narrowly to independent Bruce Marshall.
Runaway winner for the Cowal ward was independent Alex McNaughton, closely followed by Gordon Blair (SNP) - although Cllr Blair received most first votes. A healthy turnout of 49.86 per cent confounded those predicting a record low.
The first votes given to each Cowal candidate were:
* Gordon Blair (SNP) 570
* Stephen Johnstone (Ind) 282
* Chris Lambert (Ind) 126
* Lewis MacDonald (Con) 343
* Bruce Marshall (Ind) 375
* Alex McNaughton (Ind) 543
* Ron Simon (SNP) 353
* Chris Talbot (Ind) 169
* Russell Weir (Ind) 151
However, the supplementary votes were so close that Cllrs McNaughton and Blair were only elected at the sixth stage, and Cllr Marshall at the ninth – and final - stage. We understand there were fewer than 20 votes between Cllr Marshall and former Cllr Simon.
Ron Simon gave a gracious speech, thanking his voters and saying: “I’ll be back.”
Councillor McNaughton said he was very pleased to be representing Cowal again, and was looking forward to “the betterment of Cowal.”
Councillor Blair emphasised the need for teamwork, saying: “There is a lot of work to be done, and we need to work together.”
Councillor Marshall thanked those who voted for him and said: “I will carry on doing the best for Cowal, and for Argyll and Bute.”
Political control of the council is far from being decided, with next Thursday’s Dunoon election being vital in dictating the makeup of the council.
Elsewhere in Argyll and Bute former council leader Alison Hay (Lib) lost her mid-Argyll seat and in Lomond North influential independent Danny Kelly was rejected.
Going into the Dunoon election the current political makeup of the council is: Independent, 13; SNP, 12; Lib Dem, 4; Conservative, 4.
However, the independents had previously formed into various groupings and only seven councillors of the previous ruling Alliance of Independent Councillors remain. There is sure to be political horse trading over the weekend, refined once the Dunoon result is known.
At the moment neither ‘side’ are able to form a majority. We look forward to an interesting political dance over the coming days.