HELEN LEWIS has won the Clackmannanshire North by-election, it has been confirmed.

The SNP candidate, who was formerly a councillor in the Alloa area, will take over from party colleague Archie Drummond who recently resigned.

The by-election took place amidst some of the worst snowstorms in recent memory, with turnout at 24.7 per cent.

Mrs Lewis was personally congratulated by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after the announcement was made.

She will now take her seat at Kilncraigs along with her seven fellow SNP councillors.

However, she admits it will be a "baptism of fire" for her as she and her colleagues prepare to deliver the council budget for the coming year.


  • Helen Lewis (SNP) - 769 (36.8%)
  • Alex Stewart (Con) - 658 (31.5%)
  • Afifa Khanam (Lab) - 493 (23.6%)
  • Damian Sherwood-Johnson (L/Dem) - 84 (4%)
  • Marion Robertson (Gre) - 74 (3.5%)

The council confirmed there were a total of 2092 votes cast, with 14 rejected ballots.

A delighted Mrs Lewis told the Advertiser: “Fantastic result for us, very pleased.”

“The budget [meeting], I understand is on Tuesday so it's a bit of a baptism of fire for me.

“Obviously, I've not had much input into the budget and I'm coming in at the very-very last [moment], so obviously the SNP group will get my support on that.

“I'm sure the SNP councillors are putting forward the best possible budget that they could put forward and it will have been made mindful of the people of Clackmannanshire and their wellbeing.”

She said it was a “good campaign”, adding: “All the candidates gave a very good account of themselves and we all got on well during the campaign.

“The SNP supporters have been absolutely fantastic, but I think the biggest praise must go to the voters who came out yesterday – for all parties, because the conditions were absolutely atrocious.”

With regards to the by-election turnout, the new councillor added: “I know know it's not a big poll, but in the conditions that was fantastic.”

“I feel that perhaps it should have been, under the circumstances, postponed, but I realise it wasn't the council, it was the Electoral Commission [behind the decision] and there is no contingency plans for weather such as this.

“But it may be something we need to think about because it's not fair that some people didn't get out to vote – later on in the day it was impossible for some people to get out of their houses.”

The Conservatives' Alex Stewart added: “I want to thank everyone who came out to vote in such harsh weather conditions.

"I particularly want to thank everyone who voted for me and for placing their faith in me as their new councillor. I am disappointed not have been elected as councillor for the Clackmannanshire North ward.

"However, I am proud of the campaign that we have run, and the closeness of the result sends a strong message to the SNP not to take Clackmannanshire for granted.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Damian Sherwood-Johnson said: “Thanks to all the staff involved and the people who came out and kept the democratic process going, keeping it strong, keeping it vibrant.”

When asked about the future, he added: “You never know with these things, do you?

“I'm still chair of the community council and I get a lot of enjoyment out of that, it keeps me heavily involved with what's going on locally in our area – I do enjoy that process."

Scottish Greens candidate Marion Robertson told the Advertiser it was a “well-fought” election.

She said: “It was my first experience of a by-election and the candidates were all very fair and friendly.

“The electorate who did vote were very hardy in coming out in the numbers that they did because it was atrocious conditions for them to vote in.”

She thanked the “absolutely superb” council staff for their work, adding that returning officer Elaine McPherson and her team “certainly do run a very tight ship” as the poll and count went ahead and was all wrapped up in adverse weather.

Marion also congratulated Helen and the SNP on their victory.