DENIS COYNE has pledged to "work hard" on behalf of residents in Clackmannanshire East after being elected councillor last week.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate has managed to hold the seat for his party in an unprecedented by-election, replacing former councillor Bill Mason who stepped down due to ill health.

Residents in the area were called to the polls last Thursday, November 19, with the by-election previously postponed due to the pandemic.

Mr Coyne took 51.2 per cent of first-preference votes, from a turnout of 35.1 per cent.
The new councillor for Clacks East said: "I must first thank the voters of the ward who turned out despite the current circumstances and on a bitterly cold day to ask me to take up the challenge of representing them.

"I now have a very important new job ahead of me to work hard on behalf of all the residents of Clackmannanshire East to make sure they get the representation in Kilncraigs they deserve.

"I would also like to put on record my thanks to the council staff who put Covid-secure measures in place to make the election process as safe as it could possibly be.

"I was very impressed with their attention to detail and professionalism and I very much look forward to working with them on behalf of my constituents in the months ahead."

MSP Alexander Stewart, who supported his campaign, said the result was "truly phenomenal" and "richly deserved" with the party's share of the vote up by nearly 10 per cent.

SNP candidate Stephen Leitch came second with 32 per cent of votes taken, increasing his party's share of the vote by just under two per cent.

He said: "I'm quite disappointed to be honest. I was hoping we would have made a bigger dent in the gap, but that's how people voted.

"Perhaps if the turnout had been higher, things might have been better – it's a very difficult time.

"I think a lot of people didn't come out to vote because of the ongoing situation."
However, he will remain active as a member of Dollar Community Council, with Christmas lights to go up in the town next on the agenda.

Mr Leitch also thanked his campaign team, including election agent Dave Lewis, his back-up Norman Ross, the people who came out to help with leaflets as well as the residents who voted.

He added: "Many-many thanks to them, it's a big-big job to do all this and without that level of support it would be very-very difficult to make anything happen."

Labour's Carolyne Hunter took 8.1 per cent of votes, the party losing around 12 per cent compared to last time.

Marion Robertson for the Greens received 5.8 per cent, up by two per cent, while Liberal Democrat Jim Hay took 2.9 per cent, down by 1.4 per cent for his party.