Hush-hush meetings to decide who will lead East Dunbartonshire Council

Tom Johnston House - EDC HQ
Tom Johnston House - EDC HQ

THE balance of power at East Dunbartonshire Council is on a knife-edge after an intriguing set of results in the local authority elections.

Last Thursday saw the electorate take to the polls, with the results announced over a tense six hours on Friday, in Bishopbriggs Leisuredrome.

An electrical fault saw the computerised counting system go down for around 40 minutes, but there was a sigh of relief as everything eventually flickered back to life - with no further hold-ups.

After the dust settled no single party had an outright working majority of councillors to form an administration.

Labour gained two councillors for a total of eight, the Conservatives lost two councillors to be left with just two, while the SNP and Liberal Democrats representation remained unchanged with eight and three councillors respectively.

Meanwhile, the Independent Alliance returned two councillors - including a massive victory for Charles Kennedy, who polled more than double the votes of his nearest rival in the Campsie and Kirkintilloch North ward.

The final councillor elected was an independent - Duncan Cumming, in the Bearsden North Seat.

With no clear majority for the previous Labour/Conservative coalition administration there are multiple possible scenarios which could play out in the coming days.

The SNP could team up with the three independents - which would mean that the only way the Labour and Conservative councillors could remain in power would be to do a deal with the Liberal Democrats.

The group leaders were remaining tight-lipped about the potential outcomes when the Herald talked to them at the count.

Labour group leader Rhondda Geekie said that the former adminstration would “meet as group to make an internal decision and take it from there”.

She added everybody else, including the other parties, would just have to “wait and see”.

Meanwhile, SNP group leader Ian MacKay insisted that his party “certainly want to be part of the next administration”.

In an election of few real surprises, the one major casualty was Bearsden North councillor Amanda Stewart.

She will now be forced to stand down as chairperson of East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust, after being beaten in a tight three way battle with Lib Dem Ashay Ghai and the SNP’s Ian MacKay.

Conservative group leader Billy Hendry paid tribute to the “hard working” former councillor, as did several of her political opponents - including the victorius Councillor Ghai.

Local results:

Campsie and Kirkintilloch North: Councillors Dempsey, Ritchie and Kennedy.

Bishopbriggs South: Councillors O’Donnell, Moir and Low.

Lenzie and Kirkintilloch South: Councillors Renwick, Jarvis and Geekie.

Kirkintilloch East and Twechar: Coouncillors Young, MacDonald and Jamieson.

Bishopbriggs North and Torrance: Councillors McNair, Walker and Hendry.

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