Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

SNP wins Aberdeen Donside poll

SNP candidate Mark McDonald celebrates at the Aberdeen Donside by-election count

The Scottish National Party has won the Aberdeen Donside by-election, but with a greatly reduced majority.

Mark McDonald won the seat after polling 9,814 votes, just over 2,000 more than the Labour candidate who was his nearest rival in the contest. However the SNP's majority fell by more than 5,000 votes from the result in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.

The by-election was held following the death in April of Nationalist MSP Brian Adam, who had been suffering from cancer. In the last Holyrood election he won the seat with 14,790 votes, giving him a majority of 7,175 over Labour. That was reduced to 2,025, with Labour candidate Willie Young polling 7,789 votes in the by-election.

There was a swing of just over 9% from the SNP to Labour, with Mr Young delighted to have taken more than 5,000 out of the Nationalist majority. "It's an absolutely huge reduction in the majority," he said. "I'm absolutely delighted with that. I'm very, very happy."

Mr Young, a councillor in Aberdeen, said the result showed his party could win the seat in the 2016 Holyrood elections and added: "All over Scotland people will be seeing the Labour Party has put in a strong performance and other seats are there for the taking."

That was dismissed by Mr McDonald, who stood down as an MSP for the North East region of Scotland to contest the by-election. "I didn't have a majority in this seat, Brian Adam had a majority in this seat.," he said. "Brian worked over many years, 25 years as a councillor and an MSP to build that kind of majority. I'm delighted to have won this by-election with a majority of just over 2,000. I look forward to working hard for the people of Donside, and if I work hard for them in the way Brian Adam did I am sure we will see those majorities increasing at future elections."

He stressed: "The objective in this by-election was to win the seat. We've won the seat. We've won it with a good majority, I'm looking to build on that majority in future and the way to do that is to work hard for the community."

Mr McDonald said that by winning the seat he had "protected the legacy of the late Brian Adam, who was a great mentor to me and a great friend of mine". He added: "We worked hard, we put up a good campaign on the issues that mattered to the people of Aberdeen Donside. We wanted to make sure we protected the legacy of Brian Adam. Our objective was to win the seat, now we've won the seat the hard work starts."

The Liberal Democrats, who were fourth in the seat in 2011, overtook the Conservatives to take third place with Christine Jardine polling 1,940 votes.

The by-election result means the SNP still has an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 65 of the 129 MSPs there.

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