By-Election Result: Clydebank Central


It’s an absolutely chaotic time to be running Ballot Box Scotland, as the relatively constant spate of by-elections hasn’t stopped just because there’s now a general election on. I’m therefore having to scramble both to do all my pre-GE coverage (which you can find on the hub page here) and to report on by-elections. Frankly I’m a bit behind on previews for the latter due to the need to prioritise, but I’m doing my best!

We had two by-elections on the same day this week. This one was for West Dunbartonshire’s Clydebank Central ward, arising in the particularly unsavoury circumstances of Independent (elected Labour, but obviously expelled) Councillor Craig Edward being convicted on charges relating to indecent images of children. Although in my preview I’d noted that this was one of the strongest wards for the SNP in the country, it was also one of the least politically diverse, with 92% of the vote going to the top two parties, meaning Labour weren’t impossibly far behind. I reckoned that meant Labour were thus the most likely winners given the current climate.

Headline Results

Councillors and Key Stats

1 Councillor Elected:
🔴Labour: Fiona Hennebry
Change vs 2022 (notional): Labour Gain from SNP
Change vs vacating: Labour Gain from Independent (elected Labour)
Turnout: 24.3% (-16.7)
Electorate: 11702
Valid: 2816 (99.0%)
Spoiled: 29 (1.0%)
Quota: 1409
3 Continuing Councillors:
Independent: Diane Docherty (elected SNP)
🟡SNP: Sophie Traynor
🔴Labour: Clare Steel


🔴Labour: Fiona Hennebry
🟤Communist Party of Great Britain: Nathan Hennebry
🔵Conservative: Ewan McGinnigle
Independent: Andrew Muir
🟠Lib Dem: Kai Pyper
🟡SNP: Marina Scanlan
🟤Sovereignty: Kelly Wilson

First Preferences
First Preference History

Sure enough, Labour did indeed come out on top. Not only did they record their strongest first preference share yet (albeit remember that in 2007 and 2012 one of their former councillors stood and was elected as an Independent), but they came just 11 votes short of winning on first preferences alone.

The SNP meanwhile had a corresponding drop in their vote, though still higher than it was before 2017. Although we have to bear in mind by-election effects (Labour voters more likely to turn out than SNP), given this was one of the SNP’s best bits of the West Dunbartonshire constituency, this is not a good omen for their chances of holding the seat on the 4th of July. Their prospects were already looking shaky given the state of polling, and this adds to the evidence they are in for big losses in the Central Belt.

The vote for the top two was still just shy of a remarkable 89%, so the expanded slate of candidates didn’t really attract many voters. As the only other returning party, the Conservatives unsurprisingly also further lost votes in what was one of their weakest wards anywhere in Scotland, though like the SNP this still exceeded their pre-2017 results.

None of those new candidates amounted to very much, though the strongest performance came from Independent Andrew Muir, who’ll be back on local ballots in just a few weeks as the Family Party candidate for West Dunbartonshire. The locally very weak Lib Dems only just pipped the Communists, whilst micro-party Sovereignty didn’t even make a full percentage point.


Close as she was to winning outright, Labour’s Fiona Hennebry just had to wait for enough of those paper candidates to drop out to get over the line. That duly happened after the elimination of the Lib Dems, taking Labour to 50.6% of the vote versus the SNP’s 40.0%, Conservative 4.6% and Independent 3.5%. Normally I’d do a two candidate preferred head-to-head here, but as this was a hand count, that’s the end of the analysis! We don’t have the data necessary for that, or for direct second preferences for every party, or for results per polling district. On the one hand that’s unfortunate, as I like that juicy data. On the other, saves me a little bit of effort at a time when I’m very busy!

Full analysis of the Tain and Easter Ross by-election will come tomorrow, after the final entry in the Party Profile series later tonight. I have the little donate box below in all of my pieces, but just an extra reminder this time if you value my work and can afford to, you can chip in to support it.

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