A solid advance on the previous election for both the SNP and Labour, who both gained about 4% of the vote and two additional councillors apiece, giving them 21 and 15 respectively. That’s put the SNP just one short of a majority. These gains came mostly at the Conservatives’ expense, who suffered a substantial loss of votes and three of their councillors, leaving them with 5.
Beleaguered Independent Paul Mack was also ejected by his constituents, leaving a single Independent on the council. The Lib Dems made the most of the Conservatives’ bad result to manage a hold despite the departure of their long serving councillor and her personal vote. A notably very poor result for the Greens here, who only stood in 4 of the 12 wards. Something appears to have gone very wrong for them, as they’d had a full slate in 2017, and had they done so again they could potentially have at least beaten the Lib Dems in vote share.
After the election, the SNP formed an administration with confidence and supply from Andy Doig, the sole Independent councillor. Doig will not join the administration, and will not necessarily support it except in budget and confidence votes.
Though it carries the name of one of Scotland’s historic counties, the modern Renfrewshire council is limited to the central stretch of that area. It’s almost equivalent to the previous Renfrew district, short Barrhead and Neilston. This nonetheless represents the bulk of the county’s population, centred on the major town of Paisley, which has long since overtaken neighbouring Renfrew in importance. A band of former industrial towns including Johnstone, Linwood and Erskine make up most of the rest of this council, though it also contains a more detached, rural element in the west, especially around Lochwinnoch.
For a while, Westminster constituencies were split partly on that basis, so whilst most of Renfrewshire was held by Labour, the western end had a brief spell under a Conservative MP from 1983. The SNP’s first constituency victories came in 2011, when they took Paisley and the northern seat, completing a sweep with the southern in 2016. In winning the Westminster constituencies in 2015, they’d made a bit of history when Mhairi Black became the youngest MP ever elected in the democratic era, unseating Labour veteran Douglas Alexander.
In fitting with the industrialised and urbanised nature of the area, that district was majority Labour for all but one election of its existence – 1977 was an almost even split between them, the Conservatives and SNP. Labour majorities similarly held through the 1995, 1999 and 2003 elections on the new boundaries, although the SNP had won slightly more votes at the last one.