The SNP’s David Tait has won the Linlithgow by-election by a majority of 681 votes over Labour’s David Manion.
Mr Tait got 2325 votes from a total of 4755 eligible votes cast while Mr Manion received 1644. Conservative candidate Ian Burgess was third with 1070.
It was a high turnout for a by-election in the Royal with 38.2 per hitting the polls from an electorate of 12,516.
In the single transferable vote system, a quota of 2378 was needed for an outright win and with no candidates receiving this the by-election had to go to five counts before a winner was declared by Returning Officer Graham Hope, chief executive of West Lothian Council, at the Howden Park Centre in Livingston today.
The by-election was triggered after the seat became vacant when former holder Martyn Day gave it up when he became an SNP MP for the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency following May’s General Election.
Mr Tait (66) is a father-of-two, a former construction business owner and Linlithgow Community Council member. He has been involved with the SNP since 1997.
He started the Linlithgow community magazine The Black Bitch four years “to give the community a voice” and wants to use his new position to continue to empower the people of Linlithgow.
He said: “I’m very pleased indeed about the win, I am actually honoured to be elected the representative of the town.
“I’m very much looking forward to engaging with the public. My real interest is in bringing power back into communities. I really think, to paraphrase, we have to get back to town councils.
“I see no other way of people being able to deal with the huge range of problems facing not just us here, but right across the country.
“I don’t see how we can do that without really empowering communities and giving them the right to make decisions about their own communities and that is my principle interest.
“I already work across all sectors of Linlithgow to produce the magazine and I work with people of all stripes so I have no concerns or worries about working with anybody and it is something I would like to continue with.
“I will work with anyone who is interested in promoting Linlithgow, I’ve learned a lot just in this campaign , speaking to people at home having really difficult problems.
“There’s no magic wand that will solve these problems but I do think community empowerment is absolutely the way forward.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate was first to be excluded from the voting after the first count with just 133 votes; Independent Brenda Galloway was next to disappear out of the running after the second count with 246 votes; The Greens’ Maire McCormack was next with 346 after the third count.