Ex-Tory councillor leads the vote as an independent

Councillors Donald Kelly, left, and John Armour, right, were re-elected in the South Kintyre ward. Long-serving councillor Rory Colville, centre, lost his seat to newcomer Tommy Macpherson, who was not present at the count. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.
Councillors Donald Kelly, left, and John Armour, right, were re-elected in the South Kintyre ward. Long-serving councillor Rory Colville, centre, lost his seat to newcomer Tommy Macpherson, who was not present at the count. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.

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A long-serving South Kintyre councillor has lost his seat on Argyll and Bute Council in the local authority elections.

Liberal Democrat Rory Colville, first elected in 2007, was the only candidate not to be elected to the ward when the public went to the polls on Thursday May 5.

‘After almost 20 years as a local government representative, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the years,’ he told the Courier.

The SNP’s John Armour, a councillor since 2014, and independent Donald Kelly, a councillor since 2001, were re-elected, and they were joined on the council by a newcomer, Conservative candidate Tommy Macpherson.

The decision by the Conservatives to stand a party candidate in the ward, instead of Donald Kelly as ‘Independent Conservative’, saw a shift in voting patterns.

Councillor Kelly, who led the first preference votes, said: ‘I am delighted to have been re-elected as a councillor for South Kintyre and thank everyone who voted for me.

‘I look forward to continuing to work for everyone in our community over the next five years.

‘Unfortunately, the turnout at this election was very low, most notably amongst the younger generation. This has to be addressed and the council must find more innovative ways to engage with the younger electorate to keep democracy alive for future elections.’

Councillor Donald Kelly said if democracy is to continue in Argyll and Bute, the council must engage with young voters. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.
Councillor Donald Kelly said if democracy is to continue in Argyll and Bute, the council must engage with young voters. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.

Councillor Armour, who had the second highest number of first preference votes, said: ‘I would like to thank the wonderful people of South Kintyre who have considered me worthy of representing them again.

‘I’m glad my positive campaign was so well rewarded by being elected at the first count.

‘As always, I will continue to work for everyone to ensure we can get the best deal for our area.’

Councillor John Armour said the council 'will be a far poorer place' without Rory Colville. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.
Councillor John Armour said the council ‘will be a far poorer place’ without Rory Colville. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.

He added: ‘I would never have been able to get through the last few weeks without the love and support of my wife Carole, daughters Katherine and Jennifer and my mum Cathie.

‘My right-hand man, Angus, has been a tower of strength and a great help when we were out with the leaflets.

‘Thanks to Sophia, David, Ida, Alistair, Ron, Anne and Alex who helped me deliver my leaflets and to Heather, Raibeart and our SNP members for their fantastic support and encouragement.

‘I really appreciated the visits from our MSP Jenni Minto and Marie Claire and our MP Brendan O’Hara, and Fiona and Kevin, to support my campaign.

‘Thanks also to friends, family and everyone who sent me messages of support and congratulations. I’m proud to be able to represent you for another five years.’

Councillor Macpherson, who was elected at the second stage of the count, said: ‘I stood for election to represent our community. The message to the people of South Kintyre was a simple one: local issues, local priorities, a strong new clear voice of representation.

‘Not 24 hours elected, I have a bin, a bus stop, a wall, the B842 and the questions ‘are our schools issuing the Platinum Jubilee book?’ and ‘are we about to see our first wind turbines south of Campbeltown?’

‘To my core voters, you wanted change, you voted for change. You voted Scottish Conservative and Unionist.

‘You must be acknowledged and congratulated for getting your representative elected to local government and, in doing so, bringing a fresh new perspective for South Kintyre’s future.

‘We will face many challenges in the coming five years. I fully intend to work with South Kintyre’s two other elected representatives, regardless of political allegiance, to deliver for our community on local issues and priorities.

‘Working together, I am confident we can exert sufficient pressure at Kilmory and Holyrood to live up to our election pledges of delivering for South Kintyre.’

Mr Colville added: ‘I would also take the opportunity to congratulate Donald, John and Tommy on their election and wish them all the best as our representatives on Argyll and Bute Council.’

The election took place under the single transferrable vote system. The result, with first preference votes listed for every candidate, was:

  • Donald Kelly, independent – 848
  • John Armour, SNP – 773
  • Tommy Macpherson, Scottish Conservatives – 531
  • Rory Colville, Scottish Liberal Democrats – 206

The turnout in the ward was 46.9 per cent.

Councillor Donald Kelly and his two-year-old grandson Dudley Kelly outside the polling station at Campbeltown's Victoria Hall.
Councillor Donald Kelly and his two-year-old grandson Dudley Kelly outside the polling station at Campbeltown’s Victoria Hall.