Former council leader re-elected to ward after narrow victory

Councillors Dougie McFadzean, left, and John McAlpine. Councillor Robin Currie arrived at the election count just after the result had been announced and did not speak on the stage. Photographs: Kevin McGlynn.
Councillors Dougie McFadzean, left, and John McAlpine. Councillor Robin Currie arrived at the election count just after the result had been announced and did not speak on the stage. Photographs: Kevin McGlynn.

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The most recent leader of Argyll and Bute Council has been re-elected – meaning he is set to reach 30 years on the council.

Kintyre and the Islands Liberal Democrat Robin Currie was one of three winning candidates elected to the ward in the council election on Thursday May 5.

He became the authority’s leader in September 2020 and remained in post through to the election. He has been on the council since its first elections were held in 1995.

Also elected in the polls were Dougie McFadzean, SNP, a newcomer to the council, and John McAlpine, Independent, who served on the council in the past but lost his seat in the 2017 election.

Independent candidate Alastair Redman will not return to the council he had been a member of since 2017, having narrowly failed in his bid to be re-elected.

He and councillor Currie had an equal total of 474 first preference votes, with councillor Currie prevailing at the sixth stage of the count.

The council’s next full meeting, expected to be later this month, will decide who will become leader for the authority’s new term, along with the posts of depute leader, provost and depute provost.

Councillor Currie said: ‘I am pleased and very humbled that people have put their trust in me and I am set for the next five years. I am looking forward to it and the hard work starts now.

‘We have been at home for the last two years, so we now have to get out and in among our communities to finding out their priorities.’

Councillor McFadzean told the Courier: ‘I am humbled and honoured to have been elected to represent everyone in Kintyre and the Islands on Argyll and Bute Council.

‘It was an outstanding victory for the SNP as there are now 12 SNP councillors representing you, more than any other political party.

‘I have been elected to work for all of you, to represent your views, to help with problems you may have and to help support you and improve your lives. I’ll do this to the best of my abilities and will be highly visible across our ward.

‘You voted for a fresh new council, one that listens to you and one that truly reflects the complex and varied communities in which we live. I’ll play my part to make sure this happens.’

Councillor Dougie McFadzean led the first preference votes in Kintyre and the Islands. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.
Councillor Dougie McFadzean led the first preference votes in Kintyre and the Islands. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.

And Councillor McAlpine, who lost his seat in the 2017 election, said: ‘I was here five years ago, bitterly disappointed with the result.

‘Thanks to all of you who supported my election campaign and voted for me last Thursday. Your support was overwhelming and I intend to repay your support with hard work and dedication.’

Councillor John McAlpine has returned to Argyll and Bute Council, after being 'bitterly disappointed' at losing his seat in the 2017 election. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.
Councillor John McAlpine has returned to Argyll and Bute Council, after being ‘bitterly disappointed’ at losing his seat in the 2017 election. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.

Independent and former Tory Alastair Redman, who lost his seat, vowed he would still be active in local politics.

‘Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the recent local elections,’ he said. ‘Also thanks to those who helped me out with my campaign and those who contributed to my crowdfunder.

‘Although I was not successful in getting re-elected as an independent candidate, the result could not have been any closer. With your continued support, I am confident of success when I run again in five years.’

He added: ‘I congratulate all the councillors who won across Argyll and Bute and commiserae with those who were not successful this time.

‘Representing the Kintyre and Islands ward has been an honour and a privilege and I will continue to remain active in local politics.’

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

  • Dougie McFadzean, SNP – 863
  • John McAlpine, independent – 680
  • Robin Currie, Scottish Liberal Democrats – 474 (elected at stage six of voting)
  • Alastair Redman, independent – 474
  • Alec McNeilly, Scottish Conservative – 276
  • Jane Kelly, Scottish Labour – 122

The electorate was 5,377 and the number of ballot papers received was 2,938, giving a percentage turnout of 54.6 per cent. There were 49 rejected ballot papers.