Labour, who also came second in 2016, were up 10% but were still 5,000 behind the SNP.
Marie McNair (SNP), Defeated Douglas McAllister (Labour) and departed Gil Paterson (SNP).
The first four Holyrood seats have been declared, including Clydebank & Milngavie, which has been held by SNP despite a ten per cent swing to Labour.
The winner, the SNP’s Marie McNair is a former Labour councillor, whose brother Andrew White was at one time the leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, who resigned under a cloud after a public inquiry by Audit Scotland.
Andy White had also been accused of increasing the membership of the Constituency Labour Party in a manner that was not within the party rules in order to increase his support for a nomination to becoming a prospective Westminster candidate against Labour’s John McFall, who is now the Speaker in the House of Lords.
Cllr McNair is vice chair of West Dunbartonshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership, which has been at the centre of the controversy over the high number of deaths in care homes and care home visiting arrangements for relatives in the constituency. The chair of that committee is the unelected accountant Donald MacLeod.
She was once an auxiliary nurse in the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in East Barns Street, Clydebank, from which she would have drawn significant support.
Marie McNair succeeds Gil Paterson, who has retired, and who has been featuring in politics with the SNP since the inception of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1974.
The Labour candidate Douglas McAllister, who is a former Provost of West Dunbartonshire and the son of Jack McAllister, the late Labour Provost of Clydebank, attracted a huge swing to Labour but was still defeated.
Turnout across Scotland is up by an average 8% on the last Scottish Parliament election in 2016.
Labour’s Jackie Baillie, pictured left, who is fighting Scotland’s most marginal seat, also acknowledges the high turnout. She adds: “We don’t know what that effectively means in marginal areas like mine.”
Scottish Labour’s recovery from years of decline “starts now,” she said.
Ms Baillie said new leader Anas Sarwar, who took over at the end of February, has provided fresh impetus that will see an upturn in Labour’s share of the vote when results are declared later today and tomorrow.
“Anas has literally been in post for 10 weeks,” she said. “We started at 14% in the polls and there was even talk of the Greens overtaking us, but now we have improved that position substantially.
“I don’t want to speculate at this stage but certainly turnout is up across the board. We don’t know what that will mean in marginal areas like mine (Dumbarton) and in other seats across the country.
“But I think Scottish Labour’s recovery starts now. We ran a very positive campaign and I think Anas Sarwar is building an alternative to the SNP. We have been very clear the priority is recovering from the pandemic.”
There is no result yet from the Dumbarton Constituency, but there was a kerfuffle last evening when I spotted a row of Nationalist flags in the form of bunting within the polling station at Braehead Primary School in Dumbarton.
The majority of constituency seats will be called on Friday with the full picture known by Saturday teatime.
The outcome of this election will decide who forms the next Scottish government, with powers over areas like health, education and income tax.
It will also have an impact on whether or not there is a second referendum on Scottish independence.
A total of 129 MSPs are elected to Holyrood.
- Valeman Bob Doris held on to his seat when he was declared the winner in the Glasgow Maryhill constituency. He is a former pupil of St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton, who was brought up in Bonhill.