Updated on Tuesday, May 10
Notebook by Bill Heaney
I apologise unreservedly at the very outset of this Notebook for having got the overall result of the council elections in Argyll and Bute wrong.
I’ll have to replenish the oil in my abacus and attempt to make light of what is a very serious matter.
They say that a man who never made a mistake never made a discovery, but there is little consolation for me to be had in that.
The correct result was that the SNP won overall control of the Council, which takes in Cardross, Helensburgh and Lomond North and South.
The SNP notched up 12 seats, to give them a two-seat lead over the Conservatives who had retired Argyll and Sutherland Highlander and former SNP Maurice Corry back in their ranks in the Lomond North Ward.
There were seven seats for the Independents and five seats for the Scottish Liberal Democrats plus one seat each for the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Labour Party.
Confusion crept in for me when two seats in the same ward, Oban South and the Isles, were won by the SNP.
Her Labour colleague, Jackie Baillie, MSP for the Dumbarton parliamentary constituency, which includes Helensburgh and Lomond North and South, has told of her delight after Fiona Howard made history in becoming Helensburgh Central’s first Scottish Labour Councillor.
Jackie said: “She will now be a strong voice for local people to ensure the best interests of Helensburgh are represented on the Council.”
Meanwhile Scottish Labour’s Watson Robinson missed out on being elected in the Lomond North ward despite polling hundreds of votes.
Jackie Baillie added: “I have no doubt that Fiona Howard will do an excellent job in standing up for the people who stay and work in the town to ensure their voices are heard and their views are represented.
“She has a detailed knowledge of the area and the priorities and concerns of its residents. Helensburgh is in safe hands with Fiona as its spokesperson.
“I also want to congratulate Watson Robinson in ensuring the people of Lomond North were given the chance to vote for a candidate dedicated to his community and for leading a positive campaign.”
Councillor Fiona Howard said: “It is an immense privilege to be elected to represent Scottish Labour on Argyll and Bute Council. I want to thank everyone who put their faith in me by voting for me last Thursday. I will do everything in my power to ensure your vote was worthwhile.
“I guarantee I will work hard for the Helensburgh Central community and for all residents across the area to ensure our Council is acting in your best interests, spending public money wisely and making sure the right decisions are being made.”
Elected in Helensburgh — former MSP Maurice Corry, Conservative; Fiona Howard, Labour, who is pictured here with Labour leader Anas Sarwar, and Conservative, Gary Mulvaney.
Maurice Corry (Conservative), was elected in Lomond North alongside Mark Irvine (Independent) and Iain Shonny Paterson, who was re-elected for the SNP.
It was the end of an era when Independent candidate George Freeman, a councillor in Garelochhead since 1999, was not re-elected, ending his long stay on the council.
There were some gasps of surprise at the count when colourful Fiona Howard was returned in Helensburgh Central for the Scottish Labour Party.
The residents of Argyll and Bute are about to see red in their council chambers for the first time in history.
In Helensburgh Central, Gary Mulvaney (Conservative) was re-elected along with Graham Hardie (Liberal Democrat). Fiona Howard (Labour) has also been elected for this Ward alongside Ian MacQuire (SNP).
In Helensburgh and Lomond South, Dumbarton resident David Kinniburgh (Conservative), a former Provost, lost his seat while Math Campbell-Sturgess (SNP), Paul Kennedy (Liberal Democrat), and Gemma Penfold (Conservative) all won.
Former council leader Robin Currie (LibDem); education leader Yvonne McNeilly (Conservative) and Kieron Green (Independent) who were returned to their seats on Argyll and Bute Council.