24 October 2013 Last updated at 21:36 ET

As-it-happened: Dunfermline by-election

Key Points

  • Labour won the Scottish Parliament Dunfermline by-election, with the SNP coming second
  • The contest was sparked by the resignation of MSP Bill Walker, who was jailed after being convicted on charges of domestic abuse
  • A total of seven candidates stood to become the new MSP for the area
  1.  

    Hello, good evening and welcome to our coverage of the Scottish Parliament Dunfermline by-election.

     
  2.  
    2210:

    Polling stations have just closed, having been open since 0700, with a result expected some time in the early hours of Friday.

     
  3.  
    2214:

    Glenn Campbell is hosting a special BBC Two by-election programme, which you will be able to watch here, from 23:00. He will be joined by BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor, while Aileen Clarke will reporting all the latest from the count.

     
  4.  
    2215:

    A total of seven candidates are standing in this by-election - one from each of the main parties - plus the Greens, UKIP and an independent.

     
  5.  
    2220:

    The by-election was triggered following the resignation of Bill Walker, who was jailed after being convicted of domestic abuse charges. Walker was elected to the seat for the SNP at the last Holyrood election, but was thrown out of the party when the charges came to light.

     
  6.  

    @tommy_ball @PeatWorrier thought it was interesting that the FM was out this evening. He'd not be near the place if the SNP didn't think they'd win...

     
  7.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Aside from the Bill Walker situation, this has been an interesting contest. Dunfermline is traditional Labour country, yet it was won by the SNP during the party's historic landslide victory at the last Scottish Parliament election, but with a majority of just 590 votes.

     
  8.  

    @tartanmaganas I expect #Labour to take #Dunfermline. But rule nothing out. The #SNP could well hold it, despite being up against the odds. #Dunfermline

     
  9.  
    2233:
    Newsnight Scotland

    Setting up for tonight's Newsnight Scotland special, on air and online from 23:00.

     
  10.  
    2236:

    BBC Scotland's intrepid reporter at the count, Aileen Clarke, says all the ballot boxes are due to arrive by about 22:45 to allow counting to begin, with a result expected between 01:00 and 01:30.

     
  11.  

    @patrickharvie Green candidate @ZaraKitson and friends arrive at the #Dunfermline count. pic.twitter.com/8h8BnfmNe0

     
  12.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Despite next year's Scottish independence referendum, this has been a campaign fought on a number of local issues, including school closures and Labour is very much hoping the voters will come back to them. The SNP has been at a slight disadvantage here, having had to get a campaign up-and-running in an area where it never expected to win at the last election. That said, the SNP has the highest-profile candidate in this contest - Shirley-Anne Somerville - who has already served as an MSP and took on a senior post with Yes Scotland, the official campaign for independence.

     
  13.  

    @PoliticsYTweets The first ballot box has been opened and counting is underway #Dunfermline pic.twitter.com/hLJDkE9cXc

     
  14.  

    @AlanRoden Word is that turnout in #Dunfermline is very high, between 42% and 45%

     
  15.  
    2306:

    Our reporter Aileen Clarke at the election count in Dunfermline says the ballot boxes have arrived and the count is "well under way".

     
  16.  
    2314:

    The political panel on our by-election TV special are asked for some predictions. Liberal Democrat Robert Brown says it's the "SNP's seat to lose". Labour MSP Sarah Boyack says her party's campaigned hard but adds that it will be a "tough one to win". For the SNP, Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says the outcome is "hard to predict". And Conservative MSP John Lamont says this is not a seat in which he expects his party to do particularly well.

     
  17.  
    2316:

    John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says Labour should be able to win this seat. To put it the other way round, he adds, SNP victory would be cause for celebration for the Nationalists.

     
  18.  

    @ScottishPol Lab ahead on most of the tally sheets I've seen so far at #Dunfermline count

     
  19.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    As you're waiting for the result, why not cast your mind back down memory lane to February 2006 and the Westminster Dunfermline and West Fife by-election. On that occasion, Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie overturned a huge Labour majority in a neighbouring constituency to Gordon Brown's to win the seat. Mr Rennie went on to become an MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader. I don't think we're going to see a Lib Dem upset tonight though.

     
  20.  
    2327:

    Grangemouth latest: Plant 'has a future'

     
  21.  
    2330:
    Counting at the Dunfermline by-election

    In case you're wondering, the by-election count is taking place at the Pitreavie Athletics Centre in Dunfermline.

     
  22.  
    2332:

    In other Dunfermline-related news, it has been announced that the Dunfermline Building Society is to be merged into its parent company, the Nationwide, with the closure of 25 branches across Scotland.

     
  23.  

    @ScottishPol Labour folk increasingly confident at #Dunfermline count. SNP folk correspondingly downbeat

     
  24.  

    @AlanRoden Tory sources tell me some of their supporters in #Dunfermline have voted Labour to defeat the SNP.

     
  25.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Going by what information we've had in, it looks like Labour may be in for a win in Dunfermline.

     
  26.  
    2348:

    Our reporter Aileen Clarke at the by-election count says, going from the body language, the Labour folk in the hall seem "chipper", while the SNP camp looks "nervy".

     
  27.  

    @PeteWishart Would be a disaster for Labour if they didn't win Dunfermline convincingly given the reasons for the by election and mid term.

     
  28.  
    2352:

    Voter turnout for the by-election has been estimated at 42%. The exact figure will be confirmed later.

     
  29.  

    @holyroodmandy If #Dunfermline turnout was about 42% & given how fiercely fought it was, what does it say about politics that we think that was quite good?

     
  30.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Brian Taylor has offered to sing live on the by-election programme if things carry on for a while - tweet in your suggestions! Alas, our reporter at the count, Aileen Clarke, reckons they're getting through the contents of ballot boxes quite quickly, so maybe not this time.

     
  31.  

    @GeorgeAdam #bbcdunf might be a good idea for Brian Taylor to sing, "oh when the saints! " he'll love that. ;-) #may87

     
  32.  
    0006:

    Green MSP Patrick Harvie says it looks like the by-election is going Labour's way. But Mr Harvie says the campaign has won new supporters for his party.

     
  33.  
    0010:
    Count in Dunfermline

    Party workers checking the count as the votes come in.

     
  34.  
    0018:

    Brian Taylor hinting there that he may give us a blast of The Road and the Miles to Dundee if there is a re-count!

     
  35.  

    @PeterAdamSmith 1.30am is now the estimated time for an announcement in #Dunfermline. Early predictions for a "comfortable" Labour win. #scotnight

     
  36.  
    0027:

    Dunfermline by-election turn-out confirmed by officials at 42.75%.

     
  37.  

    @AlanRoden Hearing the Tory deposit is now safe at #Dunfermline. SNP also denying that Nicola Sturgeon is in a nearby hotel.

     
  38.  

    @ZaraKitson Having fun, spreading love & peace at the #dunfermline count. This is the future of politics folks! #boooyaa pic.twitter.com/X96EOWZaJD

     
  39.  
    0036:

    While discussing the circumstances of how the by-election came about, Labour's Sarah Boyack says all parties need to address barriers to women getting involved in politics.

     
  40.  
    0038:

    SNP's Fiona Hyslop says Bill Walker was not suitable to stand as a candidate, but she argues that swift action was taken when the charges against him came to light.

     
  41.  

    @C_KAndrews Despite earlier reports by @AlanRoden, Tories are saying they'll keep their deposit. UKIP have just told me theirs is "on a knife edge".

     
  42.  
    0045: Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Brian Taylor has removed his jacket to reveal a pair of luminous braces which could be described as vaguely "Dundee United tangerine-ish". Prof Curtice isn't sure about them. Meanwhile, Tory MSP John Lamont admits the tune "Reach" by S-Club 7 is a personal favourite. What time is the declaration again?

     
  43.  

    @ScottishPol Lab reckon their maj cd be 2.5k in #Dunfermline

     
  44.  
    0059:

    We've had a by-election result - but not the one you think. As well as the Holyrood contest, there was also a by-election for the Dunfermline South ward of Fife Council. Labour has won.

     
  45.  
    0109:

    Our reporter at the count, Aileen Clarke, says we may now be waiting until after 01:30 for the by-election result - which means we could still get a song from Brian Taylor.

     
  46.  

    @ScottishPol Lab majority now est. 2.5 to 3k over SNP in #Dunfermline. LDs 3rd, Tories 4th, UKIP 5 and Grns 6. UKIP & Grns expected to lose deposits

     
  47.  
    0118:

    John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says even relatively popular governments, as he argues the SNP administration is, tend to lose votes in by-elections.

     
  48.  
    0119:

    Latest estimate is we could get a result at about 01:45.

     
  49.  

    @C_MAlexander Counting continues in this Dunfermline democratic battle..! Scot Parliamentary result possibly in around 20 minutes. twitpic.com/dimi06

     
  50.  

    @GerryHassan What memories of Govan. So much hair: Bernard Ponsonby, Dougie Chalmers, Pat Kane & Brian Taylor when United conquered Europe.

     
  51.  
    0133:

    Aileen Clarke at the count says the talk in the hall now seems to be what margin of victory there might be for Labour.

     
  52.  
    0141:

    SNP candidate Shirley-Anne Somerville has arrived at the count, just ahead of the expected result.

     
  53.  
    0146:

    Labour candidate Cara Hilton has arrived at the count - but is she about to become the newest member of the Scottish Parliament?

     
  54.  
    0147:

    As promised, Brian Taylor sings a verse from the Road and the Miles to Dundee.

     
  55.  

    @C_MAlexander Returning officer and candidates in a huddle. Not long now...!

     
  56.  
    0157:

    No result yet - but it doesn't look too far away!

     
  57.  
    0201: Breaking News

    Labour's Cara Hilton has won the Dunfermline by-election.

     
  58.  
    0204:

    Here's the vote breakdown: Cara Hilton (Scottish Labour) - 10,275. Shirley-Anne Somerville (SNP) - 7,402. Susan Leslie (Scottish Liberal Democrats) - 2,852. James Reekie (Scottish Conservatives) - 2,009.

     
  59.  
    0208:

    In her speech, Labour's Cara Hilton says the hard work starts now. Shirley-Anne Somerville, of the SNP, says she's proud of the campaign she fought

     
  60.  
    0210:

    Some more stats for you. The Labour vote in this by-election is up 7%, while the SNP vote is down by the same figure. The Liberal Democrat vote is down 8%, while the Conservatives are up by 1%.

     
  61.  
    0212:

    There has been a swing of 6.94% from the SNP to Labour.

     
  62.  
    0218:

    Labour's majority in Dunfermline is 2,873, compared to an SNP majority of 590 at the last Scottish election. The constituency has an electorate of 56,743 and 24,200 (42.65%) came out to vote.

     
  63.  
    0220:

    Tory MSP John Lamont says his party's 1% rise in the vote is "frankly remarkable", while Lib Dem Robert Brown says the result is "disappointing".

     
  64.  
    0232:

    Well that's it for our live coverage of the Dunfermline by-election, but you can get more on the story here. Thanks for sticking with us and we hope you enjoyed Brian Taylor's singing. Bye!

     

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