Scotland politics

'UK's last Communist' councillor replaced by Labour candidate

Willie Clarke Image copyright Alex Rowley
Image caption Willie Clarke was first elected to Fife Council as a Communist in 1973

Labour has won a council by-election prompted by the resignation of Willie Clarke, believed to be the last elected communist councillor in the UK.

Mr Clarke, 81, retired in June owing to ill health after serving as a councillor in Fife since 1973.

Although a member of the Communist Party, in more recent years Mr Clarke had been sitting as an independent.

Labour took 1,318 votes, beating closest rivals the SNP. The Communist Party candidate secured just 86 votes.

Mr Clarke, who was awarded the Freedom of Fife last month, was originally a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain but later joined the Communist Party of Scotland after the party split in the 1980s.

On his retirement from the council he had said he hoped the Communist movement could pick up strength again in the future.

However, first-preference voting for the Lochs ward saw Labour's candidate Mary Lockhart secure 1,318 votes compared with Lea McLelland of the SNP, who received 1,079 votes.

Scottish Conservative Malcolm McDonald received 270 votes, while Thomas Kirby of the Communist Party of Great Britain received 86 votes.

The turnout was 27.8%.

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