SNP finger on the power switch as by-election result imminent

Result today from Heldon and Laich

THE SNP LOOK certain to attempt to take control of the Moray Council should they win the Heldon & Laich by-election today.

Voters had their say on who should replace former independent councillor Eric McGillivray yesterday – now counting will get under way at 10am this morning in Lossiemouth Town Hall with the result expected by lunchtime.

Four candidates are in the running to take a seat on the finely-balanced local authority, with independent candidate Dennis Slater and the SNP’s Joyce O’Hara considered to be front runners in a ward that was also contested by Scottish Conservative Peter Bloomfield and James MacKessack-Leitch from the Green Party.

Throughout the campaign the SNP group in Moray steadfastly refused to confirm if they would seek to use their numerical superiority to seize control should their candidate succeed.

However, on the eve of the poll Moray’s SNP MSP, Richard Lochhead, appeared to confirm that they would, prompting voters to elect their candidate because “a win could spell end of Tory/Independent administration on Moray Council – a double bonus!”

Mr McGillivray meanwhile acknowledged that the month-long campaign to replace him had clearly been hard-fought, in particular between Mr Slater and the SNP.