THE Scottish Conservatives have won another seat on Stirling Council after they narrowly beat the SNP at a by-election.

The Tories now have eight members on the local authority, while the SNP now has seven, making them the largest group on the council. 

Labour, the ruling minority administration, has five members, but is backed by Tory votes, with Tory councillor Douglas Dodds appointed Provost as part of the deal. 

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The Dunblane-Bridge of Allan by-election was called after SNP councillor Graham Houston sadly passed away in December last year. 

Robin Kleinman, now Tory councillor, returned 1832 first preference votes, while SNP candidate Ahsan Khan returned 1202, and Scottish Labour's David Wilson returned 600. 

Scottish Lib Dems candidate Dick Moerman returned 399 first preference votes, Scottish Greens candidate Claire Pauline Andrews returned 389, and Scottish Family Party's Nickie Willis returned 50 votes.

Kleinman was elected at the sixth stage of the count, as local by-elections use the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. 

The Tories returned 40% of first preference votes, with their share increasing by 10.9%. The SNP returned 26.9% (+1.1), while third place Labour gained 13.4% of the vote (+1.6).

Stirling Council said the turnout for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan was 38.1%. 

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross boasted that it was a "terrific" win for the party.

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In a statement released after the results were announced, Ross said: "I campaigned with Robin and I know he will be a fantastic councillor and a strong voice for the area he is proud to call home.

"Having gained this seat from the SNP and significantly increased our share of the vote, it’s clear people have strong faith in our party."

Ross claimed the win showed voters believe the Tories have the "strength to stand up to the SNP and hold them to account". 

He added: "Labour are simply too weak under Anas Sarwar to stand up to the nationalists and their continued obsession with breaking up the United Kingdom at any cost.

The National: Ross boasted that the by-election was a 'terrific' win for the ToriesRoss boasted that the by-election was a 'terrific' win for the Tories (Image: PA)

“This by-election victory for the Scottish Conservatives – against the backdrop of the SNP’s bitter leadership contest – reaffirms that we are the real alternative for Scots who are tired of this out-of-touch and divided SNP government.”

We previously told how Kleinman was mocked by his SNP rival for an "embarassing gaffe" after he appeared to criticise his own party in an election leaflet. 

The campaign literature makes a number of scathing claims regarding Stirling Council, a Labour administration propped up by Tory votes.

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Provost Dodds admitted that he was not the "popular" choice for the senior council role when he was installed at the first council meeting following the local authority elections in 2022. 

At the 2022 election, the SNP returned the largest number of councillors, eight, while the Tories won seven seats. 

More to follow...