Newly-elected Fife councillor Dave Coleman refused to be drawn on the wider significance for the region’s Conservatives of his by-election victory on Thursday night.
Mr Coleman won the seat vacated by Labour’s Lesley Laird, beating closest rival Neale Hanvey into second place after receiving 568 more first preference votes than his SNP opponent.
His triumph takes the total number of Tory councillors on Fife Council to 16 out of 75.
However, Mr Coleman – who triumphed despite being involved in a row over social media comments posted eight years ago – said of the implications of his win: “I think you better ask someone else that question, to be honest.
“I’m not dodging it, but I think it’s for another time.
“I’m relieved that the whole process is over; it was nerve-wracking but good. It was a good campaign and I’m honoured and proud to serve the communities of ward six. I’m looking forward to it.
“I think around the area we were talking about flight paths, recycling, the state of the roads, the high school, doctors’ surgeries. Those were the key issues that people were bringing to the table.
“I think we’ve tried to address them and we will work hard to make sure they get results.”
When asked what would be first on his agenda, he answered: “I’ll find out tomorrow morning.”
Former SNP group leader Mr Hanvey was disappointed not to secure a return to the local authority but was pleased to have made inroads in areas such as Dalgety Bay and Aberdour.
He said: “We went into this election 7% behind from the last poll and it was Labour’s seat to lose really.
“We’ve already got fantastic councillors in the ward, so we knew it was a challenge.
“It was pretty scary for a moment because it looked like we might actually win it but one of the last boxes from Dalgety Bay was very significantly weighed in favour of the Conservatives.
“As someone who was brought up in Fife, I still find it bewildering that people in Fife are prepared to vote for a party whose policies are utterly cruel. That’s just my personal reflection on it.
“I wish Dave all the best and I hope he does a good job as a councillor representing the area, but I won’t lose sight of Tory policies which I find absolutely abhorrent.”
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Mr Hanvey also attracted praise for his campaigning for a new Inverkeithing High School, which appears to have prompted a commitment from Fife Council.
“If the campaign delivered something meaningful then that was the one thing that can be taken away from the result,” he said.
“The great thing about by-elections is that they shine a light on a specific area and they give the candidates in that campaign the opportunity to champion a cause and focus minds on that.
“It’s a bit frustrating because everybody seemed to want to take credit for it, and one candidate even copied and pasted my announcement about it, but that’s all in the past now. It’s been an interesting campaign.”