The Labour-led administration of Fife Council survived its first major test this morning by securing a narrow victory in the Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch by-election.
John Wincott successfully defended the seat, defeating the SNP’s Keith Grieve by just 185 votes to retain the party’s control over affairs in the town.
An SNP win would have seen them hold the balance of power on the Glenrothes area committee, providing them with a strong position from which to attack the administration.
However, after a tense evening at the Balgeddie House Hotel, the results were announced and the narrow margin of Labour’s victory was revealed.
Mr Wincott said: “It has been a very tight and hard-fought battle. Now it is over and we have another Labour councillor in the ward and I believe that is best for Glenrothes.”
The by-election was called following the death of Labour councillor Bill Kay in April.
Paying tribute to his predecessor, Mr Wincott added:” It was always at the forefront of my mind that the only reason we were having an election was because of the death of an excellent councillor in Bill Kay.
“It was a tragedy and it was a shame that we had to have an election (but) it was a result that Bill would have wanted.”
Full result: 1 Wincott (Labour) 1896, 2 Grieve (SNP) 1711, 3 Smith (Conservative) 272 4 Taggerty (UKIP) 176 5 Wills (Liberal Democrats) 83.