Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

SNP look to seize council control

Craig Melville
Craig Melville said it was now time to move Dundee forward

The SNP has said it will look to seize control of Dundee City Council after winning the Maryfield by-election.

Nationalist candidate Craig Melville took the seat made vacant by the resignation of Labour councillor Joe Morrow.

His win means the SNP will hold 14 council seats, Labour have nine, the Conservatives have three, the Lib Dems two and there is one independent.

The authority is currently headed by a Labour/Lib Dem administration.

They have been supported informally by the Conservatives.

'Earning trust'

The poll was carried out using the single transferrable vote system, meaning that once the other candidates had been eliminated, Mr Melville ended up with 1,747 votes and Labour candidate George McIrvine took 1,189 votes.

The Liberal Democrats were third and the Conservatives fourth.

The Scottish Socialist Party came fifth with 52 first preference votes and the two independents polled 35 and 28 votes.

Turn-out was about 29%.

Mr Melville, 28, said: "I am delighted with the result and look forward to earning the trust of my constituents by working hard for Maryfield ward alongside SNP councillors Liz Fordyce and Ken Lynn.

"The electors of Maryfield have spoken and given their verdict on the Labour/Lib Dem/Tory coalition. It is now time to move Dundee forward."

The party said that negotiations would likely take place over the next few days as the SNP sought to form an administration at the 29 seat council.

A Labour spokesman said: "We are pleased that Labour increased our share of the vote in what the SNP were convinced was a very safe council seat for them.

"Coupled with recent by-election wins, it shows that the momentum is moving from away from the SNP."

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