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Search for a Highland Council coalition deal begins in earnest as dust settles on 2022 election and issues ranging from crumbling roads to cost of living crisis loom large


By Nicola Sinclair, Local Democracy Reporter

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The SNP took the highest number of seats in the Highlands at yesterday's election count winning one it contested,.

Of these, 11 are newly-elected councillors. This equals their 2017 election tally of 22 councillors.

It was also a good day for the Green party, who returned four councillors: Chris Ballance in Aird and Loch Ness, Andrew Baldrey in Caol and Mallaig, Kate Willis in Fort William and Ardersier and Ryan Mackintosh in Inverness West.

Their previous Green candidate Pippa Hadley lost her seat in Badenoch and Strathspey.

Independent candidates dropped seven seats this year, as they struggled to make a dent in Inverness wards. A total of 21 seats went to independents, falling one short of the SNP’s result.

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Cromarty Firth declares

In 2017, they managed 28, allowing them to form a coalition administration with the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

The Liberal Democrats increased their presence in the chamber, winning 15 seats, compared with 10 in 2017.

There were small gains for the Conservatives too, who managed 10 seats.

Labour dropped down from three seats to two, with experienced councillor Bet McAllister holding the Inverness ward she has represented for 15 years. Labour candidate Andrew Mackintosh was newly elected to Inverness Ness-side to take their tally to two.

In Inverness itself, party politics seemed to win the day. Only Duncan Macpherson, incumbent independent candidate was able to hold his seat. The SNP took six places across the five city wards, while the Liberal Democrats secured two.

It was a mixed bag of new blood and safe hands, with roughly half of councillors coming in new.

Some of the more noteworthy results include a political gamble paid off for the Conservatives: Andrew Sinclair and Andrew Jarvie swapped seats, with Mr Sinclair running in Inverness South and Mr Jarvie in Wick and East Caithness. Both were successfully elected in their new wards.

At the same time, Mr Jarvie’s mother, Barbara Babs Jarvie was elected to represent Nairn and Cawdor, in what is thought to be the first mother-son combo for Highland Council.

Small political groups were in for disappointment. The Alba Party, Scottish Libertarians, Scottish Family Party, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Freedom Party all went home with nothing.

It will be left to the SNP and the Independent group to scramble to secure a coalition deal. Last political term saw the Independent-led coalition win votes on a knife edge.

However, in the latter half of the term they agreed a collaborative budget approach with the SNP – a strategy that was roundly opposed by the Conservative group.

With a roads headache, numerous new schools to finance and the small matter of a cost of living crisis, the new administration will need to get to work quickly.

The results in full:

Independent - 21

Scottish Conservative and Unionist - 10

Scottish Green Party - 4

Scottish Labour Party - 2

Scottish Liberal Democrats - 15

Scottish National Party (SNP) - 22

Total elected 74

The first meeting of the new Council will be held on Thursday 26 May.

The newly elected councillors for each Ward are shown below in alphabetical order:

Ward 1: North, West and Central Sutherland (3)

Michael BAIRD - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Marianne HUTCHISON - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Hugh MORRISON - Independent

Ward 2: Thurso and Northwest Caithness (4)

Ron GUNN - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Struan MACKIE - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Matthew REISS - Independent

Karl ROSIE - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Ward 3: Wick and East Caithness (4)

Raymond BREMNER - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Andrew JARVIE - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

A.I. Willie MACKAY - Independent

Jan MCEWAN - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Ward 4: East Sutherland and Edderton (3)

Richard GALE - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Jim MCGILLIVRAY - Independent

Leslie-anne NIVEN - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh councillors Chris Birt,Liz Kraft and Patrick Logue. Biz Campbell is not pictured. Picture: Highland Council.
Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh councillors Chris Birt,Liz Kraft and Patrick Logue. Biz Campbell is not pictured. Picture: Highland Council.

Ward 5: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh (4)

Chris BIRT - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Biz CAMPBELL - Independent

Liz KRAFT - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Patrick LOGUE - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Cromarty Firth ward councillors Pauline Munro, Maxine Morley-Smith, Molly Nolan and Tamala Collier. Picture: Highland Council
Cromarty Firth ward councillors Pauline Munro, Maxine Morley-Smith, Molly Nolan and Tamala Collier. Picture: Highland Council

Ward 6: Cromarty Firth (4)

Tamala COLLIER - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Maxine MORLEY-SMITH - Independent

Pauline MUNRO - Independent

Molly NOLAN - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Tain and Easter Ross ward councillors Derek Louden, Sarah Rawlings and Alasdair Rhind. Picture: Highland Council
Tain and Easter Ross ward councillors Derek Louden, Sarah Rawlings and Alasdair Rhind. Picture: Highland Council

Ward 7: Tain and Easter Ross (3)

Derek LOUDEN - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Sarah RAWLINGS - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Alasdair RHIND - Independent

Dingwall and Seaforth ward councillors Graham Mackenzie, Margaret Paterson, Angela MacLean and Sean Kennedy. Picture: Highland Council
Dingwall and Seaforth ward councillors Graham Mackenzie, Margaret Paterson, Angela MacLean and Sean Kennedy. Picture: Highland Council

Ward 8: Dingwall and Seaforth (4)

Sean Edward KENNEDY - Independent

Graham Alexander MACKENZIE - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Angela MACLEAN - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Margaret PATERSON - Independent

Black Isle ward councillors Sarah Atkin, Lyndsey Johnston and Morven-May MacCallum. Picture: Highland Council
Black Isle ward councillors Sarah Atkin, Lyndsey Johnston and Morven-May MacCallum. Picture: Highland Council

Ward 9: Black Isle (3)

Sarah ATKIN - Independent

Lyndsey JOHNSTON - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Morven-May MACCALLUM - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Ward 10: Eilean a' Cheò (4)

John FINLAYSON - Independent

Drew MILLAR - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Calum MUNRO - Independent

Ruraidh STEWART - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Ward 11: Caol and Mallaig (3)

Andrew BALDREY - Scottish Greens - Delivering For Our Community

John Colin GRAFTON - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Liz SAGGERS - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Ward 12: Aird and Loch Ness (4)

Chris BALLANCE - Scottish Greens - Think Global Act Local

Helen CRAWFORD - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

David FRASER - Independent

Emma KNOX - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Ward 13: Inverness West (3)

Bill BOYD - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alex GRAHAM - Liberal Democrat Focus Team

Ryan MACKINTOSH - Scottish Greens – Delivering For Our Community

Ward 14: Inverness Central (3)

Michael CAMERON - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Kate MACLEAN - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Bet MCALLISTER - Scottish Labour Party

Ward 15: Inverness Ness-side (3)

Alasdair CHRISTIE - Scottish Liberal Democrat Focus Team

Jackie HENDRY- Scottish National Party (SNP)

Andrew MACKINTOSH - Scottish Labour Party

Ward 16: Inverness Millburn (3)

Ian BROWN - Scottish National Party (SNP)

David GREGG - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Isabelle MACKENZIE - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Ward 17: Culloden and Ardersier (3)

Glynis CAMPBELL-SINCLAIR - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Morven REID - Independent

Trish ROBERTSON - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Ward 18: Nairn and Cawdor (4)

Laurie FRASER - Independent

Michael GREEN - Independent

Barbara Babs JARVIE - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Paul OLDHAM - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Ward 19: Inverness South (4)

Colin AITKEN - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Ken GOWANS - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Duncan MACPHERSON - Independent

Andrew SINCLAIR - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Ward 20: Badenoch and Strathspey (4)

John BRUCE - Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Muriel COCKBURN - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Russell JONES - Independent

Bill LOBBAN – Independent

Ward 21: Fort William and Ardnamurchan (4)

Sarah FANET - Scottish National Party (SNP)

Angus MACDONALD - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Thomas MACLENNAN - Independent

Kate WILLIS - Scottish Green Party

Full details of The Highland Council election results are available by visiting www.highland.gov.uk/slg22result


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