(NOTE: We contested this election under our old name 'A Better Britain - Unionist Party')
We are pleased to have polled a very strong result in yesterday’s by-election in Fortissat Ward, North Lanarkshire, in which our candidate John Jo Leckie finished second out of a total of seven, ahead of the SNP. The vote was very tight and went right to the seventh and final count before the Labour candidate was announced as the winner.
We did however humiliate the SNP by pushing them into third place, and polled over twice the Conservative vote and vastly more than the UKIP or Green candidates. With one bad news story after another for the SNP, to be beaten by a largely unheard of unionist party (contesting what was our first by-election) that is anti-devolution and pro-Brexit, in a largely working-class area of central Scotland, will mark a new low-point for them in their recent decline.
Although ultimately disappointed that we weren’t quite able to pull off a shock victory, our candidate John Jo Leckie deserves massive credit for a very hard-fought, lively and colourful campaign, and he did remarkably well to win almost a quarter of the overall vote. The help of all those who gave their time and energy to leaflet, man polling stations and otherwise campaign is also greatly appreciated.
This election result makes it absolutely clear that despite what the detractors say, a new unionist party has every potential to poll effectively in Scotland and even to beat major established parties. We have proven them wrong. Had this been a regular local election with four seats up for grabs and not a by-election, John Jo would have been elected comfortably.
We know that John Jo would have been an excellent councillor and are disappointed that we just fell that bit short, but we are at the same time very encouraged as a party by the result, which is quite remarkable by any objective measure. It certainly gives us confidence for the future, and we plan to continue to advocate for our traditional unionist policy platform in the coming times by continuing to contest elections, poll strong results and build up the party.