Scottish District local elections, 1977

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Scottish District local elections, 1977
Scotland
1974 ←
3 May 1977 → 1978

All 53 district councils
  First party Second party
  James Callaghan Margaret Thatcher
Leader James Callaghan Margaret Thatcher
Party Labour Conservative
Leader since 5 April 1976 11 February 1975
Seats won 282 259
Seat change Decrease 111 Increase 34

  Third party Fourth party
  David Steel
Leader William Wolfe David Steel
Party SNP Liberal
Leader since 1969 1976
Seats won 170 62

Scottish District local elections, 1977.svg

Colours denote the winning party with outright control

There were elections for the Scottish district councils in 1977.

These were the second elections held to the 53 district councils established by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. The previous elections had been held in 1974 with the authorities acting as "shadow" councils until May 1975.[1] The elections took place when the Labour government of James Callaghan was extremely unpopular, with a subsequent collapse in the party's vote.

Background[edit]

The poll was held on 3 May and all district council seats were to be filled. Districts formed the second tier in local government in Scotland under the 1975 reorganisation, with regional councils forming the upper tier. It was intended that elections would normally take place on a four-year cycle, but as an interim measure the first two sets of district councils had terms of three years: 1974–77 and 1977–80. Regional elections were also to be on a four-year cycle, held midway between district elections.

Party performance[edit]

There was a large swing against Labour, who lost control of a number of councils in the industrial Central Belt where it had dominated local politics for decades.[2] Labour lost its majority in Glasgow for the next three years (although they were still the largest party) very unusual in the late 20th century, with some high-profile casualties including the Labour group leader on the council, Dick Dynes.[1] While they lost seats to the SNP in Glasgow and the industrial belt, the anti-Labour mood favoured the Conservatives in Edinburgh and the Liberals in Aberdeen and Inverclyde.[3]

In retrospect these elections were the high point of the Scottish National Party's upsurge in the 1970s. Vice-chair Margo MacDonald predicted that they would make 100 net gains, but they only made 98 (winning 103, losing 5).[3] Even so, this left half of Scotland under hung councils.[1] They retained control of the council they held and gained three more.[1] The party claimed to have secured a swing of approximately 9% since the October 1974 general election, meaning they would gain 21–27 parliamentary seats from the Labour Party, 3 from the Conservatives and 1 from the Liberal Party.[1] Independent analysis placed the swing to the SNP of between 1 and 5 percent, giving them gains of 10–15 Labour seats and only a slight chance of making gains from the Conservatives or Liberals.[3] In particular, the party did poorly in Nairn, putting the seat of party leader Winnie Ewing at risk (she lost the seat at the next election in 1979).[3] The SNP's advance was halted for a time the following year, with the Glasgow Garscadden by-election, 1978, Scottish regional council elections, 1978, the Hamilton by-election, 1978 and the Berwick and East Lothian by-election, 1978.

This election was also the first serious test of the new Scottish Labour Party of Jim Sillars which did not do well outside his South Ayrshire base, only winning three seats.[3]

National results[edit]

e • d Summary of the 1977 Scottish District local council election results[4]
Parties Votes Votes % Wards
Labour 31.6 282
Conservative 27.2 259
SNP 24.2 170
Liberal 4.0 62
Independent/Other 13.1 334
Total 100 1107

Results by council area[edit]

The seats on each council before and after the election were as follows:[5]

Borders[edit]

Council Labour Conservative Liberal Independent Other Control
Berwickshire 0 11 (+1) 0 1 (−1) 0 Conservative hold
Ettrick and Lauderdale 0 (−1) 0 1 (+1) 14 0 Independent hold
Roxburgh 1 (+1) 1 (+1) 2 (+2) 9 (−4) Border Independents 3 Independent hold
Tweeddale 0 0 0 10 0 Independent hold

Central[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Liberal Independent Other Control
Clackmannan 3 (−2) 1 8 (+3) 0 0 Scottish Labour 0 (−1) SNP gain from NOC
Falkirk 8 (−8) 2 22 (+10) 0 2 (−1) Independent Labour 1
Non-Party 1 (−1)
SNP gain from NOC
Stirling 7 8 4 0 1 0 NOC

Dumfries and Galloway[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Independent Other Control
Annandale and Eskdale 0 0 0 14 0 Independent hold
Nithsdale 4 (−2) 0 (−1) 4 (+3) 14 (−3) Non-Party 6 (+1) Independent hold
Stewartry 0 0 0 12 0 Independent hold
Wigtown 0 0 0 14 0 Independent hold

Fife[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Liberal Independent Other Control
Dunfermline 19 (+2) 7 (+2) 2 (−1) 0 (−1) 2 (−2) 0 Labour hold
Kirkcaldy 16 (−8) 5 8 (+8) 0 2 Ratepayers 4
Communist 1
Labour lose to NOC
North-East Fife 0 14 (+1) 0 1 (+1) 3 (−2) 0 Conservative hold

Grampian[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Liberal Independent Control
Banff and Buchan 0 0 1 (+1) 0 17 (−1) Independent hold
City of Aberdeen 22 (−6) 17 2 (+2) 7 (+4) 0 Labour lose to NOC
Gordon 0 3 0 2 7 Independent hold
Kincardine and Deeside 0 2 0 0 10 Independent hold
Moray 0 0 4 (+4) 0 14 (−4) Independent hold

Highland[edit]

Council Labour SNP Independent Control
Badenoch and Strathspey 0 0 10 Independent hold
Caithness 0 0 15 Independent hold
Inverness 0 0 15 Independent hold
Lochaber
2 vacancies
3 1 (+1) 6 (−1) Independent hold
Nairn 0 2 (−1) 8 (+1) Independent hold
Ross and Cromarty 0 0 20 Independent hold
Skye and Lochalsh 0 0 10 Independent hold
Sutherland 0 0 14 Independent hold

Lothian[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Liberal Independent Control
City of Edinburgh 23 (−4) 34 (+3) 5 (+3) 1 (−2) 1 Conservative gain from NOC
East Lothian 9 (−1) 8 (+2) 0 0 0 (−1) Labour hold
Midlothian 7 (−4) 2 5 (+4) 0 1 Labour lose to NOC
West Lothian 9 (−1) 0 9 (+1) 0 3 NOC

Strathclyde[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Liberal Independent Others Control
Argyll and Bute
1 vacancy
0 2 (+2) 0 0 23 (−2) 0 Independent hold
Bearsden and Milngavie 1 6 (+1) 0 0 3 (−1) 0 Conservative gain from NOC
Clydebank 3 (−2) 1 5 (+2) 0 0 Scottish Labour 1 SNP gain from Labour
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth 3 0 7 0 0 0 SNP hold
Cumnock and Doon Valley 6 (−4) 1 (+1) 0 0 1 Scottish Labour 2 (+2) Labour hold
Cunninghame 5 (−9) 0 11 (+10) 0 0 (−2) Moderate Conservatives 8 (+1) Labour lose to NOC
Dumbarton 3 (−5) 5 (+3) 4 (+4) 0 3 (−2) 0 Labour lose to NOC
East Kilbride 1 (−4) 2 11 (+4) 0 1 0 SNP gain from NOC
Eastwood 0 10 0 0 0 Ratepayers 2 Conservative hold
City of Glasgow 30 (−24) 25 (+9) 16 (+15) 1 (+1) 0 Independent Conservative 0 (−1) Labour lose to NOC
Hamilton 10 (−3) 1 (−1) 6 (+4) 2 0 (−1) Independent Labour 1 (+1) Labour hold
Inverclyde 8 (−6) 1 (−1) 1 (+1) 13 (+7) 0 (−1) 0 Liberal gain from Labour
Kilmarnock and Loudoun 7 (−5) 7 (+3) 2 (+2) 0 0 0 Labour lose to NOC
Kyle and Carrick 7 (−3) 17 (+2) 2 (+2) 1 (+1) 0 0 Conservative hold
Lanark 4 0 3 (+1) 0 7 (−1) 0 Independent lose to NOC
Motherwell 20 (−5) 5 (+4) 3 (+1) 1 0 (−1) Communist 1 (+1) Labour hold
Monklands 13 (−2) 5 (+1) 2 (+1) 0 1 0 Labour hold
Strathkelvin 4 (−2) 4 (−1) 6 (+3) 0 0 0 NOC

Tayside[edit]

Council Labour Conservative SNP Independent Others Control
Angus 3 12 (+1) 0 7 (−1) 0 Conservative hold
City of Dundee 20 (−2) 21 (+1) 0 1 (−1) Real Labour 1
Monifeith Ratepayers 1 (+1)
NOC
Perth and Kinross 3 (−1) 19 2 (+2) 5 (−1) 0 Conservative hold


Preceded by
Scottish local elections, 1974
Scottish local elections Succeeded by
Scottish local Regional elections, 1978

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Faux, Ronald (5 May 1977). "SNP seizes 107 seats". The Times. pp. 1,4. 
  2. ^ Faux, Ronald (4 May 1977). "Labour lose control of Glasgow". The Times. p. 1. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Pulzer, Peter (6 May 1977). "Half shares is the most the SNP can expect in Scotland". The Times. p. 16. 
  4. ^ Rallings, Colin; Thrasher, Michael (2013). Local Elections in Britain. Routledge. pp. Table 7.5. 
  5. ^ "Results of Scottish district council elections". The Times. 5 May 1977. p. 4.