Scottish local elections, 2017
All 1,227 seats to 32 Scottish councils
Most voted for party by council, largest party by council, and largest party by ward. Ward map utilises the new ward boundaries.
The 2017 Scottish local elections were held on Thursday 4 May, in all 32 local authorities. The SNP retained its position as the largest party in terms of votes and councillors, despite suffering minor losses. The Conservatives made gains and displaced Labour as the second largest party, while the Liberal Democrats suffered a net loss of councillors despite increasing their share of the vote. Minor parties and independents polled well; and independent councillors retained majority control over the 3 island councils. For the first time since local government reforms in the 1990s, all 29 mainland councils fell under no overall control.
The previous election was in 2012. Normally these elections take place every four years, but this election was postponed for a year in order to avoid conflicting with the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.
Once again the local elections were counted electronically, using the same system used in 2012. The tender was awarded to CGI (formerly Logica) and Idox Elections (formerly Opt2vote), both of which delivered the 2012 elections successfully.
Eligibility to vote
All registered electors (British, Irish, Commonwealth and European Union citizens) who were aged 16 or over on polling day were entitled to vote in the local elections. A person who had two homes (such as a university student who has a term-time address and lives at home during holidays) could register to vote at both addresses as long as they are not in the same electoral area and can vote for two different councils, albeit only in two different local elections; however, it is an offence to vote twice in the same type of election and doing so may incur a fine of up to £5,000.
Individuals must have registered to vote by midnight twelve working days before polling day (17 April 2017). Anyone who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on 25 April 2017 to register.
Following the election, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon played down the threat posed by the Conservatives to her party, asserting that the good performance by the Conservatives was on account of Labour support going to the Conservatives and not because of any shift in SNP voters.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson asserted a "Scottish fightback against the SNP" and said that the results represented a resurgence for the Scottish Conservatives despite the fact that the SNP's 1st preference vote percentage had not changed since the 2012 election.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale admitted the results were disappointing for her party, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie said the council results showed his party could stand against the SNP tide in key northern constituencies.
The Scottish Conservatives returned the most councillors, the first time it has been the largest party in the region since the 1982 election, when the area was under the Grampian Regional Council, although they were stopped short of an overall majority. The number of Scottish National Party councillors fell by a quarter but remained the second largest group. The Scottish Liberal Democrats picked up a couple of seats while the other parties gained roughly the same results as the previous election.
On 18 May, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Aligned Independents formed an administration, with Jim Gifford (Conservative) elected as council leader and Bill Howatson (Liberal) was made Provost.
Argyll and Bute
The SNP became the largest party on the council for the first time, as the Independent group lost a third of its seats compared to the previous election. The Conservatives gained five seats and the Liberal Democrats gained two, but both remained in their respective places as the two smaller parties.
Despite the SNP's position, a coalition was formed of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents, referred to as The Argyll Lomond and the Isles Group (TALIG). Aileen Morton, leader of the group, was elected as council leader.
The Scottish National Party replaced Scottish Labour as the largest party for the first time in the Fife region, although they did not gain enough seats to form a majority. The Scottish Conservatives made the most gains, replacing the Scottish Liberal Democrats as the third biggest party. The election also returned no Independent councillors, marking the first time the area will be without any Independent representation since the creation of Fife Regional Council in 1974.
On 18 May, the two largest parties of the new council, the SNP and Scottish Labour, signed a Power Sharing Agreement to co-run an administration. David Alexander (SNP) and David Ross (Labour) were made co-leaders, and Jim Leishman remained in his role as Provost.
The SNP replaced Labour as the biggest party; although without a majority it ended Labour's 37-year-long control of the council. The Scottish Green Party made a couple of gains to reach their highest ever level in Glasgow, while this council is the first without any Liberal representation since 1974.
The SNP took control of the council as a minority administration with SNP members filling the positions of council leader, depute council leader, and Lord Provost. The Greens put forward an amendment during the new council's first meeting, which was approved, to expand the proposed executive body from 19 to 23 members, thus avoiding an SNP majority and ensuring the group's composition reflected that of the council as a whole.
|Council||2012 Result: Largest party
(Parties in control)
|Control before election
(Change in control
since May 2012, if different)
|2017 Result: Largest party
(Parties in control)
|Aberdeen City||Labour (Lab + Con + Ind)||SNP (Ind + Con)||Details|
|Aberdeenshire||SNP (Con + LD + Ind)||SNP (SNP + Lab + Ind)||Conservative (Con + LD + Ind)||Details|
|Angus||SNP (SNP majority)||SNP (SNP minority)||SNP / Independents tie (Ind + Con + LD)||Details|
|Argyll and Bute||Independent (Ind + SNP)||Independent (Ind + Con + LD)||SNP (Ind + Con + LD)||Details|
|Clackmannanshire||SNP (SNP minority)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|Dumfries and Galloway||Labour (Con + SNP)||Labour (Lab minority)||Conservative (Lab + SNP)||Details|
|Dundee City||SNP (SNP majority)||SNP (SNP + Ind)||Details|
|East Ayrshire||SNP (SNP + Con)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|East Dunbartonshire||SNP (Lab + LD + Con)||Labour (Lab + Con minority)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|East Lothian||Labour (Lab + Con)||Labour (Lab minority)||Details|
|East Renfrewshire||Labour (Lab + SNP + Ind)||Conservative (Lab + SNP)||Details|
|City of Edinburgh||Labour (Lab + SNP)||SNP (Lab + SNP)||Details|
|Falkirk||Labour (Lab + Con + Ind)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|Fife||Labour (Lab minority)||SNP (Lab + SNP)||Details|
|Glasgow City||Labour (Lab majority)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|Highland||Independent (SNP + LD + Lab)||Independent (Ind minority)||Independent (Ind + LD + Lab)||Details|
|Inverclyde||Labour (Lab w/ Ind + Con support)||Labour (Lab minority)||Details|
|Midlothian Council||Labour (SNP + Green + Ind)||Labour (Lab minority)||Details|
|Moray||SNP (Ind + Con)||SNP (Con + Ind)||Details|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||Independent||Independent||Details|
|North Ayrshire||SNP (SNP minority)||Labour (Lab minority)||Labour / SNP tie (Lab minority)||Details|
|North Lanarkshire||Labour (Lab majority)||SNP (Lab minority)||Details|
|Perth and Kinross||SNP (SNP w/ Con support)||Conservative (Con + LD + Ind)||Details|
|Renfrewshire||Labour (Lab majority)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|Scottish Borders||Conservative (SNP + Ind + LD)||Conservative (Con + Ind)||Details|
|South Ayrshire||Conservative (Con w/ Lab + Ind support)||Conservative (SNP + Lab + Ind)||Details|
|South Lanarkshire||Labour (Lab + LD + Con)||Labour (Lab majority)||SNP (SNP minority)||Details|
|Stirling||SNP (Lab + Con)||Conservative / SNP tie (Lab + SNP)||Details|
|West Dunbartonshire||Labour (Lab majority)||SNP (SNP + Ind minority)||Details|
|West Lothian||Labour (Lab w/ Con + Ind support)||SNP (Lab minority)||Details|
|Polling organisation/client||Sample size||SNP||Lab||Con||Lib Dem||Green||UKIP||Others||Lead|
|24 Feb–6 Mar 2017||Ipsos MORI/STV||1,029||46%||17%||19%||6%||8%||3%||<1%||27%|
|7–13 Feb 2017||Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland||1,028||47%||14%||26%||5%||4%||3%||<1%||21%|
|3 May 2012||2012 Election Results||1,556,773||32.3%||31.4%||13.3%||6.6%||2.3%||0.3%||13.8%||0.9%|
|Party||First-preference votes||Councils||+/-||2012 seats||2017 seats||Seat change|
|Seats won||Notional||Seats won||Seat %||vs Notional|
|Scottish National Party||610,454||32.3%||0.0||0||1||425||438||431||35.1%||7|
|Orkney Manifesto Group||894||0.0%||0||2||0.1%||New|
|West Dunbartonshire Community||2,413||0.1%||0||1||0.1%||New|
|The Rubbish Party||784||0.0%||0||1||0.1%||New|
|Independent Alliance North Lanarkshire||2,823||0.2%||0||0.0%|
|A Better Britain – Unionist Party||1,196||0.1%||0||0.0%|
|Scottish Independent Network||145||0.0%||0||0.0%|
|No Overall Control||—||—||—||29||4||—||—||—||—||—|
The table has been arranged according to popular vote, not the number of seats won.
Prior to the 2017 elections, changes were made to council ward boundaries in 25 council areas. This meant that comparisons with the actual results from 2012 were inaccurate due to a small increase in the total number of seats (from 1,223 to 1,227), different boundaries, and some wards having their number of councillors adjusted. These changes led BBC News, using work done by Professor David Denver of Lancaster University, to estimate what the results would have been in 2012 if the new boundaries and seat numbers had been in place for that election.
- United Kingdom local elections, 2017
- Welsh local elections, 2017
- Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2017
- The "seats before" figure is a notional calculation by BBC News. These notional figures estimate what what the results would have been in 2012, if the 2017 boundaries had been in place at that election, as boundary changes make direct comparison complicated.
- "Scotland Results". BBC News.
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