Pro-independence Labour activist wins Fife Council by-election


Labour leftwinger replaces Britain’s last serving communist elected representative

A LEADING Scottish Labour activist and former chair of the Co-operative Party in Scotland who came out for Scottish Independence in 2013 has been elected as a councillor for the The Lochs in Fife.

Mary Lockhart, who campaigned passionately for independence in 2013 and 2014, won the by-election ward campaigning for housing and improved communication between councillors and residents.

Lockhart came first with 1,318 votes, ahead of the SNP’s Lea McLelland with 1,079, the Scottish Conservative’s Malcolm McDonald 270, Communist Thomas Kirby on 86 and Bradford Oliver for the Scottish Greens with 45.

The turnout was 27.83 per cent.

Posting on social media after her election, Lockhart said: “I will do my utmost to prove worthy of the great privilege and responsibility which representing the people and communities of the Lochs confers.

“As a socialist, I am mindful of Tony Benn's questions concerning power and influence: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.

Mary Lockhart: The 'Labour maverick' who still wants independence

“And I believe in democratic representation which truly seeks to ensure that the real power remains with the collective will and aspirations of the people.”

Lockhart replaces Willie Clarke, who announced his decision to retire from his post as councillor and as Britain’s last elected self-described communist. The former coal miner was first elected as a councillor in Fife in 1973. Clarke also supported Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum.

In February 2016, while she was standing in an internal Labour election to represent the party in the Fife and Mid Scotland seat for the Scottish elections, Lockhart told CommonSpace that she still believed in independence, but felt that the SNP had moved to the right.

Lockhart will have to defend her ward in the Scotland wide council elections in May 2017.

Picture courtesy of Mary Lockhart

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