Seonad Hoy voted in as Scottish Greens win first-ever by-election in Hillhead

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Glasgow Greens’ candidate Seonad Hoy has been elected to represent Hillhead, as the party won its first-ever by-election in Scotland.

An “overwhelmed” and “delighted” Cllr Hoy became the Green group’s second councillor in Hillhead — and she praised her new ward colleague, Cllr Martha Wardrop, for “leading us to victory tonight [Thursday]”.

The poll was held following the death of long-serving Labour councillor Hanzala Malik in December. Following the result, the Greens now have 11 councillors in Glasgow while Labour has 35 compared to the SNP’s 37.

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Labour’s Ruth Hall narrowly picked up the most first preference votes, with 1,298 to Cllr Hoy’s 1,284. However, Alistair McConnachie, a former UKIP organiser who was barred from the party after he reportedly said there was no evidence that Jews were executed in gas chambers, received 133 votes in the first stage. 

From left: Patrick Harvie MSP, newly-elected councillor Seonad Hoy, and Councillor Martha Wardrop. Image: Scottish Greens.From left: Patrick Harvie MSP, newly-elected councillor Seonad Hoy, and Councillor Martha Wardrop. Image: Scottish Greens.
From left: Patrick Harvie MSP, newly-elected councillor Seonad Hoy, and Councillor Martha Wardrop. Image: Scottish Greens.

The Scottish Greens believe his ‘Independent Green Voice’ party causes confusion among voters.

Under the single transferable vote system, transfers – particularly from the SNP candidate – gave the victory to the Greens. Labour’s vote in the ward was up almost 10% on the 2022 council elections.

On first preference votes, the SNP’s Malcolm McConnell was third with 1,015 while the Conservatives’ Faten Hameed placed fourth with 217. 

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Cllr Hoy, 39, said: “Martha Wardrop is hugely respected by the people of Hillhead so that came across loud and clear when we were out speaking to people on the doorsteps. That’s what has led us to this victory tonight.”

She intends to give up her job at housing provider Wheatley Group to “focus on being a councillor”. “I’m excited to work in partnership with Martha,” she added.

“It’s a historic victory for us. It’s the first time the Scottish Greens have won a by-election, the first time we’ve got two women councillors in one ward.

“I’m just looking forward to working with Martha, learning from all her experience and making Hillhead and Glasgow cleaner, greener and fairer.”

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Cllr Wardrop, co-leader of the Glasgow Greens, said: “To have a second Green councillor in Hillhead is a tremendous breakthrough for the Scottish Greens in Glasgow. 

“I look forward to working closely with Seonad to address people’s concerns across the Hillhead ward and help to deliver a fairer, greener Glasgow.”

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said: “The Green vote has always been strong in Hillhead, it’s been gradually building over the years, particularly with Martha’s really hard work as a councillor.

“To have the first by-election win in our party’s history is a bit of a moment. It’s a bit special. Seonad has been terrific, a huge team of campaigners and activists out there supporting her.

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“It’s not just that people have chosen to support us, and I’m very grateful for every single vote, but we know that we are growing in confidence and growing in ability to campaign in this way as a party and that bodes really well for the future.”

He added Glasgow’s 11 councillors — the largest Green group in the party’s history  — “beats our Edinburgh group”. “What we have to continue to do is make sure we are delivering change for people. 

“Wherever we have influence, we try to use constructive challenge. We push others out of their comfort zone but we don’t do it opportunistically, we don’t demand things that are physically impossible. We actually find solutions. That’s the serious grown up politics that we need, particularly in tough times like these.”

Cllr Hoy, who has served as co-convener of Glasgow Greens since 2022, said residents had largely raised issues around “bins and recycling, which obviously are of huge concern to the Scottish Greens”.

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She added: “We are already arguing for parity of service for people who live in tenements compared to people who live in houses, so I’m hoping to make some progress on that.”

As well as Cllr Wardrop and Cllr Hoy, Cllr Ken Andrew, SNP, represents the Hillhead ward.

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