Credit: Glasgow City Council

Council by-election in Hillhead

By Odhran Gallagher

All candidates are now confirmed for the council by-election due to take place soon for Hillhead.

A by-election for the council ward of Hillhead is due to take place next month. The West End ward encompasses most of the University of Glasgow’s main campus and stretches from Byres Road in the west, to Charing Cross in the east. The by-election, scheduled for 7 March, was called following the passing of Labour’s Hanzala Malik in December.

The council ward, which is comprised of three seats, is currently held by a Scottish National Party and Scottish Greens councillor.  

The confirmed candidates for the by-election include: Ruth Hall for Scottish Labour, Seonad Hoy for the Scottish Greens, Malcolm McConnell for the Scottish National Party, and Faten Hameed for the Scottish Conservatives. 

In the last council election in 2022, the Scottish Greens outperformed all other parties, winning over 2,000 votes and a vote share of 36.2%. Seonad Hoy, the current Scottish Greens candidate, told The Glasgow Guardian in an interview: “Hillhead is the ‘Greenest’ ward in Scotland. Martha [Wardrop], who is the current councillor, won by the biggest majority out of any of our main councillors in the country…It is the perfect ward for us to have a by-election. But having said that, we can’t take anything for granted. That’s why we’re out every single day of the week, chapping on doors, talking to people, finding out what the local issues are, doing everything that we can to support them and encouraging them to turn out because a lot of people aren’t even aware that the by-election is taking place.”

However, some have raised concerns about an additional far-right candidate, Alastiar McConnachie, running for election under the party name ‘Independent Green Voice’. McConnachie has previously made controversial statements denying the holocaust and was expelled from UKIP for his extremist views. 

McConnachie’s party received 9,756 votes in the 2021 Scottish Parliament Elections, which some, including The National, have attributed to voters mistaking Independent Green Voice for the Scottish Greens. This included 2,210 votes in the Glasgow region, where the Scottish Greens were fewer than 1,000 votes shy of winning a second MSP. Concerns have been raised that similar issues could arise in this by-election. 

A spokesperson for the Glasgow branch of the Scottish Greens said: “The far-right Independent Green Voice appear to be aiming to solidify their status as neo-fascist spoiler candidates, hoping to disrupt the outcome of this election. Thankfully, voters in Hillhead will see through this transparent attempt to steal Green votes as happened in 2021 – a move which led to Glasgow having to endure five years with another Tory MSP.

“It is abundantly clear that Scottish Green candidate Seonad Hoy is the first and only choice for those who want social and environmental justice in this election, not a Holocaust denier who was too extreme for even Nigel Farage’s UKIP.”

Residents of Hillhead council ward can register to vote in the by-election until 20 February.


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Go Seonad!