23 January 2014 Last updated at 21:55

As it happened: Cowdenbeath by-election

Key Points

  • Labour has held the Scottish Parliament seat of Cowdenbeath following a by-election in the Fife constituency
  • The winning candidate, Alex Rowley was elected with a majority of 5,488
  • The by-election was held following the death of sitting MSP Helen Eadie
  1.  
    22:02:

    Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the Cowdenbeath by-election.

     
  2.  
    22:02:

    The polls have closed and counting is due to get under way shortly, with the result expected sometime after midnight.

     
  3.  
    22:04:

    The by-election in this Fife constituency is being held following the death of sitting Labour MSP Helen Eadie, in November.

     
  4.  
    Neil Henderson, Glenrothes Gazette

    tweets: #Cowdenbeathbyelection Dalgety Bay polling station say approx 25% turn out to add to postal vote

     
  5.  
    22:08:

    There are seven candidates vying to become the new MSP for Cowdenbeath:

    Denise Baykal - UK Independence Party

    Dave Dempsey - Scottish Conservatives

    Stuart Graham - The Victims Final Right Party

    Jade Holden - Scottish Liberal Democrats

    Natalie McGarry - Scottish National Party

    Alex Rowley - Scottish Labour

    James Trolland - Scottish Democratic Alliance

     
  6.  
    22:11:

    Our live by-election programme, hosted by Gordon Brewer, begins at 23:00 on BBC Two Scotland, but you will also be able to watch it right here.

     
  7.  
    22:13:

    The programme also features BBC Scotland Political Editor Brian Taylor, as well as Prof John Curtice, from Strathclyde University. Both will be providing analysis and an anecdote or two as the evening progresses.

     
  8.  
    22:16:

    The political panel in the studio is made up of Scottish Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance, Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar, The Liberal Democrats' Liam McArthur and Conservative MSP Liz Smith.

     
  9.  
    Kenny Farquharson, Scotland on Sunday

    tweets: So, my informants predict over 50% for Labour in #cowdenbeath by-election, SNP share of the vote down, Tories safely in third place.

     
  10.  
    22:17:
    Dalgety Bay polling station

    Fife Council tweeted this picture of the preparation for tonight's count.

     
  11.  
    22:18:

    Here's how the numbers stack up in Cowdenbeath. Labour is defending a 1,247 vote majority, in a seat which saw a 4.8% swing from Labour to SNP in the 2011 Scottish election.

     
  12.  
    22:19: Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Cowdenbeath is pretty solid Labour territory - the area is represented at Westminster by former prime minister Gordon Brown. Given that factor, and the circumstances under which the by-election is being held, the expected result is a Labour hold - but you can never tell with by-elections!

     
  13.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: At #Cowdenbeath count. We're told there's a dance hall in the basement if we get bored. Turnout estimated at 37‰.

     
  14.  
    Paul Hutcheon, Sunday Herald

    tweets: How would Robert Burns have voted in #Cowdenbeath?

     
  15.  
    22:23:

    What were the issues that mattered to voters in the by-election? Our reporter Steven Godden found out.

     
  16.  
    22:24:
    Tables at the count

    The count is taking place at Dalgety Bay in Fife.

     
  17.  
    SNP candidate Natalie McGarry

    tweets: Made it round every polling station in the constituency today! #Cowdenbeathbyelection

     
  18.  
    22:21: Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Unusually, there's no Green candidate standing in the by-election. I've got no idea why that is, though!

     
  19.  
    Cara Hilton MSP

    tweets: Absolutely fantastic response in #Lochgelly today for @AlexRowleyCllr @scottishlabour #Cowdenbeath. Too cold to take many pictures though!

     
  20.  
    Peter Swindon

    tweets: Turnout predictions from #Labour sources in #Cowdenbeath vary from 35% to 50% but #SNP source tells me it will be lower.

     
  21.  
    22:27:
    The count in Dalgety Bay

    Allan Crow from the Fife Free Press tweeted this photo of the count taking place.

     
  22.  
    Kingdom FM News

    tweets: Some by-election trivia - 68 ballot boxes are being used in this poll; 57,687 people are registered to vote; & there are 8391 postal votes

     
  23.  
    Gordon Brown

    The by-election has seen Former PM Gordon Brown out campaigning on his home turf.

     
  24.  
    Alex Salmond

    Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond also hit the campaign trail

     
  25.  
    Allan Crow, Fife Free Press

    tweets: At #cowdenbeath count, first prediction re turnout - ballpark 30% said one party veteran before factroing in postal vote of 8,391.

     
  26.  
    22:52:

    In their own words: The by-election candidates explain what they stood for.

     
  27.  
    22:53:
    Framed UKIP manifesto

    Alan Roden, from the Scottish Daily Mail, tweeted this picture. "UKIP's #Cowdenbeath manifesto framed for posterity. Don't imagine it will be needed tomorrow."

     
  28.  
    Allan Crow, Fife Free Press

    tweets: last van with ballot boxes just arrived in Dalgety Bay for #Cowdenbeath

     
  29.  
    23:01:
    Votes being counted

    Votes are now being counted in the Dalgety Sports Centre.

     
  30.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: The glitz! The glamour! Our Cowdenbeath by-election broadcast begins shortly. I'm at Dalgety Bay Sports Centre. #Cowdenbeath

     
  31.  
    23:06:
    Andrew Kerr

    BBC by-election team selfie.

     
  32.  
    Allan Crow, Fife Free Press

    tweets: Number of postal proxy votes in #cowdenbeath - er, none

     
  33.  
    Newsnight Scotland

    tweets: We'll be on air until we get a result in the #Cowdenbeath by-election, but will @TannadiceLad sing? #newsnicht

     
  34.  
    23:12:

    Our political editor Brian Taylor had a sing on the last by-election programme.

     
  35.  
    23:12:

    Prof John Curtice says is will be a shock if the SNP pulls off a win tonight.

     
  36.  
    23:13:

    Reporter Andrew Kerr, at the count, says there are rumours of a turnout of under 40%, despite decent weather.

     
  37.  
    23:14:

    It's thought the by-election result will come at about 01:30.

     
  38.  
    Kristofer

    tweets: One party who definitely won't win Cowdenbeath is the Greens, who didn't even field a candidate...

     
  39.  
    23:16:

    The SNP's Angela Constance says Cowdenbeath was the only Fife seat the SNP didn't win at the last Scottish election. Is she admitting defeat? "We'll wait and see," she says.

     
  40.  
    Allan Crow, Fife Free Press

    tweets: You can spot the true political geeks at #cowdenbeath count - they are downstairs watching Question Time on telly!

     
  41.  
    23:17:

    The Tories' Liz Smith says her party won't win, but is confident the vote share will increase.

     
  42.  
    23:20:

    Lib Dem Liam McArthur says that, if his party wins the by-election, "the Electoral Commission will be investigating unusual betting patterns in the Far East".

     
  43.  
    23:22:

    Prof John Curtice says, even if the SNP vote goes down, it tells us nothing about the independence referendum.

     
  44.  
    Kingdom FM News

    tweets: We should have the turnout figure shortly

     
  45.  
    Kieran Andrews, The Courier

    tweets: Just been told looking like 50-55% for @scottishlabour and 30% for @theSNP in #Cowdenbeath

     
  46.  
    Sam Beaton

    tweets: John Curtice laying the smackdown about Cowdenbeath and indy before Anas Sarwar says otherwise

     
  47.  
    Cowdenbeath count
     
  48.  
    23:25:

    Angela Constance says it's "folly" to draw conclusions about the outcome of the independence referendum from a mid-term by-election, even though the SNP candidate is a leading member of the "Yes Scotland" campaign.

     
  49.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: We are hearing rumours of a low turnout here in #Cowdenbeath - about 40 per cent. Should get actual figure soon.

     
  50.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: Labour sources are speaking of a "sound and comfortable" win here at #Cowdenbeath.

     
  51.  
    23:27:

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says the referendum does "crop up" on the doorsteps, but adds that it crops up in the context of the Scottish government's "obsession" with independence at the expense of more vital issues to Scotland.

     
  52.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: Hearing that Labour may break the 50% barrier in #Cowdenbeath

     
  53.  
    James Cheyne, STV

    tweets: Tweeting from Cowdenbeath tonight where polls closed a short while ago. Turnout around 40%. Labour sources say they've "gubbed" the SNP.

     
  54.  
    Rob Murray

    tweets: Decision time, stay up for #Cowdenbeath by-election result or head to bed?

     
  55.  
    23:34:
    Brian Taylor

    Brian Taylor says the issue of jobs dominated the by-election campaign.

     
  56.  
    23:36:

    John Curtice says a by-election turnout down by 10 points compared to the last Scottish election is to be expected.

     
  57.  
    23:39:

    The BBC's Andrew Kerr, at the count, confirms rumours of a turnout of about 40%.

     
  58.  
    23:43: Breaking News

    Voter turnout in the by-election is 34.81%.

     
  59.  
    Ronnie Convery

    tweets: Cowdenbeath by election turnout is roughly equivalent to the crowd at a Cowdenbeath home match!

     
  60.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    That's a low turnout in this by-election, well below the earlier indications of about 40%.

     
  61.  
    Mrs Quinny

    tweets: I have to say all parties did plenty canvassing and deserved a better turnout. #Cowdenbeathbyelection

     
  62.  
    23:48:

    On turnout, John Curtice says the fact that this looked like a Labour win from the outset was a factor.

     
  63.  
    Allan Crow, Fife Free Press

    tweets: Some 57,000 on electorate in #Cowdenbeath but only 20,083 voted

     
  64.  
    Jim Murphy MP

    tweets: Was in Cowdenbeath campaigning earlier today. It seems that despite that Labour are doing really well in the count tonight.

     
  65.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: Turnout for ballot box 13, The Bridges Centre on Rosyth, was just 10.79%. #Cowdenbeath

     
  66.  

    Factoid: There are a fair few famous folk who are from or grew up in Cowdenbeath, including crime author Ian Rankin, politician Dennis Canavan, Donald Findlay QC, footballer Scott Brown, oh and Nobel Prize winner, Sir James Black.

     
  67.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: And of the six registered voters for ballot box 66, in Cardenden, zero turned up. #Cowdenbeath

     
  68.  
    Cowdenbeath count
     
  69.  
    David Adamson

    tweets: When I went to vote, I saw the sheet with all the people in my street. I didn't see any of my neighbours names ticked off. #Cowdenbeath

     
  70.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: SNP sources say they hope to match 2007 vote in #Cowdenbeath

     
  71.  
    23:58:

    Lib Dem Liam McArthur says public disengagement in Holyrood politics needs to be addressed by all parties.

     
  72.  
    Pete Wishart, SNP MP

    tweets: Lab got 46.5% (almost 50%) in the last election. Midway through a second term an average-ish result for Lab would need to be at about 60%

     
  73.  
    00:01:

    The by-election turnout of 34.8%, from a total registered electorate of 57,687, compares with a figure of 47.43% in Cowdenbeath at the 2011 Scottish election.

     
  74.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: SNP say they're positive in face of Lab win at #Cowdenbeath. 11k voters surveyed in constituency. 41% yes to indy, 36% No, 23% don't know.

     
  75.  
    00:01:
    Liz Smith

    Conservative MSP Liz Smith says people are interested in politics, but not political parties.

     
  76.  
    Ross

    tweets: The Cowdenbeath by-election turn out was 34.81%. Russell Brand's words must be influencing peoples' inner souls! #apathy

     
  77.  
    00:03:

    SNP local government minister Derek Mackay, speaking at the count, isn't ready to admit defeat yet. He says there are many reasons for his party to be "encouraged".

     
  78.  
    Teknofish

    tweets: If #Cowdenbeath trends in England ill dye my hair Ginger.

     
  79.  
    00:10:

    On the SNP's Cowdenbeath independence support claim, John Curtice says the 41% figure isn't surprising. But he says the two crucial factors in canvassing are: 1 - It's easier to identify supporters than opponents and 2 - Some people will say anything to get rid of you from their doorstep.

     
  80.  
    Michael Alexander, The Courier

    tweets: Labour @alexrowley fought #Cowdenbeath campaign 'on issues that matter to people'. Independence debate was 'irrelevant', Labour claim.

     
  81.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: Looks like Conservatives third, Ukip fourth and Lib Dems down to fifth place here in #Cowdenbeath

     
  82.  
    00:19:

    Earlier in the programme, Brian Taylor was bemoaning a lack of performance from his football team. Here are the highlights from Dundee United's 3-0 defeat to Ross County last weekend.

     
  83.  
    Andrew Kerr, BBC

    tweets: Labour sources not happy at #Cowdenbeath over SNP claims that 41% of people are in favour of Yes. Claim their polling does not match that.

     
  84.  
    Peter Foy

    tweets: Living in Cowdenbeath have to say SNP campaign and candidate was feeble during by election I'm a Yes supporter campaign needs more inclusion

     
  85.  
    Kayleigh Marie Quinn

    tweets: Went upstairs to bed instead of watching #newsnicht and #cowdenbeath result - find myself just following it all on twitter. Not efficient.

     
  86.  
    Peter Swindon

    tweets: Labour politician on the count floor predicts Alex Rowley will win #Cowdenbeath with a majority of approximately 3,500 votes.

     
  87.  
    Newsnight panel
     
  88.  
    00:26:

    We have a by-election result - but it's not the one you're thinking. Labour has won a poll in Motherwell North, electing North Lanarkshire Council's newest member, Pat O'Rourke.

     
  89.  
    00:28:
    Jade Holden

    Lib Dem Cowdenbeath candidate Jade Holden says the campaign has been good, even though it looks like UKIP has out-polled her party.

     
  90.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: We know Labour has won, but we still don't know who has come 4th - has UKIP overtaken the LibDems? Both likely to lose deposit. #cowdenbeath

     
  91.  
    Gavin G Scott

    tweets: Rumours Lib Dems will be fifth, beaten by UKIP. Begs the question how strong will they be in May! #EUElections #Cowdenbeath

     
  92.  
    00:33:

    Some Venn diagram chat on the by-election programme now - politicians love 'em!

     
  93.  
    00:37:

    Looks like we're getting a result in about 10 minutes - much earlier than expected.

     
  94.  
    Gerard Killen

    tweets: Will the Yes camp now stop pretending that the rising popularity of UKIP is not an issue unique to the SE of England? #Cowdenbeath

     
  95.  
    00:41:

    Lib Dem Liam McArthur says it's disappointing to get beaten by UKIP.

     
  96.  
    Allan Crow, Fife Free Press

    tweets: Natalie McGarry SNP candidate arrives in hall #Cowdenbeath

     
  97.  
    00:43:

    Scotland's only Tory MP, David Mundell, says his party has had a good campaign in Cowdenbeath.

     
  98.  
    Mary May Holland

    tweets: Sitting excitedly waiting for the results coming from #Cowdenbeath with @pipweaver and @petrouale

     
  99.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: So will SNP activists heckle the winning candidate like in Dunfermline? #cowdenbeath

     
  100.  
    00:48:
    SNP candidate arrives

    Allan Crow, from the Fife Free Press, tweeted this picture of SNP candidate, Natalie McGarry, arriving at the count.

     
  101.  
    Laisvė

    tweets: If David Mundell is correct, this looks like a decent result for the Conservative Party. Increased vote on a reduced turnout. #Cowdenbeath

     
  102.  
    00:54:

    The candidates are assembling at the platform - that means a result in about five minutes.

     
  103.  
    Stylish Riot Kid

    tweets: MON the results already #cowdenbeath #bedtime

     
  104.  
    Breaking News

    Labour holds the Scottish Parliament seat of Cowdenbeath.

     
  105.  
    01:02:

    Labour victor Alex Rowley pays tribute to Helen Eadie. He says local voters wanted jobs and opportunities.

     
  106.  
    Johann Lamont, MSP

    tweets: Congratulations to @scottishlabour's Alex Rowley on winning the #Cowdenbeath by-election.

     
  107.  
    Laisvė

    tweets: That Lib Dem candidate does seem lovely. A poor result, but she still came off really well as an individual. #cowdenbeath

     
  108.  
    Riddle Like

    tweets: Oh dear Lib Dems 200 votes below UKIP. IN SCOTLAND!!! #Cowdenbeath

     
  109.  
    01:07:

    Here's the run-down on votes:

    Alex Rowley - Scottish Labour - 11,192

    Natalie McGarry - Scottish National Party - 5,704

    Dave Dempsey - Scottish Conservatives - 1,893

    Denise Baykal - UK Independence Party - 610

    Jade Holden - Scottish Liberal Democrats - 425

    Stuart Graham - The Victims Final Right Party - 187

    James Trolland - Scottish Democratic Alliance - 51

     
  110.  
    Alan Roden, Scottish Daily Mail

    tweets: #Cowdenbeath: Labour 55.8%, SNP 28.4%, Tories 9.4%, UKIP 3%, LibDems 2.1%.

     
  111.  
    Dave Dempsey

    tweets: A huge thank you to everyone who supported,voted and campaigned for me. Delighted to see a vote increase of 2.4%. #Cowdenbeath

     
  112.  
    01:10:

    Labour's majority is 5,488, with an 11.25% swing to the party from the SNP.

     
  113.  
    01:11:

    The Cowdenbeath electorate is 57,687 and voter turnout was 20,062, or 34.78%.

     
  114.  
    01:10:
    Results sheet

    The BBC's Andrew Kerr tweeted this photo of the results sheet.

     
  115.  

    SNP candidate Natalie McGarry says Alex Rowley may be celebrating a win tonight, but argues that, come September, the whole of Scotland will be celebrating a "Yes" vote in the independence referendum.

     
  116.  
    Mary May Holland

    tweets: Over the moon about the result in #cowdenbeath So proud to have been a part of such a positive campaign with @ScotsLabStudent

     
  117.  
    Pete Wishart MP

    tweets: Well done Alex Rowley. But this isn't the Gettysburg address. It isn't even the Dalgety Bay address.

     
  118.  

    Politics Prof John Curtice says one of the big stories from tonight is that the Lib Dems have had another awful result.

     
  119.  
    Joe Docherty

    tweets: Motion drafted, result in, UKIP lost deposit - bed time! #newsnicht #scotnight #cowdenbeath

     
  120.  
    Alex Rowley
     
  121.  
    01:20:

    The SNP's Angela Constance says her party has done well in a seat like Cowdenbeath. Labour's Anas Sarwar says his party's re-building trust with voters.

     
  122.  
    01:21:

    Tory MSP Liz Smith says the result is "encouraging" for her party, but Liam McArthur, of the Lib Dems, looks glum.

     
  123.  
    Cara Hilton MSP

    tweets: Outstanding result for @scottishlabour in #Cowdenbeath,11% swing SNP to Labour! Congratulations to our newest MSP @AlexRowleyCllr #labourwin

     
  124.  
    01:22:

    Brian Taylor says Alex Rowley will be a "big player" in the Holyrood Labour group.

     
  125.  
    01:24:

    Well that's it for our coverage of the Cowdenbeath by-election. You can keep up to date with the aftermath by following our main story. Sleep tight!

     

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