North Lanarkshire Council; caused by the death of Labour councillor Tom Maginnis at the age of 68, while on holiday in Tenerife. Maginnis had been a councillor for twenty years, starting his career on the now-abolished Monklands District Council.
|Glen Court and Millbrae Court, Coatbridge|
© Copyright Chris Upson and licensed for
reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Also like Rutherglen, Coatbridge has an industrial heritage. The Monklands Canal was built to ship coal and iron, which were abundant in the area, to Glasgow and then overseas. Indeed, Coatbridge was a major industrial centre of the British Empire, with rapidly expanding industry and population throughout the 19th century, leading Robert Baird to describe the town as thus in 1845:
"There is no worse place out of hell than that neighbourhood. At night the groups of blast furnaces on all sides might be imagined to be blazing volcanoes at most of which smelting is continued on Sundays and weekdays, day and night, without intermission."
Much of the industry has now gone, although one remnant of its former draw is the large concentration of local residents of Irish descent. It is also one of the most economically deprived towns in Scotland, with high unemployment and a high proportion of social housing stock. The town won the 'Plook on the Plinth award' for most dismal town in Scotland in 2007, an 'award' since shared with numerous other Lanarkshire towns and other post-industrial communities such as Linwood.
The Labour candidate, who barring some unimaginable catastrophe for the party should become the new councillor, is Kevin Docherty. Docherty is also the only candidate who actually lives within the ward. Patrick Rolink from Airdrie is standing for the SNP - he was the third SNP candidate in Airdrie North ward last year, where the other two candidates were elected. The Lib Dems are standing John Love, who was a councillor for Airdrie South ward between 2007 and 2012 - to date the only seat the Liberal Democrats have ever held on North Lanarkshire Council. The Conservatives are also seeking a return from their 2012 wipeout standing local Conservative Future organiser Ashley Baird from Motherwell. The candidate list is completed by Billy Mitchell from UKIP, who have no history of contesting local elections in North Lanarkshire before now.
Westminster constituency: Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
Holyrood constituency: Coatbridge and Chryston (Central Scotland region)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Lanarkshire
Ashley Baird (C)
Kevin Docherty (Lab)
John Love (LD)
Billy Mitchell (UKIP)
Patrick Rolink (SNP)
May 2012 first preferences Lab 2865 SNP 858 C 107 (seats: 2Lab/1SNP)
May 2007 first preferences Lab 3348 SNP 1218 C 251 SSP 192 (seats: 2Lab/1SNP)