THE SCOTTISH National Party increased their majority in the revamped Angus South constituency on Thursday when former journalist Graeme Dey was elected to the Scottish Parliament.
On a night of joy for the Nationalists, he was returned to the seat formerly occupied by Andrew Welsh with 16,164 votes, equivalent to 58.47 per cent of the total votes cast.
There was a huge roar from his supporters and volunteers when the overwhelming margin of his victory was realised.
Returns for the other candidates were: Hughie Campbell Adamson, Conservative, 5,581 (20.19 per cent); William Campbell, Labour, 3,703 (13.4 per cent); David Fairweather, Angus Independent Representatives, 1,321 (4.78 per cent); and Clive Sneddon, Liberal Democrats, 874 (3.16 per cent).
There were a total of 27,717 votes cast, equivalent to 50.46 per cent of the electorate, and there were 74 spoiled papers. Mr Dey’s majority was 10,583.
Speaking to a packed hall following the count in the Saltire Centre, Montrose Road, Arbroath, Mr Dey paid tribute to the returning officer, Mr Richard Stiff, and his team for their professionalism.
He went on: “I am genuinely honoured and thrilled to have been elected the new MSP for Angus South.
“We ran a terrifically professional campaign and I knew from the conversations I’d had with voters the length and breadth of the constituency over these past few months that they were ready once again to place their faith in the SNP.
“But, as a first time candidate, to be elected with such a substantial majority is humbling.
“I owe a huge vote of thanks to my campaign team, headed by election agent Alex King and campaign manager Doug Muir, and to my now fellow parliamentarian Mike Weir MP.
“And I look forward to working closely with Mike, Stewart Hosie MP and our Angus Council colleagues for the benefit of Angus.
“I made it clear during my campaign that if elected I would be an accessible, hard working constituency MSP as well as parliamentarian.
“I intend to deliver on that promise.”
The unsuccessful candidates each took their turn to thank the returning officer and his team, and their own supporters and volunteers.
In the 2007 election Mr Welsh polled 15,686 votes (49.1 per cent); Alex Johnston, Conservative, got 7,443 (23.3 per cent); Doug Bradley, Labour, received 5,032 (15.7 per cent); and Scott Rennie, Liberal Democrats, got 3,799 (11.9 per cent).
On that occasion Mr Welsh won the seat with 15,686 votes (49.1 per cent) and a majority of 8,243.