LABOUR’s Melanie Ward has vowed to be a “strong voice” for her constituents after claiming victory in the Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy constituency.

The Labour candidate claimed 18,662 votes with the SNP’s Lesley Backhouse coming second with 11,414 votes.

Conservative Johnathon Gray was third with 3,203 votes while Reform UK’s Sonia Davidson gained 3,128 votes.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Fraser Graham got 1,593 votes, Scottish Greens candidate Mags Hall had 1,556 votes, previous MP Neale Hanvey, representing Alba, got 1,132 votes while Scottish Libertarian Party candidate Calum Paul got 126 votes.

There were a total of 40,920 votes cast with a 56.96 per cent turn out in the constituency.

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Speaking after the declaration, Melanie Ward said it was a “huge honour” to be elected as the Scottish Labour member of Parliament for Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy.

“Thank you to the other candidates in particular to Neale Hanvey,” she said.

“I want to pay tribute to his commitment with which he served his constituency and his diligence to serving constituents’ problems.

Melanie Ward is elected as MP for Cowdenbeath and KirkcaldyMelanie Ward is elected as MP for Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy (Image: Newsquest)

“Thank you to everyone who voted for me across Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy. You have put your trust in me and I will work tirelessly for you and for the change our communities and our country so desperately needed.

“To those who voted Labour for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, thank you.

“I hope the months and years ahead will make you glad to have voted for Labour as we work to deliver change you have supported.

“To everyone who voted for a party other than Labour, I will work to be a strong voice for you too.

“Tonight you will see an end to Tory rule and an end to chaos and division and the first Labour Government which will have Scotland at its heart.”

Speaking before the results were declared, outgoing MP Neale Hanvey, who won the seat as an independent in 2019 before joining Alba, said Labour’s victory was “kind of understandable.”

He added: I would have hoped to have a stronger showing but you have got to view it in a national context.

“There are two governments who have badly let their supporters down.

“These supporters will be looking somewhere else for a solution or at least change and however frustrating that is for me Labour are the obvious home for that dissatisfaction.

“They are definitely attracting these votes for being the other guys. There is no inspiration that I can see in Labour’s message other than change.

“Change ¬ not necessarily progress - but just something different.

“That is what people want. They want something different and that is what they are voting for.

“It is the ebb and flow of politics. That is the way it goes.”