Alex Cole-Hamilton reprimanded by Ballot Box Scotland after Scottish independence claim

THE Scottish leader of LibDem has come under fire from polling pundits after suggesting a recent council by-election was proof there was no desire for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Alex Cole-Hamilton took to Twitter to share the results of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s recent by-election.

The Western Isles vacancy emerged when only one candidate stood for the seat in the May election.

The Sgìr ‘Ùige agus Carlabhagh neighborhood saw independent candidate Norman Macdonald claim victory with 35.4% of the first preference votes, with the LibDems coming in second with 20.4%.

READ MORE: LibDems slammed for outrageous popularity claim in Scottish leaflets

Another independent took 3rd place with 18% of the first preference vote while the SNP got 15.3% and the Greens 9.1%.

Sharing a tweet from Ballot Box Scotland announcing the results, the West Edinburgh MSP tweeted: ‘Still smiling about it. The people of Eilean Siar are ready for change.

“Clearly the latest push for independence is going well as the SNP gains just 15% in a key quarter of a held parliamentary seat.”

But the global polling record hit back at Cole-Hamilton, urging politicians not to use the council by-elections as a national barometer of independence.

Responding to the party leader’s message, Ballot Box Scotland said: ‘Please don’t make the first person I have to wiggle my psephological finger at and go ‘you can’t use individual council by-elections’ as a national barometer, regardless of an Isles Council by-election ‘in this council term, a party leader, Alex!’

Pollster Mark McGeoghegan agreed, telling Cole-Hamilton he would not view the council by-election as a sign of national change.

He said: “The SNP won 19.2% of first preferences in Eilean Siar in 2017. They went on to win the 2019 GE there with 45.1% of the vote and the 2021 Scottish Election with 51.4%. Voting for independents in local elections and the SNP nationally is the norm. I wouldn’t take that as a sign of change.

The politician replied to McGeoghegan: “I’m sure you find that comforting.”

McGeoghegan replied, “Since I have no interest anyway, Alex, I don’t feel much about it – your analysis just wasn’t based on empirical facts.”

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McGeoghegan then reacted to the LibDem leader’s response by saying, “Seriously?

“Twitter randoms and activists implying, or outright accusing, commentators/pollsters/analysts of compromised/biased analysis is normal. It’s unbecoming of a supposedly serious leader of a political party.

Scotland’s Minister for Women’s Health said: ‘We could all learn a lesson from confidently losing Lib Dems. We are grateful that they did not win – we are all still paying the tragic price for their decisions when they were in government with the Tories.

The Scottish MSP then linked to a BMJ report showing ‘worrying changes’ in life expectancy in the age of austerity in a reference to the 2010 UK Tory/LibDem coalition government.

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