The seat became vacant when Cara Hilton stepped down to concentrate on her MSP duties and Mrs Sinclair won by a significant margin ahead of rival candidates Andrew Verrechia (Labour), David Ross (Conservatives) and James Calder (Lib Dems).

Speaking at the result in Pitreavie Athletics Centre this afternoon, she said, “I'd like to thank everyone involved in the smooth running of the by-election and everyone here for coming out today after what was a long night last night.

“Thanks very much to my agent, Derek, and my Dunfermline South colleague, Brian Goodall, and to the rest of the team who have been working really hard for months and months.

“Also to the leafleters, the door-knockers, the canvassers, the babysitters and to my husband, Richard, who has shown the ultimate patience and understanding when I abandoned him on his birthday on Wednesday night to put boards up at the polling stations! And of course to my two boys, David and Andrew, who have been with me every step of the campaign. They're probably a couple of the fittest children in Dunfermline with the miles that they've covered!

“I've been made to feel part of every community that makes up Dunfermline South and I look to bring the passion, dedication and drive of the campaign as a councillor.” The result was announced shortly after 2pm and was met with cheers and applause from the SNP councillors there in support, including newly-elected MP Douglas Chapman.

The turnout for the by-election was 67.8 per cent, up from just under 40 per cent in 2013.

Full results: Fay Sinclair (SNP): 5899 Andrew Verrechia (Lab): 3185 David Ross (Tory): 1324 James Calder (LibDem): 1041