New Dunfermline MSP praises 'bravery' of Bill Walker's ex-wives

The new MSP for Dunfermline has praised the bravery of the three ex-wives of former MSP Bill Walker, who stood down after being jailed for domestic violence.

Cara Hilton, who took the seat for Scottish Labour in Thursday's by-election, said the lesson from the Walker affair was that Scotland had to do more to ensure justice for victims of domestic abuse.

Delivering her victory speech in the early hours of Friday, Ms Hilton said: "We should take a moment to remember that we are only here tonight because of the bravery of three women. Three women who came forward to demand justice and who won that fight.

"Their courage and determination must be a reminder to all of us that we need to work harder to ensure that all victims of domestic violence are able to come forward and receive the justice that they deserve."

Walker was jailed in September after being found guilty on 23 charges of assault against three ex-wives and a step-daughter. He had won the Dunfermline seat for the SNP in 2011 but was expelled by the party in 2012.

Ms Hilton also addressed the political impact of the result, saying it showed the voters had "put their trust in Scottish Labour". She pledged that she would not let down the voters after they placed their confidence in her.

She said: "As your MSP, I will work hard every day to put Dunfermline first. I will repay your trust in me. After the disgrace of Bill Walker, Dunfermline deserves better and I will ensure that we will be better, far better, than what went before.

"The trust that Dunfermline people have shown in Scottish Labour marks another step in the journey for Labour rebuilding people's trust and faith in us."

Ms Hilton also attacked the SNP over independence and said her election had "sent a message to Bute House and Alex Salmond".

She promised that "the hard work starts here today" to create "a fairer Scotland".

In an interview after speech, Ms Hilton told STV's political correspondent Claire Stewart that her victory had been secured by "a positive vision for Dunfermline".

She said her priorities at Holyrood would be families, living standards and improving the Dunfermline town centre.