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Scotland by election confirms Labour's strong comeback; SNP promises to bounce back

Saturday, October 7th 2023 - 07:38 UTC
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Sir Keir told a rally in the constituency that voters had become disillusioned with the SNP government in Scotland and the Conservative government at Westminster. Sir Keir told a rally in the constituency that voters had become disillusioned with the SNP government in Scotland and the Conservative government at Westminster.

UK Labour “blew the doors off” to take the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat back from the SNP, leader Keir Starmer has said. Speaking at a victory rally, he said it was “the first step on a very important journey” in Scotland and the UK.

The party's new MP Michael Shanks won the by-election with 17,845 votes.

This was more than double the number achieved by the SNP's Katy Loudon, with a swing of 20.4% from SNP to Labour in the Westminster poll.

The by-election was called after former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier was ousted by her constituents for breaking Covid rules.

Sir Keir told a rally in the constituency that voters had become disillusioned with both the SNP government in Scotland and the Conservative government at Westminster.

He said: “Scottish voters looked at the Tory government in Westminster and saw something that didn't represent them - they turned their backs on that.

”But they also, not so long ago, saw a Labour that had drifted away from them.

“We've changed, and because we've changed, we are now the party of change.”

He added: “As for the SNP, this isn't about just a few months of turmoil in the SNP, it is about years and years of non-delivery.”

Scotland's first minister Humza Yousaf said there were “a number of difficult issues
around this by-election which made it a very difficult night.”

The SNP leader said the “reckless actions” of their former MP during Covid and police investigations into SNP finances played a part in the poor result.

But he said his party would reflect, re-group and re-organize and bounce back stronger.

SNP candidate Katy Loudon's 8,399 votes represented a 27.6% share, down by 16.6% on the SNP result at the 2019 general election.

Michael Shanks took victory for Labour with 58.6% of the votes cast.

The newly elected MP described the result as “remarkable”, and said it was the “honor of my life” to speak to thousands of voters during the campaign.

Turnout for the vote was just 37.19%, a dramatic fall from the 66.5% at the last general election.

Conservative candidate Thomas Kerr managed only a 3.9% share of the vote, a fall of more than 11% since 2019.

The chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, Craig Hoy MSP, denied that the result was “compelling evidence of a significant Labour revival”.

He said: “The result was what we expected. We knew that our vote would be squeezed as the third party in a contest between Labour and the SNP.”

Keir Starmer told BBC Scotland that Labour would lay out its “positive case for change” at the party's annual conference, which begins on Sunday.

“People wanted to come out and vote for a changed Labour party,” he said.

 

(BBC)

 

Categories: Politics, International.

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