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Mon, 26 February 2024

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Labour Celebrate "Seismic" Win In Rutherglen And Hamilton West By-Election

2 min read

Labour has won the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, suggesting Scotland could be part of Keir Starmer’s route to victory in the general election.

Labour’s candidate Michael Shanks beat the SNP’s Katy Loudon by 17,845 votes to 8,399.

The seat, south of Glasgow, has switched between the SNP and Labour at the last three general elections, but had been Labour held between when it was created in 2005 until 2015. 

The win has doubled the number of Labour Westminster seats in Scotland from one to two, with the party having lost ground to the SNP over the last decade. 

The win will boost Labour’s hopes for the upcoming general election, with the party needing to make gains across their former seats to edge closer to a majority government. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer said it was a seismic result. “I have always said that winning back the trust of people in Scotland is essential. Tonight’s victory is the culmination of three and a half years of hard work and humility on that journey," he said.

“People need change from governments that have too often been distracted,” Shanks said.

The seat was previously held by Margaret Ferrier, who lost the SNP whip after she breached Covid regulations in 2020. 

She then sat as an independent MP, and earlier this year was ruled to have damaged the reputation of the Commons by her actions of travelling by train while she had coronavirus in September 2020. 

In 2021 she was charged by police over the incident, and later had to undertake 270 hours of unpaid work. 

The seat was previously held with an SNP majority of 5,230. The last time Labour held the seat between 2017 and 2019, their majority was just 265. 

Humza Yousaf said the party would “reflect on what we have to do to regain the trust of the people of Rutherglen & Hamilton West," adding that the “circumstances of this by-election were always very difficult for us”.

 

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