Scottish Labour wins key by-election

Labour triumph with 17,845 votes – more than double the SNP

The party won a massive victory with 17,845 votes – more than double the SNP’s Katy Loudon with 8,399 ballots.

The victory represents a 24.1% swing to Labour which won 58.6% of the total vote share.

The modern studies teacher will join Ian Murray at Westminster to become the party’s second MP in Scotland.

Shanks said it will be the “honour of my life” to serve as the Member of Parliament for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. “Thank you to all those who helped deliver this result,” he said.

“The largest thanks goes to all those who have put their trust in me. My promise in return is a simple one: I will be your champion.”

They included the Dumbarton MSP Dame Jackie Baillie, right, who worked tirelessly on the campaign for weeks on end.

Shanks said people are “once again listening to the Scottish Labour Party.”

“Change is possible,” he added.

The seat was previously won by Margaret Ferrier in 2019 when she ran as a candidate for the SNP.

Some 23,775 people voted for Ferrier at that ballot where she won 44.2% of the vote.

The politician was excluded from the party after breaking Covid rules by travelling between London and Glasgow after testing positive for the virus.

A successful recall petition – the first in Scotland – sparked the by-election which has seen constant campaigning from candidates over several months.

Anas Sarwar and Michael Shanks at the Hamilton count.

Voter turnout at the ballot was low at 37.19%, with 30,531 votes cast. Some 82,104 people were eligible to vote in the election.

The Scottish Conservatives lost their deposit, winning only 3.9% of the vote (1,192).

‘A seismic result for Labour’

The Scottish and UK Labour leaders said it was a “seismic” result for Labour.

Sarwar said the result showed Scots are “sick of two tired, failing, incompetent governments”.

“They’re desperate for a fresh start, they’re desperate for a change,” he said.

He added: “Scotland will lead the way in delivering a UK-wide Labour government.”

Sir Keir Starmer said: “This is a seismic result. People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West have sent a clear message – it is time for change. And it is clear they believe that this changed Labour Party can deliver it.

“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. I am grateful to everyone who has put their faith in us today – we will work every day to repay it.

“Voters across Scotland and across Britain want a government determined to deliver for working people, with a proper plan to rebuild our country. They want to move on from two SNP and Tory governments that offer only more division, more chaos and more infighting.

“The country deserves a government firmly on their side and focused on their priorities – and Labour will deliver that for them.”

‘A disappointing night for the SNP’

First Minister Humza Yousaf, left,  admitted it was a “disappointing night for the SNP”.

He wrote on social media: “I want to thank our exceptional candidate @KatyLoudonSNP and our activists for their incredible efforts. Let me also congratulate Michael Shanks on being elected. Circumstances of this by-election were always very difficult for us.

“Collapse in the Tory vote, which went straight to Labour, also a significant factor. We lost this seat in 2017, and like 2019 we can win this seat back.

“However, we will reflect on what we have to do to regain the trust of the people of Rutherglen & Hamilton West.”

The full result

Michael Shanks (Lab) 17,845 (58.55%, +24.08%)

Katy Loudon (SNP) 8,399 (27.56%, -16.64%)

Thomas Kerr (C) 1,192 (3.91%, -11.06%)

Gloria Adebo (LD) 895 (2.94%, -2.25%)

Cameron Eadie (Green) 601 (1.97%)

David Stark (Reform) 403 (1.32%)

Niall Fraser (Scot Family) 319 (1.05%)

Bill Bonnar (SSP) 271 (0.89%)

Colette Walker (IFS) 207 (0.68%)

Christopher Sermanni (TUSC) 178 (0.58%)

Andrew Daly (Ind) 81 (0.27%)

Ewan Hoyle (Volt) 46 (0.15%)

Emperor of India Prince Ankit Love (ND) 34 (0.11%)

Garry Cooke (ND) 6 (0.02%)

Lab maj 9,446 (30.99%)

20.36% swing SNP to Lab

Electorate 82,104; Turnout 30,477 (37.12%, -29.36%)

2019 results

SNP majority of 5,230 (9.72%) – Turnout 53,794 (66.48%)

Ferrier (SNP) 23,775 (44.20%); Killen (Lab Co-op) 18,545 (34.47%);

Nailon (C) 8,054 (14.97%); McGeever (LD) 2,791 (5.19%); Mackay (UKIP)
629 (1.17%)

One comment

  1. There may be cocks a hoop about the Labour securing the Ritherglen and Hamilton seat.

    But underlying the razz and matazz consider the Labour vote –

    2010 – 28,564

    2015 – 20,304

    2017 – 19,101

    2019 – 18,545

    2023 – 17,845

    Are these declining figures something to truly be cock a hoop about?

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