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Labour Takes Rutherglen and Hamilton West Over SNP In By-Election

Oli Osborne Harris

In a recent by-election, Labour won the parliamentary seat for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, previously held by the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) Margaret Ferrier, who was unseated on the 1st August for Covid restrictions violations.

Starmer said they “blew the doors off”

Labour’s candidate Michael Shanks won with 58.6% of the vote and a swing of 20.4% from SNP to Labour, making him only the second current MP for Labour in Scotland.

Labour politicians are seeing this as a sign of momentum for the party and are looking towards an opportunity at the next election.

Speaking at a victory rally in Rutherglen, leader Keir Starmer said they “blew the doors off, while Michael Shanks saidthere’s no part of this country that Labour cannot win”. 

This election marks the second time since 2017 that a Labour MP has held the seat.

With regards to the loss, Yousaf wrote on X that the party needs to ‘regain the trust of the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West,’ and told the Financial Times that, ‘we didn’t inspire people to come out.’

Higher satisfaction ratings for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar than for Yousaf

The result has come at a challenging time for the SNP, and low approval ratings for leader Humza Yousaf.

A poll conducted by IPSOS earlier this year noted higher satisfaction ratings for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar than for Yousaf. However, it also found the SNP to be the most trusted party, in addition to topping election polls.

Turnout for the election was low at 37.9% but was less than 3% lower than the national average by-election turnout over the last four years. This continued the downward trend of voter turnout for by-elections, which has been steadily decreasing since 1983.

Oli Osborne Harris

Featured image courtesy of Garvit Nama via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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