Election eyes will be on R’glen
Rutherglen must be held by Labour to stop wipeout
The eyes of Scotland could be on Rutherglen and Cambuslang tomorrow ( Thursday) night when the results of the General Election start to filter through.
Rutherglen and Hamilton West has been the first Scottish seat to declare in the past two general elections.
If that pattern is repeated tomorrow night, it will give the first indicator of how big a swing there has been from Labour to the SNP.
The Rutherglen seat is one of the few nationwide where Labour are still seen as the frontrunners.
Tom Greatrex is defending a majority of 21,002 but even that doesn’t seem safe with the SNP taking an unprecedented lead in the polls into the final days.
Mr Greatrex will be hoping his reputation as a hands-on MP will see him through, but Margaret Ferrier of the SNP will hold genuine hopes of taking the seat.
Labour remain slight favourites with the bookies, but the odds have narrowed as the campaign has gone on.
The seat has been earmarked as a “must-win” by Labour insiders, while David Clegg, political editor at our sister paper, the Daily
Record, told the Reformer this week the prospect of losing the seat didn’t bear thinking about for the party.
He said: “Labour – and the SNP – will be keeping a close eye on the result in Rutherglen where Tom Greatrex is defending a huge majority.
“A massive swing to the SNP would be the first sign that the night is going to go as badly for Labour as the polls suggest.
“If the SNP win the seat, then suggestions they could completely wipe Labour out might not be wide of the mark.
“It is crucial for the Labour Party in Scotland that they hold Rutherglen and Hamilton West.”
Mr Greatrex said this week: “Like every other candidate here, I have been focussed on getting across to voters my record and my party’s policies as we decide who will represent us in Parliament for the next five years. As one of the first seats in Scotland to declare, our constituency may also give a good indication of the trends of election night in Scotland – but it will also be crucial in determining whether we are saddled with five more years of George Osborne’s Tory austerity, or a better and fairer approach from a Labour government.
“With polls across the rest of the UK neck and neck, who ends up the largest party and therefore in the best position to form the government looks like it will be determined here in Scotland. SNP votes can only help the Tories get back into office – and Labour votes can help get the change of government I believe we need.”
Margaret Ferrier said she was confident she would win the seat, adding: “In Labour’s safest seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath the SNP were installed as favourites following a poll by Ashcroft. We have only the reaction on the doorsteps to go by and I have to say it is very positive.
“Voters are not just turning to the SNP to keep the Tories out, they feel let down by Labour and are voting SNP to keep Labour out as well.
“And that should surprise no- one as both Tory and Labour propose further austerity and further cuts in our services to the tune of £30billion.
“I expect the result to be close and on Thursday we could be in for a long night following a long campaign.
“We will be pulling out all the stops in the final hours to make sure every SNP vote is cast. If we can achieve that then we can win here, it’s as simple as that.”
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates, however, said voters had a choice other than Labour or the SNP.
Conservative Taylor Muir said: “The only wasted vote is a vote for policies you don’t believe in. If you want the Conservatives to be able to form a government then you need to vote for us. Scotland in the Union and the recovery continued – if you want it then vote for it.”
Lib Dem candidate Tony Hughes said: “The fight between the SNP and Labour has been extremely unedifying and has diverted attention away from the key issues of the economy, opportunities for young people and the NHS.
“Liberal Democrats have delivered a stronger economy and a fairer society and have anchored the UK government in the centre ground.
“I believe people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang have increasingly warmed to our message and I look forward to a solid result for the Liberal Democrats on Thursday.”
Labour Tom Greatrex
CISTA Yvonne MacLean
Conservative Taylor Muir
Candidates Liberal Democrat Tony Hughes and the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier
UKIP candidate Janice Mackay