We couldn’t have done any more
Tom Greatrex reckons there wasn’t anything else he and his team could have done to prevent the SNP taking the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat last week.
Mr Greatrex was defending a majority of over 21,000, but even that proved inadequate in the face of an SNP surge that swept across Scotland.
He was one of the few Labour candidates who remained favourite to take his seat going into the general election, but in the end he lost out by over 9000 votes to Margaret Ferrier.
The 40-year-old also said he was disappointed Labour would not be able to implement their policies at Westminster.
He said:“When you look at the swings across the west of Scotland, it’s pretty clear they were all around the same level.
“There was not a peculiar result in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
“I don’t think there’s anything we could have done locally. I’m grateful and proud of the campaign. I spoke to almost a third of the electorate but they made their decision.
“Over the next few weeks there will be a lot of analysis. I’d just point to the fact that, in terms of policies, the SNP three weeks before the election adopted Labour policies.
“It wasn’t a problem with policy but obviously the problem was who people trusted to implement these policies. The irony now is that none of these policies will now be implemented.
“Any chance we had of them being implemented was with a Labour government.
“The fact is, and I’ve learned this over the past five years, you can make as many speeches, ask as many questions and identify and expose injustices, but when there is a majority against you, you will not win the vote.
“My disappointment is not for me personally, but that the opportunity to make the whole of the UK fairer, better and to have a more balanced approach has been lost.”
Mr Greatrex admitted he was concerned for the future of the UK, but said he didn’t regret the decision to campaign for a No vote in last year’s referendum.
He added:“This analysis that Labour were too left wing in England and too right wing in Scotland is flawed.
“What ultimately made the difference between having a Labour Government and a Conservative Government has been the way English nationalism was set against Scottish nationalism.
“It seems that worked as a tactic for the Conservative Party, but it was a dangerous approach that will have long-term implications for the rest of the UK.
“It put a great deal of attention between different parts of the county. It seems the Conservatives have decided to be the party for England and that’s very, very dangerous for the future of the UK and anyone who believes in solidarity and people across the UK working together.
“Some people I spoke to voted for me and Labour in 2010 but said they could not vote Labour because of the referendum, but if I had my time again I would still vote for Scotland to remain part of the UK. ”
The outgoing MP also refused to rule out a return to frontline politics, but said he wouldn’t be standing for Holyrood next year.
He said:“Locally, we have a very good MSP who will be standing next year and I will be doing whatever I can to support him. We have candidates selected for the next Scottish Parliament.
“As for me, I am doing the horrible business this week of making people redundant, then I am going to have a rest, recuperate and reconnect with my family. Whether I stand as a candidate again or support other candidates is not something I have thought too much about. It’s not just a decision for me either.”
All over Tom Greatrex, left, couldn’t hold on to his seat