James Kelly MSP has been unanimously selected as the Labour candidate for Rutherglen at next year’s Scottish election.
Mr Kelly has represented the area since 2007 and will go up against Clare Haughey of the SNP with a narrow majority of under 2000.
James Kelly MSP has been unanimously reselected by Scottish Labour members to fight the Rutherglen seat at next year’s Scottish election.
The 51-year-old is defending a slender majority of 1779 over the SNP.
He was first elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent the area in 2007 and was returned again in 2011.
Prior to entering public office, Mr Kelly worked as a Business Analyst in the electricity industry.
He lives in Cambuslang with his wife and two daughters.
During his time as an MSP, he has taken on over 8,000 cases from constituents, ranging from housing matters, to complaints about medical treatment, as well as petitions and campaigns.
He is currently Scottish Labour’s Business Manager having previously acted as chief whip and Labour’s spokesperson on community safety and infrastructure, investment and cities strategy.
Last year he co-chaired Jim Murphy’s bid for leadership of Scottish Labour and has been earmarked to play a key role in Labour’s campaign for Holyrood in 2016.
Speaking after his reselection, Mr Kelly said: “It is an honour to serve the local people of my area and represent the communities I grew up in and have lived my whole life, and I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to do it again.
“I’m looking forward to leading a positive, open campaign, centred around local issues which matter to the people of Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
“There has been a real buzz in the party under our new leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale - and I’ll be putting Labour’s values at the heart of the campaign.
“I have a track record of campaigning on the issues which affect my constituents: from saving bus services, to fighting for more GPs for the area, and calling on companies to pay workers a decent wage, I am passionate about standing up for the people of Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
“Next year, Scottish Labour must be effective in calling out the Scottish Government’s failings: on NHS funding, appalling education attainment levels, and cuts to councils across the country – but also provide a positive alternative.
“While the SNP government in Edinburgh polls well as a party, their policies do not.
“I’m confident that with a strong manifesto, the people of Scotland will place their trust in Labour’s vision.”
Mr Kelly will face stiff competition from the SNP’s Clare Haughey, who recently accused her opponent of taking the area for granted.
The SNP overturned a huge majority to take Rutherglen and Hamilton West from Labour in May’s general election and will be the favourites to make it a double in Rutherglen and Cambuslang come next May.
Also confirmed as standing is Taylor Muir for the Scottish Conservatives.
Mr Kelly won with 46.1 per cent of the vote in 2011 from a turnout of 47.7 per cent.
There has been a real buzz in the party under our new leadership
Candidate James Kelly MSP