Boost for Kelly

But SNP close the gap in con­stituency

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly re­ceived a boost last week when Labour won a coun­cil by-elec­tion in Blan­tyre.

Mo Raz­zaq held on to the seat for Labour, gain­ing 47 per cent of first pref­er­ence votes.

The by-elec­tion was called fol­low­ing the death of Labour coun­cil­lor Jim Handi­bode.

Blan­tyre makes up part of the Ruther­glen con­stituency in Scot­tish elec­tions, and the SNP had been big favourites to take the seat fol­low­ing their big win in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton Westin May

Mr Raz­zaq’s vic­tory will give the in­cum­bent hope that he can fend off the chal­lenge of the SNP’s Clare Haughey

How­ever, there was rea­son for the SNP to cheer as the re­sult rep­re­sented a swing of eight per cent from Labour to the SNP. A sim­i­lar swing across the con­stituency would see them take the seat.

First-count vot­ing was: Lab 1476, SNP 1236, Con­ser­va­tive 140, SSP 122, Lib­eral Demo­crat 92, Ukip 59.

Mr Kelly told the Re­former the re­sult rep­re­sented sig­nif­i­cant in­roads in Labour’s at­tempts to stage a fight back af­ter a mis­er­able 2015.

He said: “I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted that the peo­ple of Blan­tyre have elected Mo Raz­zaq as a Labour coun­cil­lor.

“In terms of next year’s Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tion, this re­sult rep­re­sents a boost to Labour’s chances. I recog­nise that we still have a big fight on our hands, but I will be con­tin­u­ing to cam­paign on is­sues that mat­ter to lo­cal peo­ple like good hous­ing, the liv­ing wage and a strong NHS.

“I will be work­ing flat out from now un­til polling day to se­cure a Labour vic­tory in the con­stituency.”

The SNP can­di­date was also happy af­ter the re­sult, with Labour’s lead in the con­stituency cut sig­nif­i­cantly. Ms Haughey said: “Firstly I would like to con­grat­u­late Coun­cil­lor Raz­zaq on his elec­tion.

“The SNP can take many pos­i­tives from the by elec­tion. Our vote was up by nine per cent while the Labour vote fell by seven per cent.

“Thurs­day’s poll gave the high­est per­cent­age of votes SNP have had in a coun­cil elec­tion in Blan­tyre. It is also worth not­ing that the Labour can­di­date re­lied on pref­er­ences from both the Con­ser­va­tive Party and UKIP to win.

“I will con­tinue to work hard to se­cure the votes of the elec­torate across the Ruther­glen con­stituency in next May’s Scot­tish Par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.”

Mean­while, James Kelly also spoke about MSP’s pay rise of 2.7 per cent which was con­firmed last week.

He said: “We changed last year to break the link be­tween and MSP’s pay and an MP’s pay so we didn’t get a mas­sive rise. Our pay was then linked to the av­er­age across the pub­lic sec­tor and that was ab­so­lutely the right thing to do.

“The rise that has been awarded is in line with that.”

Vic­tory The Labour team cel­e­brate af­ter their win

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