Elec­tion­time

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Vot­ers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang will to­mor­row, Thurs­day, get their say on the make up of the new South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

With polls open­ing at 7am, the main par­ties made a fi­nal plea for votes.

Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang’s 29 coun­cil can­di­dates have made a fi­nal plea for votes with just hours un­til the polls open in the 2017 elec­tion.

Vot­ers in the two towns will to­mor­row, Thurs­day, se­lect 12 mem­bers split over four wards to rep­re­sent them at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

Us­ing a sin­gle trans­fer­able vote sys­tem, a party will need 33 coun­cil­lors across the re­gion to gain over­all con­trol.

The SNP used the fi­nal days of cam­paign­ing to ac­cuse Labour, who are only field­ing 32 can­di­dates, of plot­ting a deal with the Con­ser­va­tives to re­tain con­trol of the coun­cil.

A joint state­ment from the SNP’s seven can­di­dates in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, said: “The Tory party is mov­ing fur­ther and fur­ther to the right, and it would be reck­less to do any­thing that risked putting hard line Tories in charge of our schools, so­cial care and lo­cal hous­ing.

“Labour in South La­nark­shire are not even putting up enough can­di­dates to win a ma­jor­ity on the coun­cil.

“They are re­ly­ing on a deal with the Tories to have any chance of re­tain­ing power.

“The peo­ple of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang, and across South La­nark­shire, have a right to know whether lo­cal Labour can­di­dates are for or against a coali­tion with the Tories come May 5.”

Ger­ard Killen, who is stand­ing for Labour in the Ruther­glen Cen­tral and North ward, said: “Th­ese are ironic com­ments from the SNP who have spent the last 10 years in govern­ment slash­ing South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s fund­ing.

“Maybe they are start­ing to hear how frus­trated vot­ers are with their spin about pro­tect­ing public ser­vices, while their track record shows that they con­tinue to pass down Tory aus­ter­ity, preside over a health ser­vice in cri­sis and an abysmal record on ed­u­ca­tion.

“It’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear that vot­ers just don’t trust the SNP’s record on schools, the NHS or the econ­omy.”

Cam­bus­lang West and Ruther­glen Cen­tral and North look to be key battlegrounds. Only Mar­garet Walker is stand­ing for Labour in Cam­bus­lang West and both the Lib­eral Democrats and Con­ser­va­tives are fight­ing hard in the ward.

“With Ed­die McAvoy stand­ing down, all three seats in Ruther­glen Cen­tral and North could be up for grabs.

The Lib­eral Democrats will also be con­fi­dent of see­ing Robert Brown re­turned in Ruther­glen South.

Mr Brown said: “This is the most in­ten­sive cam­paign we have run for some time but it seems to be pay­ing off for us. We have talked to lit­er­ally thou­sands of lo­cal peo­ple.

“The choice lo­cally is clearly be­tween a Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lor stand­ing up for Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang or an SNP coun­cil­lor chas­ing another in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.”

Both the Con­ser­va­tives and Greens will be hop­ing to make gains in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang.

Tay­lor Muir, who is stand­ing for the Con­ser­va­tives in Ruther­glen South, said: “With the Labour Party in freefall, vot­ers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang have a clear choice.

“They can elect an SNP coun­cil­lor who will cam­paign for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum and who will pur­sue sepa­ra­tion at all costs, or a lo­cal Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive and Union­ist can­di­date who will pri­ori­tise grow­ing our lo­cal econ­omy and im­prov­ing ser­vices in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

David McCle­mont, the Green can­di­date for Cam­bus­lang West, said: “Greens at coun­cil level are fight­ing hard to re­vi­talise lo­cal democ­racy, push­ing for ev­ery com­mu­nity to have a say in coun­cil bud­gets and for coun­cils to have the pow­ers other Euro­pean towns and cities take for granted.

“While some other par­ties are shame­fully treat­ing the coun­cil elec­tions as a proxy for con­sti­tu­tional is­sues, Greens are clear that lo­cal ser­vices mat­ter. Com­mu­ni­ties should be trusted to de­cide their fu­ture, and that lo­cal democ­racy is worth fight­ing for.”

Count The votes will be tal­lied up at the John Wright Sports Cen­tre in East Kilbride on Fri­day

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