Seat is up for grabs say Labour
Kezia launches campaign
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat is up for grabs on June 8 according to Scottish Labour, who launched their General Election campaign in the Royal Burgh on Monday.
Margaret Ferrier is defending the seat with a massive 17.3 per cent majority having won it from Tom Greatrex just two years ago.
But Labour claim the results of last week’s council elections has given them real hope of taking the seat.
The percentage share of first preference votes in the constituency last Thursday saw the SNP on 38.2 per cent and Labour on 31.4 per cent.
Labour strategists will now target Conservative and Lib Dem council voters in this election.
Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale chose Rutherglen Main Street to launch her campaign with candidate Gerard Killen.
However, the bookies do not fancy Labour’s chances, quoting the SNP at an average of 1/50 to win the seat.
Three candidates standing won seats in last week’s vote. As well as Mr Killen, Ann Le Blond will contest the seat for the Conservatives while Robert Brown will stand for the Liberal Democrats.
UKIP are also standing a candidate, Caroline Santos.
Margaret Ferrier also launched her campaign on Monday and pointed to figures that said she had spoken more times at Westminster in two years than her predecessor did in five.
She said: “I’ve been getting on with the day job, debating key issues that people have contacted me about as well as directly raising constituent cases to help get problems resolved for them; and provided strong opposition to the Tories and their pernicious policies.
“I promised to be a strong voice for Rutherglen and Hamilton West during my election campaign in 2015, and I have delivered.”
Launching Labour’s campaign in Rutherglen, Kezia Dugdale gave Gerard Killen her backing.
She said: “In Rutherglen and Hamilton West it’s a two horse race between Labour and the SNP – and it’s a race Labour can win on June 8.
“Rutherglen and Hamilton West needs a Labour MP like Ged Killen who will fight for jobs and better living standards, like a £10 minimum wage – rather than an SNP MP who will just fight for a second independence referendum Scots don’t want.”
The Conservatives finished third in 2015 and saw their vote share drop by 2.1 per cent but they will have been buoyed by the local elections where they picked up a seat in both Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
Candidate Ann Le Blond said: “I am looking forward to the campaign and getting out to meet the voters. I want to show them that the Scottish Conservative and Unionists can be a strong voice in Westminster and that the SNP don’t speak for the whole of Scotland.”
It was a miserable election in 2015 for the Liberal Democrats, who slipped to fifth behind UKIP and lost more than 10 per cent of their vote. But they also saw an increase in vote last week and with Robert Brown standing they will be confident of a recovery.
Mr Brown said: “We stand full-square for Scotland in the United Kingdom and Britain in Europe.
“It is time to send a message to both Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon that Rutherglen and Cambuslang do not want to be dragged out of either the United Kingdom or the European Union.”
Back in the game Labour candidate Gerard Killen enjoys a walk down Rutherglen Main Street with Kezia Dugdale, who insists her party can win in the constituency
Defending Margaret Ferrier is hoping to defend the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat for the SNP