Seat is up for grabs say Labour

Kezia launches cam­paign

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special - Dou­glas Dickie

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

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