Ruther­glen seat at the heart of Scot­tish pol­i­tics

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Two years ago Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West stood at the cen­tre of Scot­tish pol­i­tics.

At the gen­eral elec­tion in 2015, it was sup­posed to be one of the few places that would re­main loyal to Labour.

Pop­u­lar MP Tom Greatrex presided over the sec­ond largest ma­jor­ity in the coun­try and de­spite the SNP surge, not many out­with her own party thought Mar­garet Fer­rier could take the seat.

Fast-for­ward 25 months and there was a sim­i­lar, elec­tion-defin­ing re­sult.

Once again Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West would be the first Scot­tish seat to de­clare and once again it would pro­vide a snap­shot of what would fol­low.

Where no-one gave Mar­garet Fer­rier a chance two years ago, not many fan­cied Ger­ard Killen’s chances of win­ning the seat back for Labour, de­spite Labour throw­ing re­sources at the seat fol­low­ing last month’s coun­cil re­sults. But that is ex­actly what he did. Pol­i­tics is a funny old game. Mr Killen, who had ac­tu­ally pre­vi­ously beaten Ms Fer­rier in a coun­cil by-elec­tion, ac­tu­ally polled over 1,000 votes less than Tom Greatrex two years ago. His vote per­cent­age was just one bet­ter.

But the col­lapse in the SNP vote was clear. Down 15.5 per cent on 2015. The change in share of vote in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West for the three big­gest par­ties ac­tu­ally bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the over­all na­tional picture.

That in­cluded a much im­proved per­for­mance for the Con­ser­va­tives. It was the party’s best per­for­mance in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang since 1979 and they are now very much part of the po­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sion again lo­cally.

So we move for­ward into in­creas­ingly un­cer­tain po­lit­i­cal times. In fact, it is not be­yond the realms of pos­si­bil­ity that Ms Fer­rier may get the chance to win her seat back within the next year.

We con­grat­u­late Mr Killen on his elec­tion. We hope he will work in the in­ter­ests of all vot­ers across Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West.

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