Rutherglen seat at the heart of Scottish politics
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.