Red flag is flying high
Labour reclaim seat from SNP in night of shocks
Rutherglen and Hamilton West set the tone for the nation with the shock of Gerard Killen narrowly ousting the SNP – showing the 2015 election was only a blip in the Labour stronghold.
The Labour candidate became the area’s new MP in a seat traditionally pinned with a red rosette after gaining 19,101 votes.
Mr Killen, who managed to overturn a 17.3 per cent majority held by the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier, was beaming with pride when the result was announced shortly after 1am on June 9 at East Kilbride’s John Wright Sports Centre.
The seat was also the first to be declared in Scotland on a successful night for the Scottish Labour party who took back six seats from the SNP.
On a night where 50,929 votes were cast, a turnout of 63.6 per cent, Mr Killen was loudly cheered and applauded as he left the stage
before speaking to the Reformer about his win.
Mr Killen thanked his “amazing team” as well as his husband, family and MSPs James Kelly and Monica Lennon for their support in his campaign.
“This result is a rejection of austerity and a rejection of a divisive second independence referendum,” he said.
“Above all this result is a vote for a progressive manifesto and a fresh start for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
“I am well aware that it was a coalition of voters who elected me here this morning. People who have always voted Labour, people who are lending Labour their vote and people who are giving Labour another chance with fresh hope.”
Ms Ferrier had a despondent look while the result was read out.
The former MP for the constituency scooped 18,836 votes, 11,443 less than her win two years previously.
Ms Ferrier, who was the first woman to represent Rutherglen and Hamilton West at Westminster, said: “I am disappointed. Disappointed for all of our activists who were involved in my campaign because they put in a power of work. We thought we had done enough to win.
“I’d like to thank everyone who went out and voted for me because I know it was a dreadful day weather wise.
“It was probably a slight shock but I would say it was the Corbyn factor. I think Labour managed to pick up votes here because of the performance of Jeremy Corbyn over the last couple of weeks.
“It reflects on the bad performance of Theresa May that he has come out far better than her in TV debates and been more accessible to the general public.”
Ms Ferrier was not sure what the future would hold for Rutherglen and Cambuslang following the election, but added: “I’ll be watching closely to see the reaction of the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West over the next few months, if there are any changes.”
“But the votes have been cast and you can’t change it. I’ve really enjoyed being the MP and it’s been an absolute honour and a privilege to have held that position for the past two years.”
The Scottish Conservatives were also celebrating, gaining more votes in the constituency than ever expected.
Candidate Ann LeBlond claimed 9941 votes, more than double what her colleague Taylor Muir received in 2015.
She said: “It was a great night for the Scottish Conservatives, I’m really pleased. We doubled the vote on two years ago and I hope that is off the back of the local elections.
“I think now people see there is a strong Conservative voice in their constituency. People in the past thought it wasn’t worth coming out, but with our recent results in getting 14 members into the council, I think people now know they actually have a voice.
“I enjoyed the process and I’m looking forward to continuing my duties as a councillor. I think Gerard will be a great MP because he knows the area by working as councillor and knows the grassroots issues.”
This result is a rejection of austerity and a rejection of a divisive second independence referendum Gerard Killen MP
Historic night Labour’s Gerard Killen has his hand raised aloft as the result is read out
Triumph Labour regain Rutherglen and Hamilton West