Red flag is fly­ing high

Labour re­claim seat from SNP in night of shocks

Rutherglen Reformer - - General Election Special - Mur­ray Spooner

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

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