Tories could have a strong bear­ing on the over­all out­come

Evening Times - - NEWS -

dealt with 8000 in­quiries. Ad­vice on debt was also is­sued on 2600 oc­ca­sions.

The area has a higher than av­er­age un­em­ploy­ment rate with a claimant count of 4.9%, com­pared to 3.1% in Scot­land.

Both Labour and the SNP have lost MPs in the seat un­der con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances.

David Mar­shall was the Labour MP since 1979, when the seat was called Shet­tle­ston, un­til he re­signed cit­ing ill health in 2008 spark­ing the now fa­mous by elec­tion.

Mr Mar­shall was also fac­ing scru­tiny over ex­penses when he re­signed, hav­ing claimed around half a mil­lion pounds in ex­penses over six years while his con­stituency of­fice was run from home by his wife.

Natalie McGarry won the seat for the SNP in 2015, but then re­signed from the party over a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties with the Women for In­de­pen­dence cam­paign and the lo­cal SNP as­so­ci­a­tion.

Ms McGarry later ad­mit­ted two charges of em­bez­zle­ment and was sen­tenced to 18 months.

The con­test again looks to be be­tween the SNP and Labour with both des­per­ate to win back vot­ers who de­serted.

The SNP need to win back enough of those it at­tracted in their thou­sands after the 2014 ref­er­en­dum but who didn’t vote in 2017.

David Lin­den is look­ing his slim ma­jor­ity won two years ago.

He is tar­get­ing the Tory wel­fare re­form agenda.

He said: “Peo­ple are fed up with the aus­ter­ity made worse with Uni­ver­sal Credit be­ing rolled out.”

Labour has to ap­peal to those who were con­sid­ered its core sup­port, when it won al­most 20,000 votes in 2010.

Labour can­di­date,

Kate to of in­crease 75,

Wat­son,

is also cam­paign­ing on aus­ter­ity but with both SNP and Tories in her sights.

She said: “The SNP has been in power for more than 10 years and passed on Tory cuts.”

There has been an di­men­sion to pol­i­tics east of Glas­gow since ref­er­en­dum.

At every vote since, at coun­cil, Holy­rood and West­min­ster there has been a grow­ing Con­ser­va­tive added in the the 2014 which has sur­prised many peo­ple.

The tribal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of union­ist or na­tion­al­ist has been no­tice­able in the east, maybe more so than in other ar­eas.

Where peo­ple stood in 2014 has been more of an iden­tity po­lit­i­cally than an at­tach­ment to any one party.

With the SNP be­ing the largest and dom­i­nant pro in­de­pen­dence party it has at­tracted that vote.

But ap­peal­ing to the strong­est No vote has been fer­tile ter­ri­tory for the Con­ser­va­tives, in ar­eas where pre­vi­ously they would not have been seen as a se­ri­ous op­tion.

The Tories had been vy­ing for the pro union vote with Labour post ref­er­en­dum and they have been suc­cess­ful.

It has had coun­cil­lors elected and in 2017 Thomas Kerr tripled the Tories’ vote share from two years ear­lier.

He may not have a re­al­is­tic chance of win­ning the seat but the num­ber of votes that goes to the Tories could have a strong bear­ing on the over­all out­come.

Mr Kerr said the party is cam­paign­ing on hav­ing no more ref­er­en­dums and re­spect­ing the re­sult of both 2014 and 2016 by leav­ing the EU and op­pos­ing a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

He said: “We are the only party that’s stand­ing up for democ­racy.”

The Lib­eral Democrats have fallen from hav­ing al­most 12% of the vote in 2005 to just 1.6% in 2017 at­tract­ing the sup­port of just 576 vot­ers.

The party has no rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Glas­gow at any level and is look­ing to be­come rel­e­vant again but fourth place is its likely des­ti­na­tion. It is hop­ing a clear mes­sage on Brexit and in­de­pen­dence will ap­peal to those who voted Re­main and No.

Can­di­date James Har­ri­son, said: “The Lib­eral Democrats are the only party that is clear on both.”

In an area with se­ri­ous de­pri­va­tion is­sues, long term un­em­ploy­ment and in­ter-gen­er­a­tional health in­equal­i­ties it could be con­sti­tu­tional is­sues and iden­tity pol­i­tics that is the de­ter­min­ing fac­tor.

How much the SNP can mo­bilise the huge Yes vote that turned out in 2015 will de­ter­mine whether David Lin­den can get the in­crease in votes he is likely to re­quire to keep the seat.

And how much of the pro union vote that Labour has un­doubt­edly lost to the Tories in the East End can be re­cov­ered will de­cide whether Kate Wat­son can close the nar­row gap that brought her close in 2017.

For the last decade Glas­gow East has been a fo­cus for many rea­sons. It will be one where can­di­dates and party agents are ner­vously watch­ing once more on Thurs­day night when the bal­lot boxes are emp­tied out.

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