Labour hails ‘stunning’ poll win
Friday 11th October 2013, 5:21PM BST.
The SNP has lost council representation in a Glasgow ward following a Labour by-election victory.
John Kane was elected in Govan in a contest triggered by the death of Alison Hunter, a former SNP group leader in the city.
Labour said its victory is a strong message to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose Holyrood seat takes in part of the ward.
Scottish Labour deputy leader and local MP Anas Sarwar said: “Govan has elected a great new councillor in John Kane and I am delighted the hard work he has put in over the last few weeks with the Labour team has achieved this stunning result.
“I am proud that so many people turned out to support Labour in this key area in Scottish politics and delivered us our first-ever by-election win in Govan.
“This is a devastating result for Nicola Sturgeon. This isn’t just in her backyard, it’s her front room.
“By ensuring that the SNP has no representation in Govan in the council, the people of this area have sent Nicola Sturgeon and the nationalists a strong message: stop obsessing about separation and start putting the interests of the people of Scotland first.”
The election, held under the single transferable vote system, was contested by 14 people, including SNP candidate Helen Walker.
Labour secured 2,055 first-preference votes compared with 1,424 for the SNP candidate. Mr Kane was elected at the 13th stage. Turnout was just 20%.
Labour c ouncillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “There’s no way the SNP can spin their way out of this dramatic result.
“What odds would the bookies have given a year ago on the Govan ward being SNP-free? With less than 12 months until the referendum, support for the nationalists has slumped in Glasgow.”
An SNP spokesman said: “In 2012, the Labour vote was split between official Labour candidates and rebel Labour candidates because of their internal fighting, which enabled the SNP to just beat Labour in first preferences by a handful of votes.
“This time round, while the SNP vote held up above 30% in first preferences, there was no rebel Labour candidate and therefore that vote reverted to Labour.
“Hopefully turn out in future will be above the disappointing 20% in the by-election. The late Allison Hunter will be a hard act to follow and we wish councillor Kane well.”
Meanwhile, the Conservatives recorded an increase in their vote share while holding the Tweeddale West seat in a separate by-election in the Borders.
Local businessman Keith Cockburn received 42.7% of the votes compared to 24.7% in 2012.
The Liberal Democrat and SNP votes fell by about half compared to the previous election.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: ” This is a fantastic result for the Scottish Conservatives, to not just hold the seat but to see such a big swing in support to our party.”