Glasgow East by-election: Parties clash over crime as Lib Dem leader arrives in town

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THE SNP and Labour today clashed over law and order in the Glasgow East by-election campaign.

Liberal leader Nick Clegg also hit the campaign trail in Glasgow East where nominations close later today.

Labour candidate Margaret Curran was today announcing a "safer street action plan".

But the SNP got in before her, claiming "early and effective" action taken by the Nationalist administration in Holyrood had helped cut crime.

The Nationalists said crime had fallen by up to 24% in the constituency, and called for Labour to back action to tackle the problem of airguns and reduce access to cheap drink.

They also highlighted plans for recruiting an extra 1,000 police in Scotland.

SNP candidate John Mason said: "The SNP has a record of success in this constituency after only 12 months in government in training more police for our streets, tackling the gangs, reducing knife crime, and bringing forward radical proposals to target the cheap booze culture that fuels much of the violence in our communities.

"In the East End there has been a real improvement over recent months as funding for work to tackle the gang culture makes its way on to the streets, providing young people with alternatives to crime and breaking barriers between gangs.

Nick Clegg is joining his party's candidate, maths teacher Ian Robertson, on a visit to a Scottish Gas training centre.

The by-election is due to take place in just over a fortnight in one of the safest Labour seats in the country after the party's David Marshall stood down due to health reasons.

Labour holds a 13,500 majority over the Nationalists.

Ms Curran is the MSP for Glasgow Baillieston and was adopted as the party's candidate for the Westminster seat after the previous front-runner, George Ryan, pulled out citing family reasons.

Nationalist rival Mr Mason will officially submit his nomination papers at Glasgow City Chambers before nominations close later today.

Jimmy Reid, prominent leader of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in of the 1970s, will later join Mr Mason at the Steam Hammer monument on Shettleston Road.

Tory leader Annabel Goldie will also be out campaigning in the Baillieston area of the constituency.