GORDON Brown joined the Labour campaign trail yesterday in support of former aide Alex Rowley who is the party’s candidate for this month’s Cowdenbeath by-election.
The former prime minister, whose Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat covers much of the Holyrood constituency, took part in a number of events yesterday with wife Sarah.
The by-election will be held on 23 January and comes after the death of Labour’s Helen Eadie.
Rowley said yesterday: “I’m delighted that Gordon joined me on the campaign trail.
“We’ve been campaigning hard since the by-election started and we’re receiving very positive feedback on the doorsteps.
“We will be speaking to the people of Cowdenbeath about the issues of importance to them – the cost of living crisis, protecting the vital services for our older people, providing more job and training opportunities for our young people.
“Importantly, we will also be arguing against the SNP’s plans to break up Britain which will have a particular impact in this constituency with the thousands of shipbuilding jobs in Rosyth which are dependent upon UK defence contracts.”
Rowley is the council leader in Fife and nationalists attempted to seize on comments he made for an in-house council video where he indicated that raising the council tax could be an option for some cash-strapped councils, although he ruled this out in Fife.
SNP candidate Natalie McGarry said: “The council tax freeze delivers significant help in these difficult times and is overwhelmingly backed by people in Scotland. Labour is all over the place on the Council Tax freeze – they just won a by-election in Dunfermline on a pledge to support it, yet the leader of the council in Fife is clearly against it.”
She added: “My pledge to people in this constituency is that if elected I will use my vote to ensure that the council tax freeze continues.”
The main parties are expected to formally launch their campaigns this week. Labour is widely expected to hold the seat. Seven candidates will contest the by-election. Conservative Dave Dempsey, Liberal Democrat Jade Holden, Stuart Graham (The Victims’ Final Right Party), Ukip’s Denise Bykal and James Trolland of the Scottish Democratic Alliance are also standing.