Labour hail by-election wins as SNP beaten by obscure Unionist party

Winning candidate Clare Quigley with MSP Richard Leonard. Picture: Contributed/Airdrie and Shotts Labour
Winning candidate Clare Quigley with MSP Richard Leonard. Picture: Contributed/Airdrie and Shotts Labour
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Scottish Labour politicians have lauded their results in a pair of local by-elections that took place yesterday, including one in which the SNP was beaten into third place by an obscure unionist party.

The party, which is in the process of selecting a new leader following the departure of Kezia Dugdale, held a Glasgow City Council seat in Cardonald and gained a seat in Fortissat, North Lanarkshire.

The by-election was trigerred following controversy over ‘ghost councillor’ Sandy Thornton, a Conservative who suffered from chronic illness and refused to take up his seat after a surprise win in May.

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Labour’s Clare Quigley won with 38.5 per cent of First Preference votes, while the SNP were beaten into third, receiving 20.6 per cent of the votes compared to 23.3 for little-known “A Better Britain - Unionist Party”.

In Glasgow, Labour held the seat initially won by long-serving councillor Alistair Watson, who died in June.

Their candidate Jim Kavanagh won 48.6 per cent of the first preference votes, with the SNP in second on 36.7 per cent, a drop of 7.5 per cent for Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

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Labour MSP Neil Findlay tweeted: “Delighted for Claire Quigley winning her seat at the Fortissat by election she was a brilliant candidate.”

Local SNP MP Neil Gray said: “Labour pick up Fortissat seat abandoned by Tories. Gutted for Mags Murphy, who would have been brilliant, but congrats to Clare Quigley.”

Labour leadership contender Anas Sarwar posted: “Great result in the Cardonald by-election. Well done @JimKavanagh2017. Labour fightback in Glasgow!!”

Commenting on the double victory, he said: “Scottish Labour’s fightback has continued with these fantastic results.

“Congratulations to Clare Quigley and Jim Kavanagh who will be dedicated champions for their local communities.

“Our activists worked tirelessly to spread our message, whatever the weather, and I would like to thank them for their incredible efforts.

“Scottish Labour’s vision for a Scotland that works for the many is resonating across the country. Voters are turning their backs on the SNP, fed up with a party that has failed our local communities following a decade of division.

“Our mission now is to return Labour to power in town and city halls, in Holyrood, and in Westminster, to ensure that our values are at the heart of Scotland’s future.”

SNP Minister Humza Yousaf tweeted: “Labour hold their seat in Cardonald. Dissapointed but v proud of campaign team & fabulous candidate @Mr_Mitchell who put in so much graft”