Speaker's old seat without an MP 'for a record time'
THE constituency of former House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin will be left without an MP for a record length of time, Nationalists have claimed.
Anne McLaughlin MSP has lodged a Holyrood motion criticising the looming four-month gap between Mr Martin quitting as MP for Glasgow North East and a by-election being held.
Labour opted against a summer by-election over concerns that many voters would be away.
But this means there will be a gap of 114 days between Mr Martin standing down and the writ being moved for a by-election.
The SNP claims that in records going back to 1979 the longest previous delay was 113 days, when South Antrim MP Clifford Forsythe died in 2000.
SNP campaign co-ordinator Stewart Hosie MP said: "With this record-beating delay, Labour are putting politics before people."
Meanwhile, Labour yesterday called on justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to step in to the row over the Glasgow North East SNP candidate David Kerr, a former TV journalist, over his wielding of a replica airgun in Springburn shopping centre when filming part of a BBC news report.
Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker has asked Mr MacAskill to explain reports the incident had been described as "harmless" by the Nationalists.
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