Labour hails 'seismic' Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election win over SNP with a huge majority of 9,446

The party saw a swing of more than 20 per cent from the SNP

Michael Shanks from Scottish Labour has overwhelmingly won the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election after the party recorded a huge 20 per cent swing from the SNP.

Mr Shanks won with 17,845 votes, with the SNP’s Katy Loudon second on 8,399. The Tories lost their deposit, with Thomas Kerr finishing on 1,192. Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate Gloria Adebo and Scottish Green Party candidate Cameron Eadie secured 895 and 601 votes respectively.

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Scottish Labour says the win shows they are a “serious force” once again in Scottish politics, as they double the number of MPs they have in Westminster from one to two.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “This is a seismic result. People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West have sent a clear message – it is time for change. And it is clear they believe that this changed Labour Party can deliver it.

“I have always said that winning back the trust of people in Scotland is essential. Tonight’s victory is the culmination of three and a half years of hard work and humility on that journey. I am grateful to everyone who has put their faith in us today – we will work every day to repay it.

“Voters across Scotland and across Britain want a government determined to deliver for working people, with a proper plan to rebuild our country. They want to move on from two SNP and Tory governments that offer only more division, more chaos and more infighting.

“The country deserves a government firmly on their side and focused on their priorities – and Labour will deliver that for them.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar with Michael Shanks at the count. Picture: Lisa FergusonScottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar with Michael Shanks at the count. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar with Michael Shanks at the count. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The turn-out was particularly low at just 30,531, only 37.19 per cent of the eligible electorate.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar thanked everyone who had voted for Mr Shanks and said: “We will not let you down - this is just the start of building something special for our country.”

The loss of the seat to Labour will put further pressure on First Minister Humza Yousaf – who has seen his party’s fortunes decline in the polls in the wake of the ongoing police investigation in SNP finances.

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With the seat having changed hands between Labour and the SNP in the last four Westminster elections, Margaret Ferrier won it for the SNP in 2019, with a majority of 5,230 over Labour at that ballot

SNP Candidate Katy Loudon. Picture: Lisa FergusonSNP Candidate Katy Loudon. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
SNP Candidate Katy Loudon. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

But she was suspended from the House of Commons for a breach of Covid rules which saw her take the train from London to Scotland after testing positive for the virus in 2020.

Ms Ferrier had the SNP whip removed swiftly in the wake of that, and was later suspended from the House of Commons – with that sparking the recall petition which forced Thursday’s byelection vote.

Mr Yousaf, who made frequent visits to the constituency during the election campaign, stressed his party was facing “some very difficult circumstances”. But he said the buck would stop from him if his party failed to hold on to the seat.

Mr Shanks said afterwards it was the “honour of his life” to be elected as MP for the area.

Mr Sarwar posted on X, previously known as Twitter: “What a result! Congratulations to Labour’s newest MP-@MGShanks. He will be a great servant of his community. To everyone who helped make this happen- the Labour family & the families of Rutherglen & Hamilton W- thank you! We will deliver the change our country so deeply needs.

“This seismic result shows Scottish politics has changed. Scots are tired of two tired, failing and incompetent governments. Scottish Labour is now the party of change and tonight demonstrates Scotland will lead the way in delivering a Labour Government.”

Mr Yousaf posted on X: “A disappointing night for the SNP. I want to thank our exceptional candidate @KatyLoudonSNP and our activists for their incredible efforts. Let me also congratulate Michael Shanks on being elected. Circumstances of this by-election were always very difficult for us.

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“Collapse in the Tory vote, which went straight to Labour, also a significant factor. We lost this seat in 2017, and like 2019 we can win this seat back. However, we will reflect on what we have to do to regain the trust of the people of Rutherglen & Hamilton West.”


Michael Shanks (Lab) 17,845 (58.55%, +24.08%)

Katy Loudon (SNP) 8,399 (27.56%, -16.64%)

Thomas Kerr (C) 1,192 (3.91%, -11.06%)

Gloria Adebo (LD) 895 (2.94%, -2.25%)

Cameron Eadie (Green) 601 (1.97%)

David Stark (Reform) 403 (1.32%)

Niall Fraser (Scot Family) 319 (1.05%)

Bill Bonnar (SSP) 271 (0.89%)

Colette Walker (IFS) 207 (0.68%)

Christopher Sermanni (TUSC) 178 (0.58%)

Andrew Daly (Ind) 81 (0.27%)

Ewan Hoyle (Volt) 46 (0.15%)

Emperor of India Prince Ankit Love (ND) 34 (0.11%)

Garry Cooke (ND) 6 (0.02%)

Lab maj 9,446 (30.99%)

20.36% swing SNP to Lab

Electorate 82,104; Turnout 30,477 (37.12%, -29.36%)

2019: SNP maj 5,230 (9.72%) – Turnout 53,794 (66.48%)

Ferrier (SNP) 23,775 (44.20%); Killen (Lab Co-op) 18,545 (34.47%);

Nailon (C) 8,054 (14.97%); McGeever (LD) 2,791 (5.19%); Mackay (UKIP)

629 (1.17%)



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