LABOUR has seized outright control of a fifth Scottish council after victory in the South Lanarkshire ward of Rutherglen South last night.
The party’s Gerard Killen won the seat from the SNP who were beaten into third place, amid claims that the focus on independence has left the Nationalists “out of touch” with voters.
The by-election was called after SNP councillor Anne Higgins passed away last year. Labour’s victory means it now has majorities in South Lanarkshire, as well as Glasgow, Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, and West Dunbartonshire.
Labour whip James Kelly, the MSP for Rutherglen, said: “This is big blow to the SNP. We know that Alex Salmond and Nicola’s Sturgeon’s obsession with independence has left them out of touch with people in this community who are more concerned about jobs, living standards, health and education and believe Labour reflects their priorities.”
The Liberal Democrats vote rose 4.8% allowing the party to move into second place.
Party leader Willie Rennie said: “With the Liberal Democrat vote up and Labour, Tories and SNP all down this is good, solid progress for the Liberal Democrats.
“A 4.3% swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats shows that we are getting real votes in real elections and builds on the good result in Kirkintilloch just a few months ago. For the SNP to lose this seat they won last May will be a great disappointment for them.”