Candidates begin campaigning for Glasgow East by-election

Monday, July 7, 2008

In Scotland, candidates have begun campaigning for the Labour-held constituency of Glasgow East, at which a by-election is due to be held on July 24 on account of former MP David Marshall's resignation due to stress-related health problems. There are currently 7 candidates in the running to be elected for the Westminster seat. The deadline for nominations is on Wednesday, July 9.

The SNP, who lead a minority administration in the devolved Scottish Parliament, has attacked Labour for Glasgow East's citizens' average life expectancy being lower than the Gaza Strip's.

At the last general election in 2005, Labour won with 60.7% of the vote, holding a 13,507-vote majority over runners up the Scottish National Party (SNP), who gained 17%. However there were delays in their candidate selection process when the frontrunner, George Ryan, dropped out for family reasons. Their nomination consequently went to Margaret Curran, MSP for the Scottish Parliament seat of Glasgow Baillieston and health and wellbeing spokeswoman for the Labour Party's Scottish arm. Set to start campaigning on Tuesday, she said she is determined to fight poverty and expressed her confidence in the party, claiming that "Labour's fightback starts right here, right now."

UK newspaper The Independent has claimed that it has information from MPs and a senior member of the Labour government, which states that they will seek to replace prime minister Gordon Brown if the party do not win the by-election. Labour MP Ian Gibson, who held a majority of over 5,000 votes in his constituency of Norwich North told the paper that "the by-election in Glasgow is crucial. If he cannot win in his own backyard, things are desperate. I think he might go voluntarily."

Glasgow East by-election
Party Candidate
Scottish Socialists Frances Curran
Labour Margaret Curran
Scottish Greens Dr. Eileen Duke
Solidarity Tricia McLeish
Scottish Nationals John Mason
Conservative Davena Rankin
Liberal Democrat Ian Robertson

Scottish first minister and SNP party leader Alex Salmond began the party's campaign today alongside candidate John Mason, who is a councillor in the city. "There's a political earthquake on the way in Glasgow East," Mr. Salmond told reporters at a community centre in the constituency earlier, claiming that the area's below-average statistics were a "condemnation of 50 years of Labour Party representation and Labour Party failure". Mr. Mason also attacked Labour, saying that "Labour MPs are so out of touch they voted to increase tax by another 10p." He is basing the SNP campaign around acting on rising energy costs.

Scottish newspaper The Herald reported that the by-election is "expected to be a two-horse race between the Nationalists and Labour," but other parties have also been out campaigning:

The Liberal Democrat Party, third-place in 2005, have selected mathematics teacher Ian Robertson as their candidate. He will begin campaigning on Tuesday. Meanwhile the Conservatives, who came fourth at the general election with 6.7%, are aiming high, party leader David Cameron visiting the constituency today to launch his campaign which is themed on "social decay", and trying to "repair the damage" of Britain's "broken society". He said the party would solve problems like knife crime and poverty by "treating not just the symptoms, but the causes too."

Also vying for the seat are Solidarity, who selected council worker Tricia McLeish, the Scottish Socialist Party, with former MSP Frances Curran, whose campaign begins on Tuesday, and the Scottish Green Party whose Eileen Duke, a retired GP, will fight the election.


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