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13 November 2009

Labour cruises to victory in Glasgow by-election

Brown boosted as party hails emphatic victory over the SNP in Glasgow North East

By Staff Blogger

Labour is celebrating this morning after comfortably winning the Glasgow North East by-election and seeing off a Scottish National Party (SNP) challenge.

The party’s candidate, Willie Bain, won the seat with a majority of 8,111 over the SNP, a higher margin of a victory than expected.

The result is a significant blow for the SNP which has now lost two of the last three Scottish by-elections to Labour.

It is also damaging for the Conservatives, who only just beat the British National Party (BNP) into third place with 1,075 votes to the BNP’s 1,013.

The Liberal Democrats came sixth, behind the left-wing party Solidarity and its candidate, former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

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The turnout was lower than hoped at 33 per cent, a record low for a Scottish by-election.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of former Commons Speaker Michael Martin, who stood down in June after intense criticism of his handling of the expenses scandal.

Speaking after his election, Bain, who won 59.4 per cent of the vote, said: “Tonight the people have had their say. They’ve backed Gordon Brown and his efforts to secure our economic recovery. They’ve said a resounding no to Alex Salmond and his treatment of our great city, but also a resounding no to David Cameron. The people of our community haven’t forgotten the last recession. The message for the general election is clear: ‘Game on’.”

Jim Murphy, the Scottish secretary, said: “This is a humiliation for David Cameron; his face was on every Tory leaflet. They obviously thought he was an electoral asset.”

The defeated SNP candidate, David Kerr, told supporters: “Our message through the campaign was simple.

“For all the problems this constituency and this country face, our potential is far greater still.

“But it is a potential that will only be achieved through freedom.”
It emerged last night that police were investigating two alleged incidents of voting fraud in the contest.

Council chiefs said the the investigation involved three ballot papers-two cast at a polling station in Dennistoun area and another cast at another polling station in the area.

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