The result of the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election has shown “there is no part of this country that Labour cannot win”, the newly elected Scottish Labour MP has said.
Michael Shanks received a warm welcome on the main stage of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, less than a week after winning the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat.
He secured more than twice the votes of his SNP rival Katy Loudon.
Addressing the conference hall, Shanks said: “Our message is clear – this isn’t as good as it gets.
“Across the UK, Keir Starmer has changed our party so that people once again know that we are ready to serve them in government, and his relentless focus on delivering for working people offers a clear alternative to the chaos of the Tory Government.
“It’s time for change.
“That change can’t come fast enough, but one thing is clear from the results in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, there is no part of this country that Labour cannot win.”
Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray, who was the only Scottish Labour MP until last week, said about the by-election result: “We have shown now that we can defeat the cynical politics of nationalism.
“And we have shown that I was never going to be lonely forever.”
Also delivering a speech on the main stage, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “You know, there was a time when Labour feared elections in Scotland and the SNP relished them.
“No more. Scottish Labour, now the party focused on Scotland’s future. The SNP is focused on the past.
“Scottish Labour, the party that believes that Scotland’s best days lie ahead of it. The SNP talking down our country, with no hope for the future.
“So today it is the SNP and the Tories that fears elections. Meanwhile, Keir and I have just one message on behalf of our whole party – bring it on.”
The by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West was called after a recall petition against Margaret Ferrier, who had won the seat for the SNP in 2019 with a majority of 5,230.
Ms Ferrier however had the SNP whip removed after breaching Covid rules in 2020, and after remaining as an independent MP was suspended from the House of Commons, resulting in the recall petition – Scotland’s first for a sitting MP.
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