No SNP or Tory seat safe from Labour after by-election win, says Baillie

The Scottish Labour deputy leader said her party is 'surging' after overturning a 20,000 Tory majority.

No Scottish seat safe from Labour after Ainsty by-election win, says Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie MSP

No SNP or Tory seat will be safe from Labour after the party overturned a 20,000 majority at a by-election on Thursday, Jackie Baillie has said.

The Scottish Labour deputy leader said the result in the consistency of Selby and Ainsty showed voters in the UK are “crying out for change”.

The party won the former Tory stronghold on Thursday but failed to win Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip consistency where it lost by less than 500 votes.

She said the SNP would be watching the result in fear.

She said: “This remarkable victory shows that change is coming to Britain and no Tory or SNP seat is safe from the Labour surge.

“The people of Britain are crying out for change and it is the Labour Party that will deliver it.

“While the Tories try to spin dismal failure into victory and the SNP look on in fear of a Labour resurgence, Labour is getting to work to gain the trust and support of working people.

“From the cost of living crisis to the jobs of the future, it is only the Labour Party that has a plan for this country.”

Across the three by-elections which were held, the Tories lost two with Liberal Democrat Sarah Dyke overturning a Conservative majority of 19,000 in Somerton and Frome.

Despite the losses though, Craig Hoy said the next election – expected sometime next year – is not a foregone conclusion.

The Scottish Tory chairman said: “I don’t think the next election is lost. The Prime Minister set out key pledges and he’s delivering on them.”

He said the election will also be fought against a different background in Scotland where polls suggest the SNP’s grip may be slipping following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon along with her arrest and that of her husband Peter Murrell – the former party chief executive – and the then treasurer Colin Beattie.

All three were released without charge, pending further investigation.

“In one of the most recent by-elections in East Kilbride, for example, our vote was up, the SNP vote was down significantly,” he said.

The East Kilbride West council by-election, fought earlier this month, was won by Labour candidate Kirsty Williams, with the party’s vote increasing by 13.7%, while the Tories moved into second with a 6.3% jump in their share and the SNP lost the seat, along with 8.3% of its vote compared to last year.

“In the seats that we hold, or the seats that we’re targeting, it’ll be a straight choice between the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate and the SNP, there’ll be a very different dynamic at the next general election in Scotland,” Hoy added.

If the party is able to “get our message out there” and “fight a positive general election campaign” on local issues, Hoy said: “I don’t think we will see those kinds of results here in Scotland.”

Scottish Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said the by-elections were a “disappointing night” for both the Tories and Labour.

“The Conservatives have lost two seats in their heartlands area, the Labour Party were widely expected, widely tipped and accepted the fact they would probably take Boris Johnson’s seat but have missed out,” he said.

“The next general election is going to be about delivering change.

“We want to see the back of the Conservative Government, but Keir Starmer over the last short while, has been making U-turn after U-turn, most noticeably recently on social security where he accepted the Tory policy of the brutal two-child policy and rape clause, so we know now the only way of delivering real change at the next election is through the SNP and, thereafter, independence.”

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