A win for Labour in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election will put the SNP and Conservatives “on notice”, the shadow Scottish secretary has said.
The vote, called after former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier was removed from the seat following a recall petition – is due to take place on October 5.
With Labour riding high in UK-wide polls in recent months, the party’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray said a win in the South Lanarkshire seat would send a message to governments north and south of the border.
Murray said: “Today, postal votes are passing through letterboxes across Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
“After years of being failed and left without proper representation, this is a chance for a fresh start and proper representation with Scottish Labour’s Michael Shanks.
“By voting for change with Scottish Labour, the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West can put both of our failing governments – SNP and Tory – on notice.
“This is an election where every vote matters – and the scandal ridden SNP and morally bankrupt Tories want you to back the status quo.
“Scottish Labour has a plan to put money back into the pockets of working people, to make work pay and to deliver real relief during a cost-of-living crisis.
“While the Tories crash the economy and the SNP run our public services into the ground, Labour stands for a fresh start and new hope for Scotland.”
Labour candidate Shanks and SNP hopeful Katy Loudon are seen as the front-runners to take the seat, with both parties throwing substantial campaigning resources at the by-election, including numerous visits from well-known figures.
Loudon has said voters in the seat will have the chance to “demand the cost-of-living support they deserve”.
She added: “We are almost a year on since the Tories’ Liz Truss crashed the economy – and the only thing on offer from Labour is more of the same. They have no real plan to help people with Westminster’s cost-of-living crisis.
“The two Westminster parties are aligned on Brexit, sky-high tuition fees, austerity and tax plans.
“Asking people to vote for you when the only thing you have to offer is the Tory status quo is quite frankly an insult. Labour are taking the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West for granted – as they did with Scotland for years.
“Meanwhile, the SNP Scottish Government are bringing in policies to put money in people’s pockets and SNP parliamentarians are fighting for cost-of-living support from Westminster such as mortgage tax relief and reinstating the £400 energy rebate – both of which Labour have failed to support.
“Labour have U-turned on a bunch of progressive policies, proving any Labour MP can’t be trusted. Only the SNP offers Rutherglen and Hamilton West a real alternative to Westminster’s cost-of-living crisis and austerity agenda.”
Loudon was campaigning with the party’s deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black on Wednesday, after Black wrote an open letter to young people in the seat to back her party.
Thomas Kerr, the Scottish Conservative candidate in the seat, said: “Labour don’t represent change from the SNP when you can’t put a cigarette paper between the two parties on countless issues, including the flawed gender self-ID Bill.
“My Labour opponent in Rutherglen and Hamilton West has disagreed with UK Labour so many times it’s hard to tell if he’s backing Keir Starmer’s vision for Scotland or Humza Yousaf’s.
“The Scottish Conservatives are the only party that can stand up to the SNP on the union and so many other issues.”
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