SNP crushed by Labour in Cowdenbeath

Labour has held the seat of Cowdenbeath in a Scottish Parliamentary by-election sparked by the death in November of the sitting MSP, Helen Eadie.

Cowdenbeath count-JPEG

Labour has held the seat of Cowdenbeath in a Scottish Parliamentary by-election sparked by the death in November of the sitting MSP, Helen Eadie.

The former leader of Fife council Alex Rowley held the seat with an 11 per cent swing from the SNP to Labour on a turnout of almost 35 per cent, in the first significant electoral battle of the year that Scotland will vote on independence.

Rowley managed to increase the party’s majority to 5,488 from the 1,300 secured in the Scottish elections of 2011.

With 11,192 votes, Labour’s share of the vote increased from 46.5 per cent in 2011 to 55.8 per cent last night. The SNP, in second place, saw its share of the vote fall from 41.6 per cent to 28.4 per cent. The Conservatives came third, with UKIP fourth and the Liberal Democrats dropping into fifth.

Delivering his victory speech, Alex Rowley argued that the result was more than just a judgement on September’s referendum. Speaking following the count, he said:

“This is about a bigger vision for Scotland, a bigger vision than simply independence.

“It’s about full employment for every young person to get the opportunities that they deserve from their lifetime.

“It’s about elderly people living in Fife with dignity, and making sure when they need services those services are available.

“I will spend every day working hard to ensure that we do that.”

Picking up on the issue of the bedroom tax, which Left Foot Forward reported on yesterday, he continued:

“Finally, the message has got to go out in the Scottish Parliament right now that we can mitigate the bedroom tax.

“We can give people jobs, we can give people opportunities, we can do that with a strong, devolved Scottish Parliament working within the UK.”

For the SNP, its candidate Natalie McGarry sought to focus attention back to September’s vote on independence, preferring not to focus on the reasons why her party had been comprehensively defeated. She commented:

“In eight months’ time there is going to be a referendum, and people in this constituency and across Scotland will have a vote. I am confident that there will be yes majority in September.

“I heard on the doorsteps from a lot of traditional Labour voters who said: ‘Listen, Natalie, I’m not going to vote for you, but I am actually thinking about voting yes in the referendum.’

“So Alex Rowley may be the victor tonight, but I believe the whole of Scotland will celebrate a yes victory in September.”

5 Responses to “SNP crushed by Labour in Cowdenbeath”

  1. Maurice

    How quaint that the SNP consider an 11% swing away from them after bombarding people with Yes Scotland material is a sure sign of victory in September.

  2. uglyfatbloke

    I think the point was that polling for independence in Cowdenbeath is higher than for then gnats, which is hardly a surprise given the nature of the area. By the same token, there’s plenty of places where polling for the gnats is generally stronger than for independence.. Probably best not to get too carried away over the result – very low poll and Alex is well-known and well-liked in the constituency from his effective work as a councillor. My late auntie was a big fan and she favoured independence all her life but I’m confident she would have voted for him.

  3. swatnan

    Its one in the eye for Alex Salmond and a portent of things to come. The Ides of March and Burnham Forest are closing in on the SNP.

  4. RolftheGanger

    What the article does not say is that there was all of a 34% turnout.
    Barely a third of the electors bothered to vote.
    In a supposedly crucial by election in the run up to the referendum.
    Which means a massive Labour failure.
    In ‘heartland’ territory, with such supposedly huge significance they failed to drag their voters out in anything like the numbers required to endorse Unionism.

    The voters and the SNP activists have their eye on the main game – n September.
    Then you will easily see this rump of mainly Old Labour loyalists, well and truly swamped by the large turnout of pro-independence support swollen by the missing voters.

    Those former Labour voters utterly disgusted and alienated by the Party’s conversion to Thatcherism. See the Daily Reord article warning about the danger of Labour hard Right policies to win English marginals alienating Scots.

  5. Asteri

    Cowdenbeath was also Gordon Brown’s old constituency (that MP who shows up for parliament about once every 2 years). Clearly a hardcore, donkey voting stronghold which would have elected a potato if was Labour.

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