Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 12:28 UK

SNP stuns Labour in Glasgow East


The result of the by-election is announced

The Scottish National Party has pulled off a stunning by-election victory by winning Glasgow East, one of Labour's safest seats, by 365 votes.

The SNP overturned a Labour majority of 13,507 to win with a swing of 22.54%.

The SNP polled 11,277 votes in the contest, while the Tories came third with 1,639 and the Lib Dems, with 915 votes, came fourth.

SNP candidate John Mason said the victory was "off the Richter scale", while Labour expressed disappointment.

Voter turnout was 42.25%, down on the 48% figure at the last election, with 26,219 votes cast.

The result was declared at Glasgow's Tollcross Leisure Centre in the early hours of Friday, after a recount was requested by Labour, which won 10,912 votes in the contest.

Will it add to the pressure on Gordon Brown? Of course
Brian Taylor
Political editor, BBC Scotland

Mr Mason said the victory had sent a message to Downing Street.

Labour minister and Scottish MP Douglas Alexander said his party needed to "learn the lessons" from the "bad result".

He added: "We will continue to reflect on these results in the days and weeks ahead because actually we do hold ourselves to a high standard. We do want to serve not simply one part of the country but every part of the country.

Graph: Glasgow East by-election result

22.54% swing from Lab to SNP

Turnout: 26,174 [41.2%]

"It hurts us to lose a seat like Glasgow East and we are determined to win it back."

Defeated Labour candidate Margaret Curran said she did not regret standing in the by-election, but added: "I regret that I did not win this for Labour tonight.

"I do believe the Labour Party has to listen and has to hear the message from the people of Glasgow East."

'Epic win'

Mr Mason said: "Three weeks ago the SNP predicted a political earthquake.

"This SNP victory is not just a political earthquake, it is off the Richter scale.

"It is an epic win and the tremors will be felt all the way to Downing Street."

BBC Scotland's political editor, Brian Taylor, said it was an appalling result for Labour in a constituency it had held in various guises virtually since the party came into existence.

He said: "Will it add to the pressure on Gordon Brown? Of course. Frankly, though, I don't expect him to stand down any time soon.

"He already knew he faced a tough fight. It will, however, increase the trepidation around him."

Nine candidates stood in the by-election, sparked by the resignation of Labour's David Marshall on health grounds.

Margaret Curran speaks after losing the by-election

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie, whose party leapfrogged the Liberal Democrats into third place, said the vote had "a powerful and positive message".

She said: "Labour is mired in failure. Throughout the UK it is the Conservatives who are setting the political agenda."

Scottish Lib Dem acting leader Michael Moore said his party's by-election candidate, Ian Robertson, fought a strong campaign.

"I am confident that Liberal Democrats will continue campaigns like the fight against the planned closure of Parkhead fire station long after the media circus has left town," said Mr Moore.

Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond said of the result: "I don't think we will see an immediate exit for Gordon Brown from Downing Street. I think it is more likely he will change policy rather than change himself."


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