Election Preview: Glasgow North East (UK) by-election 2009

Voters in Glasgow North East go to the polls today, November 12, to elect a new MP after  its MP, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin resigned in the wake of the expenses scandal in June. Despite winning re-election in 2005 as the Speaker, and without opposition from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats (as is the norm for speakers), he is a member of the Labour Party and was elected in 1979 in Glasgow Springburn (the predecessor, more or less, or Glasgow NE). Glasgow North East, one of Glasgow’s poorest areas, ridden by poverty, drugs and crime, is a Labour stronghold. Martin, standing for Labour in 1997 won 71.4% in Glasgow Springburn and won 53.3% standing as Speaker in 2005. Here are the 2005 results:

Michael Martin (Speaker [Labour]) 53.3%
John McLaughlin (SNP) 17.7%
Doris Kelly (Socialist Labour) 14.2%
Graham Campbell (Scottish Socialist) 4.9%
Daniel Houston (Scottish Unionist) 4.5%
Scott McLean (BNP) 3.2%
Joe Chambers (Independent) 2.2%

These results may give the wrong impression in some places, as third parties, which are often jokes in normal races, poll decently well in the Speaker’s constituency. The Socialist Labour Party, a Stalinist joke outfit, won 14.2% mostly due to voter confusion over the fact that its name included ‘Labour’ (and Martin was listed as ‘Speaker’, not ‘Labour’). The Scottish Unionists, a largely anti-Catholic unionist party, polled ‘well’, probably with usually Conservatives voters (the Conservatives poll crap here, only 4.4% in the 2009 European elections).

The Labour candidate and favourite is William Bain, who faces SNP candidate David Kerr. The Conservatives, LibDems, Scottish Greens, Solidarity, the BNP, Socialist Labour, Scottish Socialists, the ‘Jury Team’ are all fielding candidates, in addition to an Independent.

Labour polled 41.3% in the terrible Labour defeat of the June European elections, against 25% for the SNP and 6.5% for the Greenies. If Labour carried it so comfortably, it would indicate it is pretty safe. However, the Glasgow Labour Party’s by-election record is awful (see Glasgow East, another relatively poor Labour stronghold lost to the SNP in a 2008 by-election).

The count has started by now, and most rumours indicate a rather easy Labour victory. The full results remain unknown.

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Posted on November 12, 2009, in By-elections, Election Preview, United Kingdom. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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