Thursday, 12 November 2009

Glasgow North East by-election

The seat was vacated by former Commons Speaker Michael Martin, who resigned amid the Westminster expenses row.

Voters will go to the polls today to elect one of 13 candidates as an MP.

The parties have set a goal to knock on thousands of doors in the constituency, amid predictions turnout on polling day could be crucial to the final result.

Labour, which has been the main political force in the Glasgow North East area for 74 years, is defending a majority of some 10,000 votes from the 2005 General Election.

The party said the poll would be a "referendum on the treatment of Glasgow" by the SNP.
It said the Scottish government's budget for the coming year would see a cut in the city's housing budget, a low increase in the area's health board and a failure to build new schools in Glasgow.

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, who was joined by candidate Willie Bain and actor Eddie Izzard on the campaign trail, said: "It is increasingly clear that the poll is now a referendum on the treatment of Glasgow. This issue has dominated the campaign because Glaswegians care passionately about the city."

Meanwhile, SNP candidate David Kerr insisted that, after 74 years of Labour taking the area for granted, it was time for change.

"Voters have seen the success of the last two years of SNP Government, and it's time to bring some of that success to Glasgow and to Westminster," said Mr Kerr.

He added: "Labour's campaign has been built on smears and scaremongering. They have nothing positive to say about their own record or ideas for this area."

The Liberal Democrats argue their policy of tax reforms is chiming with the voters who want action on the economy, while the Conservatives are hoping for a strong showing to boost their hopes of a UK election victory.

Tory candidate Ruth Davidson said: "The voters know that they face a stark choice - more of this tired and failing Labour government or hope and change from David Cameron's Conservatives. We want to get Glasgow working again."

Eileen Baxendale, the Liberal Democrat candidate, visited a car wash and valeting company in the constituency on the final day of polling.

Joined by Scottish party leader Tavish Scott, she said: "This is another example of a great, local, small business facing tough times as a direct result of Labour's recession - if people in Glasgow North East want to wash away years of neglect from the Labour party then they should vote for the Liberal Democrats."

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