Labour Holds Inverclyde In By-Election
2:05am 1st July 2011
(Updated 12:04pm 1st July 2011)
Labour have held the Westminster seat of Inverclyde but have seen their share of the vote drop after a closely fought by-election with the SNP.
Iain McKenzie won after securing 15,118 votes, while nationalist candidate Anne McLaughlin polled 9,280 votes.
Labour had been defending a majority of 14,416 but saw that drop to 5,838.
The Liberal Democrats lost their deposit after they polled just 627 votes.
Conservative candidate David Wilson claimed 2,784 and Ukip's Mitch Sorbie 288.
Turnout fell from 63.48% in the general election last year to 45.52% with 28,163 votes cast.
Labour party officials had admitted the result would be "too close to call" as voters headed to the polls on Thursday.
And they were all too aware that the comparable Greenock and Inverclyde seat at Holyrood had seen the Labour share of the vote fall from 3,024 to just 511 in May's Scottish Parliament election.
But they managed a comfortable win and Mr McKenzie said the "Labour fightback has started in Inverclyde".
He went on to accuse the coalition Government of "savage cuts" and suggested the SNP bad-mouthed the Inverclyde community during the campaign.
He added: "I get angry when I hear people talk down my community. The people who came here asking for our votes, and then suggested they need jabs to get out of Inverclyde, are beneath contempt."
Mr McKenzie was referring to a controversial Facebook posting by George Adam, MSP for Paisley, who wrote that he would need "jabs" after a visit to Greenock.
In his victory speech, he said: "Make no mistake. This was a good night for Inverclyde - and a good night for Labour too.
"I'm proud to be part of the Labour Party, renewing itself under the leadership of Ed Miliband, listening more, working harder and challenging for better, to get back in touch with those we seek to serve.
"And I'm proud that my community of Inverclyde has paid an important step in Labour's mission to win back the trust of the people both here in Scotland and south of the border."
SNP candidate Ms McLaughlin said she was "disappointed" but hoped the party could go on to win the seat in the future.
The by-election was caused after the death of former Scotland Office minister David Cairns - the 44-year-old died in May after battling pancreatitus.
Mr McKenzie added that "this was not an election we wanted...I am enormously humbled to succeed David and continue his work".