Saturday 15 May 2021


Airdrie's new MP Anum Qaisar-Javed with Nicola Sturgeon

It was somewhat overshadowed by the events of the preceding Thursday, but two days ago a Westminster by-election took place in Scotland.  The result was announced on Friday and it was an SNP hold, albeit with a reduced majority - down from 5,201 to 1,757.  Turnout was just 34.4 per cent.

The by-election came about due to the resignation of the seat's former MP Neil Gray.  Gray stood down in order to contest a Holyrood seat in last week's Scottish Parliamentary elections, which he did successfully.  The resulting Westminster by-election cost taxpayers approximately £175,000.

The backstory of the SNP's winning candidate is the epitome of how this party came to be the force that it is.  Anum Qaisar-Javed was not only raised in a Labour household, she became a Labour activist and was even the general secretary of the Labour affiliate Muslim Friends of Labour.  However, in the 2014 referendum she backed a Yes vote and left Labour for the SNP thereafter.  Likewise, prior to 2015 the constituency of Airdrie and Shotts had always been a safe Labour seat.

Labour's rapid decline in Scotland runs parallel with the rise of the SNP - something else we can lay at the door of Tony Blair and chums.

Airdrie & Shotts UK Parliamentary by-election

Anum Qaisar-Javed (SNP) 10,129 (46.4%) +1.4%
Kenneth Stevenson (Lab) 8,372 (38.4%) +6.5%
Ben Callaghan (Con) 2,812 (12.9%) -4.7%
Stephen Arrundale (LDem) 220 (1.0%) -2.6%
Neil Manson (SDP) 151 (0.7%) New
Jonathan Stanley (Unionist) 59 (0.3%) New
Martyn Greene (Reform) 45 (0.2%) New
Donald Mackay (UKIP) 39 (0.2%) New