Labour triumphant in Cowdenbeath by-election – and with an 11% swing from the SNP

24th January, 2014 11:34 am

There was a big win for Labour in Scotland last night, as the party not only won the Cowdenbeath by-election, but did so with a huge swing to the party from the SNP. After the sad passing of Helen Eadie late last year, the SNP were hopeful of winning a seat that they came close to taking in 2011. Instead they ended the night with only just over half the votes Labour received. It’s a dreadful start to 2014 for those who would split Britain…

Victorious Labour candidate – and newly elected MSP – Alex Rowley responded to the election win, saying:

“I’m delighted and humbled that the people of Cowdenbeath have put their faith in me to be their next MSP. This was of course a by-election that none of us wanted. Helen Eadie was a true champion for this constituency and for Fife. I have been struck by how fondly she is remembered by the people of Fife and I hope that I can be as an effective a voice for ordinary Fifers as she was.

“We fought this campaign on the issues and concerns of hard working Fifers. Jobs, skills, training and opportunities for our young will be my priority and must be for the Scottish Government. We need to ensure our older people can enjoy a secure retirement. These are the issues that this campaign was fought on as well as ensuring that the risks to our economy and future, posed by separation, were highlighted to voters.

“I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting down to business representing the people of Cowdenbeath next week in the Scottish Parliament.”

Here’s the result in full:

Alex Rowley (Lab) – 11,192 votes 55.78% (+9.28%)

Natalie McGarry (SNP) – 5,704 votes 28.43% (-13.17%)

Dave Dempsey (Con) – 1,893 votes 9.44% (+2.44%)

Denise Baykal (UKIP) – 610 votes 3.04% (N/A)

Jade Holden (Lib Dem) – 425 votes 2.12% (-1.78%)

Stuart Graham (Victims Final Right) – 187 votes 0.93% (N/A)

James Trolland (Scotthish Democratic Alliance) – 51 votes 0.25% (N/A)

Labour majority: 5,488 (27.36%)

11.25% swing from SNP to Labour

Turnout: 20,062 (34.78%)

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  • rekrab

    Although I expected a labour hold I was very surprised at the margin of the win and of course the big swing from the SNP to labour.

    The pending referendum on Independence wasn’t the only issue but it must have been an issue in the minds of voters, it could be down to the unionist parties all carry the same message on the Independence issue, the tories improved as did UKIP, while the lib/dems failed to hold their deposit.

    I guess I owe John Ruddy an apology on this one, seems he called it correct. Ain’t politics so strange at times, who would have thought the tories and Ukip would increased their votes in a Scottish ex-mining community?

    • John Ruddy

      To be honest, the Tory uptick is a bit of a dead cat bounce. This seat saw the biggest drop in tory vote in 2011, so there has been more tory voters in recent memory.

      The swing is larger than I would have predicted, partly as a result of the Labour vote going up by more than I thought, and the SNP vote collapsing so much.

    • reformist lickspittle

      UKIP do quite well in ex-mining areas in England. Just saying 😉

      As I said yesterday to somebody else, kudos for admitting you got it wrong. You weren’t misled by Salmond predicting a swing *to* the Nats, were you?

      • rekrab

        Can you tell me when any-other than labour has held this seat?

        The constituents problems are the same they’ve had since the 1980’s.

        To be honest, UKIP are see as just that bit bluer than the tories in our neck of the woods.

        On the Independence question, only one party was in support of the yes vote, The Green party and Scottish Socialist party’s weren’t on the list.So I’m asking the question about a treble up unionist campaign that favoured the labour vote.

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Denise Baykal (UKIP) – 610 votes 3.04%

        Is that good?

        • Doug Smith

          It’s not bad as a first attempt in the seat.

          And they’ve beaten your friends the LibDems, with whom Labour will most probably form a coalituon after the 2015 election.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Oh yeah that’s right it’s a fantastic result. Was the candidate the bloke who said the floods were a punishment from God for the Gay Marriage Bill or the bloke who said there should be compulsory abortion for all unborn disabled children?
            – Got a real Dr Mengele feel about him that last bloke.

          • Doug Smith

            I do know one thing about the candidate: it wasn’t the person who committed our country to a disastrous and unnecessary military adventure that resulted the needless deaths of 179 British military personnel. Caused the deaths of hundreds and thousands of others and wasted billions of pounds. And produced widespread regional instability which continues to the this day.

        • reformist lickspittle

          No it certainly isn’t 😉

          Just pointing out that being an ex-mining area isn’t, in itself, a bar to UKIP doing well.

          • rekrab

            Just out of interest? can you tell me what UKIP’s policy on wages and jobs are?

          • reformist lickspittle

            Farage has just said they don’t have any policies right now, after he disowned their 2010 manifesto. So no 😉

          • rekrab

            Fair enough I seen that? although your pretty correct to say that just being an ex-mining community isn’t reason enough to discard a vote, it’s pretty much accepted that UKIP inclusive of Farage are closer to the Tories than any other party, which in turn raises a big question mark over their desire to ask working class communities in Scotland for a vote. As far as I’m aware they don’t have a single representative in Scotland, I think there is a reason for that.

      • rekrab

        Before Farage shrewdly disowned his manifesto, their policy on flat rate working pay was no tax on earnings at £12,500 per ann, a flat rate without any tax credit, coming in at £6 per hour, less than the minimum wage as of now. Are there really low wage communities voting for that?

        • Hugh

          Your question is whether there are low wage communities voting for a policy that means anyone on the minimum wage pays no income tax?

  • uglyfatbloke

    The constituency has the same problems it’s had sine I was a wee laddie in Ballingry in the 1960s. I don’t really think this is quite as big a deal as it seems. It’s a very safe seat, there was a very low turn out and Alex is very well-known and popular through his solid work as a councillor.

  • uglyfatbloke

    It really is one of those ‘donkey with a cloth cap’ constituencies, but on this occasion the candidate is actually a useful sort of person. The margin reflects the turn-out. At GEs in days gone by there would have been a majority of 20,000 quite easily. The constituencies have changed shape a bit, but Willie Hamilton got that kind of majority even after the Wilson government destroyed the mining industry in the 60s.


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