Reaction: Glenrothes results
Labour – “Obviously we’re all very, very happy, very pleased. This is a by-election where everyone had written off our chances of retaining the seat. To pull off this victory is quite something really. Lindsay Roy was a very strong candidate. He fought a strong campaign. It was fought on local issues and this message resonated with local people. We were also able to demonstrate that Gordon [Brown] and Alistair’s [Darling] handling of the economy was a strong point for us and it gave us momentum to come back from behind and win the seat. Gordon did come here and visit the seat, he did campaign in the seat. When Gordon did come and campaign that gave us real momentum to overtake the SNP.”
Scottish National party (SNP) – “It’s very, very disappointing. But these things happen, you know. If politics was easy we’d have won years ago. But it is a disappointment, a wee bit of a knock in the face, a setback. It hurts. We think we should have won it. We should have been there and right up until the results were coming in we thought we were going to win. We got a five per cent swing to us – it wasn’t enough. The Scottish government will go back to delivering on our manifesto, go back to working away, plugging away, to deliver on what we promised the Scottish people last year. We’re doing quite well there. Speaking to people in the bar just now the atmosphere is yes, we’re going to take a while to suffer a wee bit, but then we’re going to get back on our feet and get campaigning. There were a lot of local issues that came up – a lot of things which were said which weren’t quite accurate. There was the Gordon Brown is one of us and we should support him in his time of need’ bit and the global crisis. There were a lot of things in the mix. I don’t think you can say it was definitely a local campaign or a national campaign.”
Conservatives – “We came from fourth to third in Glasgow. We showed there were no no-go areas. We came into this one with the same hopes but knowing it was an even tougher ask. We were surrounded on both sides by Liberal Democrat MPs and a Liberal Democrat party that one in eight people had voted for last time. So we’ve come ahead with our heads held very high. Many independent commentators are now commenting on how Maurice was as a candidate – bursting with vigour, enthusiasm and energy. That won through. Secondly, and the overall result shows this too, Scotland has woken up to the fact that when it comes to Westminster, the SNP are not the voice for change. They cannot be the government. Labour’s win was really a tribute to Lindsay Roy. Rarely has a candidate been so well known – he probably taught 50 per cent of the electorate. He played the maverick card and it worked well. We gave some intensely local issues a national airing and hearing. For example, the local impact of the global crisis. We were prepared to talk about and listen to what was happening and offer the solutions. Wrapping it all up, it shows that contrary to what many people might think, in Scotland being a Conservative is not a dirty world. We are firmly entrenched and part of the three-horse race that is Scottish politics.
Liberal Democrats – “It’s inevitable. In a two horse race we got squeezed. We lost the deposit but so has everyone apart from the top two. We know our campaign did well in the area because it’s the same one the nationalists and Labour piggy-backed on. In Fife the Lib Dems are the only people who can give Labour a kicking. When it’s the SNP they can’t do it. The gap was too great to make up on this one. In the last Fife by-election, the Lib Dems were second, but we beat Labour. The SNP haven’t beaten them. I think it shows one thing very clearly – Alex Salmond said this would be a victory for the nationalists and he got it spectacularly wrong. Politics in Scotland has changed again and the SNP honeymoon is over.”