Labour keep Glenrothes

Labour has retained the constituency of Glenrothes, following a two-horse by-election against the Scottish National party (SNP).

Lindsay Roy recieved 19,946 votes to the SNP’s 13,209. The nationalists received a swing of 4.96 per cent, but it was not enough to challenge Labour’s grip on the constituency.

Labour retained a substantial majority – a far better result than analysts had predicted.

Mr Roy said: “To my opponents in this contest – thank you for fighting a fair campaign.

“I pledge my support to the leader of our country,” he continued.

“With Gordon Brown, unemployment is less than half what it was under the Tories. With Gordon Brown, Britain is strong.”

The Liberal Democrats had a disastrous night, losing third place to the Tories. They received only 947 votes to the Conservatives’ 1,381.

Turnout was an impressive 52 per cent.

SNP leader Alex Salmond said: “Obviously, we are disappointed not to take what was a safe Labour seat.

“However, we substantially cut Labour’s majority and achieved a 13 per cent increase in our share of the vote and a 5 per cent swing against an entirely negative campaign on local issues from the Labour Party.”

Tory leader David Cameron said: “”I’m pleased Conservatives went from fourth place to third place, but this was always going to be a battle between Labour and the SNP. In Scotland it’s always hard work for Conservatives.”

Gordon Brown visited the constituency – which borders his own – three times during the campaign. He had categorically refused to do so during previous by-election, citing the tradition whereby prime minister do not campaign in by-elections.

His wife, Sarah, all but set up camp in Glenrothes, visiting the area six times.

The result marks a turning point for Alex Salmond’s SNP, which has soared in the polls since taking over Holyrood in last year.

The result made it a good night for the bookies, who had taken months of bets on an SNP victory.

“The victory in Glenrothes is excellent news for bookmakers – as all the big money was on an SNP victory – and excellent news for Gordon Brown, who is now being backed to remain leader at least until the election,” said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.