SNP suffers major defeat as Humza Yousaf admits ‘disappointment’

The SNP has suffered a huge defeat in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat by-election.

Labour took the Scottish constituency after securing more than twice the votes of the nationalist party.

The result is a further blow for SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf, who has seen his party’s fortunes decline in the polls following Nicola Sturgeon’s departure and amid a police probe into its finances.

Mr Yousaf admitted it was a “disappointing night” for the SNP.

He said: “Circumstances of this by-election were always very difficult for us.

“We lost this seat in 2017, and like 2019 we can win this seat back. However, we will reflect on what we have to do to regain the trust of the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West.”

A gleeful Sir Keir Starmer hailed the “seismic result” after Labour candidate Michael Shanks won 17,845 votes, well ahead of the 8,399 votes returned for SNP rival Katy Loudon.

The Labour leader said: “People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West have sent a clear message – it is time for change. And it is clear they believe that this changed Labour Party can deliver it.

“I have always said that winning back the trust of people in Scotland is essential.

“Tonight’s victory is the culmination of three and a half years of hard work in years of hard work and humility on that journey.

“I am grateful to everyone who has put their faith in us today – we will work every day to repay it.”

The Scottish Conservatives came in third place, with Thomas Kerr securing 1,192 votes.

The by-election was sparked after a recall petition against Margaret Ferrier, who had won the seat for the SNP in 2019 with a majority of 5,230.

Ms Ferrier had the SNP whip removed for breaching Covid rules in 2020 and after remaining as an independent MP was suspended from the Commons.

After securing more than 58 percent of the votes cast Mr Shanks now has a majority of 9,446.

A total of 30,531 votes were cast in the by-election, with turnout standing at 37.2 percent, well below the 66.5 percent in the last general election.

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