The SNP confirmed on Monday it had “moved the writ” required to trigger the contest, marking the official start of a campaign that has been ongoing for months.

The seat was vacated by Margaret Ferrier after a successful recall petition following her conviction for breaching Covid restrictions. Both the SNP and Labour have been vying for the seat since in recent months.

Ms Ferrier’s former party has repeatedly said it would move for a by-election as soon as possible, moving the writ on the first day the House of Commons has returned after summer recess.

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The party’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, said: “The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserve to have this by-election as soon as possible so they can vote to send a strong MP to Westminster that will truly stand up for them, and against the cruel Tory policies that Labour now support.

“The SNP have a fantastic candidate in Katy Loudon, who has a proven track record in the constituency. The SNP know exactly what we stand for and will fight for every single vote – as we always do.

“By contrast, the pro-Brexit Labour party are taking the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West for granted by arrogantly acting like they have this election in the bag.
“With Sir Keir Starmer having ruled out ever re-joining the EU, and backing Tory policies, including the cruel two-child cap and rape clause, people are asking what is the point of Labour?”

READ MORE: SNP by-election hopeful Katy Loudon: It’s been a difficult few months

The SNP candidate for the seat, Katy Loudon, said the constituency will “never be a priority for a Labour MP”.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the by-election was a chance for constituents to “demand better than the same old SNP failure”.

“Scottish Labour can deliver the change this community needs and Michael Shanks has hit the ground running – but we are not complacent.

“We are working tirelessly to earn voters’ trust and show that we can deliver the fresh start the area needs.

“This is not as good as it gets – change is coming, and voters in Rutherglen and Hamilton West can lead the way by putting our two failing governments on notice and electing a local champion in Scottish Labour’s Michael Shanks.”

Mr Shanks, his party’s candidate, said the people of the constituency “have been let down and left voiceless in Parliament for far too long”, adding: “Our area needs a fresh start and a local champion to speak up for it, and I will be working tirelessly to earn the chance to do that.”

Scottish Conservative Chairman Craig Hoy MSP, said: “It is only right that the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West are getting their opportunity to elect a new MP. They could have had their say a lot sooner if Margaret Ferrier had done the right thing and resigned immediately after breaking the law.

“I have been delighted to have already been out campaigning with our excellent candidate Thomas Kerr who is firmly focused on the real priorities of people in this constituency.

“That is in sharp contrast to the SNP who are engulfed by bitter in-fighting and continuing to relentlessly push for a divisive independence referendum.

“The vote on October 5 will allow people in this constituency to vote for a candidate like Thomas Kerr who will be a strong voice on the issues that matter to them such as the global cost-of-living crisis, reducing NHS waiting times and protecting vital local services – and who will stand up to this independence-obsessed and tired SNP-Green government.”

And Scottish Green candidate Cameron Eadie – seen as an outsider in the race for the seat – said constituents had the chance to vote for “bold and radical action that is so urgently needed”.
“We are in a climate crisis that is burning our planet and a cost of living crisis that is plunging families all over our country into poverty,” he added.
“We can’t go on like this.”

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