Eddie Izzard joins finale of Glasgow North East by-election campaign

[from the Telegraph]

David Kerr, the Scottish National Party candidate and the closest challenger to Labour’s Willie Bain, has admitted he is behind but claimed the gap is closing.

But the main threat to a Labour victory is its traditional, elderly support in the seat failing to turn out, with wintry weather forecast for Thursday.

To counter voter apathy, Gordon Brown has also written to 4,000 households in the constituency, which has been held by Labour for 74 years, urging them to support Mr Bain.

Meanwhile, the Tories, Liberal Democrats and the British National Party are locked in a battle for third place, along with John Smeaton, who helped foil the Glasgow Airport terror attack in 2007.

The contest was triggered by the resignation of Michael Martin, the former Speaker and now Lord Martin of Springburn, who had been the local MP since 1979.

Despite the furore over the expenses scandal that prompted him to stand down, loyalty to him and Labour runs deep in large pockets of the seat, one of the most impoverished in the country.

He won a majority of more than 10,000 in the 2005 general election, but only the SNP of the mainstream political parties stood against him.

Mr Izzard, who was performing in the city as part of a nationwide stand-up tour, joined Labour’s get-out-the-vote effort in a surprise visit to Mr Bain’s campaign headquarters.

“He tells me the last days of a campaign are always the most important so I wanted to lend my support,” said the comedian and actor.

“His campaign team have been busy stuffing envelopes and doing all the other things for polling day. I know by-elections are always close but I wish Willie all the luck in the world.”

Mr Bain said: “It’s a great boost for morale and a great way to go into the last 24 hours. This election is going to be close and I will be fighting for every vote to ensure we have a local voice that stands up for our area.”

Senior Labour sources said they fear turnout could be as low as 25 per cent, less than the previous Scottish low of 38 per cent in the Glasgow Anniesland by-election in 2000.

To motivate the party’s traditional support to vote, Mr Brown sent a typed letter to households, a tactic he used in Labour’s successful Glenrothes by-election campaign last year.

“I pledge to you that I will do all it takes to save jobs, rebuild our economy, and make sure Glasgow is not left out of the recovery,” he wrote.

“All politicians have to make choices and choose priorities. Our priority is to help people back to work and get our country back on track.”

He paid tribute to Mr Bain and attacked the decision of the SNP administration in Edinburgh to cancel a £170 million rail link between Glasgow’s city centre and airport.

Alex Salmond, the SNP leader and First Minister, was also due to join the final day of campaigning, along with Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary.

Written by Momo in: Politics & Causes |

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