2023 Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election

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Event.png 2023 Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election (UK/By-election) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Rutherglen and HW.webp
Date5 October 2023

The 2023 Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election took place on 5 October 2023, following the recall of the sitting MP, Margaret Ferrier, who did not stand for re-election.[1]

On a turnout of 37.2%, Labour's Michael Shanks won the by-election with 17,845 votes (58.6%), defeating the SNP's Katy Loudon who had 8,399 votes (27.6%). In third place, the Conservative Thomas Kerr gained 1,192 votes (3.9%) but lost his deposit.[2]

Setting the date

As the party that last won the seat, it is for the SNP to start the process of a by-election.

The party's chief whip at Westminster will submit a motion to the House of Commons requesting an election in a process known as moving the writ.

The request is put to MPs in a vote. If backed, the writ is sent to South Lanarkshire Council's Returning Officer.

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf has committed to moving as fast as possible to hold the by-election.

If the writ is moved on the first day of Parliament after summer recess, the earliest possible date for the election would be Thursday, 5 October 2023.[3]


Candidates who have declared they are standing in the by-election are (in alphabetical order):

  • Gloria Adebo (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
  • Bill Bonnar (Scottish Socialist Party)
  • Cameron Eadie (Scottish Greens)
  • Ewan Hoyle (Volt UK)
  • Thomas Kerr (Scottish Conservatives);
  • Katy Loudon (SNP);
  • Chris Sermanni (Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
  • Michael Shanks (Scottish Labour)
  • David Stark (Reform UK)

No contest

On 26 August 2023, former First Minister Alex Salmond announced his Alba Party would not be contesting the forthcoming Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election. Speaking at a meeting of the party’s national council in Rutherglen, the Alba leader said:

“The SNP leadership seem to think they can go it alone in Rutherglen and in the next General Election.
“We have decided to stand aside at this by-election to give them the maximum opportunity to prove they can successfully fly solo.
“We believe that four pro-independence candidates already in a first past the post election risks handing the seat to the unionist Labour Party.”
“We are also fundamentally opposed to this by-election taking place at all.
"By combining with the Labour Party to treat Margaret Ferrier with such disproportionate disdain the SNP have created their own problem in Rutherglen and should be now left to face it.
“However, for this to succeed they will have to reclaim their own party from a leadership who have lost their way on both governance of Scotland and strategy towards independence.
ALBA still stand ready to move forward with a Scotland United approach but now are also making preparations for a wide scale intervention across Scotland at next year’s General Election.
"To that end we have formally opened our General Election candidates’ list today.”[4]

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