The Truth

Labour finally seem to have a candidate for the Glasgow East by-election .........

added 6/7/08

Curran rides to the rescue of battered Brown

06 July 2008
By Eddie Barnes, Political Editor
The Scotsman

LABOUR'S battle to win the Glasgow East by-election and save the premiership of Gordon Brown looked increasingly desperate last night after party chiefs were forced to parachute in a new big-hitting candidate.

Margaret Curran, a local MSP and former minister, was persuaded to step forward after the front-runner suddenly backed out on Friday night amid financial allegations.

Labour sources say local councillor George Ryan withdrew because decade-old claims about housing benefit fraud over which he had been cleared were about to be repeated by a tabloid newspaper. Ryan, it is understood, did not want his family to be put through a public ordeal.

Just a week after the departure of party leader Wendy Alexander, allies of Brown first tried to persuade Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell to put his name forward as a candidate for the July 24 by-election, but were rebuffed.

Finally, Curran was persuaded to step forward and will fight the seat for Labour if she wins the backing of local party activists tomorrow.

The by-election in a seat which Labour held by 13,500 votes in 2005 is seen as a critical test for Brown, following the party's dramatic losses in the English local elections and the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. Should Labour lose the Glasgow seat, the Prime Minister would face fresh calls to quit.

SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond claimed the Labour campaign was "in complete meltdown". He said: "This is their 'lost weekend' they don't have a leader in Scotland, they don't have a candidate in Glasgow East and they have a Prime Minister who refuses to come to the constituency."

The by-election was forced by MP David Marshall's resignation.

The rest of the article may be read here: The Scotsman