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SNP candidate ‘up to the task’ at Westminster, says Black

The party’s deputy Commons leader had some words of advice for Katy Loudon ahead of the vote on October 5.

Ryan McDougall
Thursday 14 September 2023 14:52 BST
Katy Loudon is the SNP’s candidate for next month’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election (PA)
Katy Loudon is the SNP’s candidate for next month’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election (PA) (PA Wire)

The SNP candidate for an upcoming by-election is “up to the task” at Westminster, Mhairi Black has said.

The party’s deputy Commons leader and MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South joined SNP candidate Katy Loudon on the campaign trail in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, on Thursday.

They met with voters in the Hillhouse area of the town ahead of the by-election on October 5.

The by-election has been called after the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat was vacated by former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier following a successful recall petition sparked by her conviction for breaching Covid restrictions in 2020.

Ms Black announced in July she would not seek re-election as an MP in the next general election, and she has previously described Westminster as “toxic” and “one of the most unhealthy workplaces you could ever be in”.

Offering advice to Ms Loudon, should she win the seat, Ms Black said on Thursday: “Having met Katy, I have no doubt that she’s up to the task and my advice would be keep your chin up.

“You know exactly why you’re there, you know the people you’re fighting for, and you know how desperate the people that you’re fighting for are.

“So just keep going with it, as long as you can.”

Asked if there has been any change in her perception of the culture at Westminster since she spoke out, Ms Black said: “No. Simple as that.

“Any changes that Parliament makes, they always make the smallest of steps.

“Quite often it’s one step forward, two steps back, but I’m not seeing change at a rate that normal people want or that society needs.”

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn also joined the campaign trail on Thursday.

He told the PA news agency that Hamilton residents he has spoken to are concerned about the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy bills, high mortgage rates, and food prices.

He said: “The SNP has put forward solutions in relation to each and every one of those things, but more than that, we’re the only party that’s talking about the damage to this community in Scotland being caused by leaving the EU, both to our public sector and our private sector.

“We’re the party that not just wants to join the European Union, we want to do so as an independent nation, and I think for people living here, that’s where their focus lies, that’s where my focus lies, and I’m very confident about the outcome here.”

He said he is confident the SNP will remain the leading party in Scotland following the next general election, and he vowed the MPs will take “a pretty clear message back down to Westminster with us”.

He added: “The people of Scotland want action, not just words, but action on the cost-of-living crisis.

“They want to have a closer relationship with the European Union, and we want to give democratic effect to the votes that the people of Scotland will be putting into the SNP to make sure that we have that ability to determine our own future as an independent nation.

“That’s a very powerful message to take to Westminster – that’s why people should vote for the SNP, and it’s why I’m very confident that we’ll win.”

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