The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has announced that it will be standing in the by-election that is likely to take place in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West Westminster parliament constituency.
The by-election has yet to be formally declared with the current MP, Margaret Ferrier, facing an imminent vote in the House of Commons on whether to suspend her for 30 days following her conviction for breaking Covid regulations in September 2020 at the height of the pandemic. If the suspension is upheld there will be a formal Recall Petition started in her constituency, open to Rutherglen and Hamilton West voters over a six-week period, which will force a by-election if ten per cent of the registered electors sign it.
The procedure could be truncated and a by-election held earlier if Ferrier, elected as a Scottish National Party (SNP) MP in 2019 but now sitting as an independent, resigns. It is also the case, if the petition is successful, that she will have the right to stand in the by-election, as the Tory MP Chris Davies did (unsuccessfully) in a previous recall by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire.
The SNP will be contesting the by-election, even if Ferrier stands again, and the Scottish Labour Party have selected their candidate, Michael Shanks. The fact that Shanks had left the Labour Party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership but is now their chosen representative – after publically admitting at the time that he “just couldn’t vote Labour” in the 2019 European parliament elections – shows how firmly the neo-Blairites have the Labour Party in their grip.
The Scottish TUSC steering committee, which includes leading Scottish trade unionists in a personal capacity and affiliated delegates from the CWU Scotland No.2 and Highland AMAL postal branches, has selected Chris Sermanni as its candidate.
Chris is a resident of Cambuslang, one of the biggest population centres in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency. He is also the Unison shop stewards convener for Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Department, playing a leading role in the successful 2015 Homeless Caseworkers strike. He is a member of Socialist Party Scotland.
Responding to his selection, Chris said: “This likely by-election is taking place amidst an unbearable cost of living crisis for working-class people. The Tories’ pro-bosses policies have meant economic disaster, increases in poverty, inflation and devastating cuts to our NHS and council services”.
“In the wake of an unprecedented strike wave by trade unionists over the past year, the need for a workers’ election alternative has never been greater. That’s why Scottish TUSC is standing in this election”.
“With the SNP in a political crisis, rooted in their implementation of austerity and their support for anti-working class policies generally, there has never been a more important time to offer a socialist alternative”.
“And nor will that come from the neo-Blairite dominated Labour Party, both at a UK and Scottish level. All vestiges of Corbynism have been eliminated. Labour offer no alternative for the working class as they have shown by implementing cuts locally in South Lanarkshire council”.
“That’s why I’m prepared to stand on policies like the need for the trade unions to launch a new party for working-class people that would support no cuts budgets, for above-inflation pay and benefit rises, socialist nationalisation of energy, the banks and big industries like Royal Mail, as well as the right to a second independence referendum and an independent socialist Scotland”.