SNP Councillor Billy McAllister looks set to stand as a candidate in Glasgow North East at the forthcoming general election.
Already known for his frank talking and no-nonsense approach McAllister says he will clean up the streets of Springburn.
He said: ‘If elected by my party I’ll have a right shot at it. Number one on the agenda is fighting crime and bringing about law and order.
‘The constituency has the highest concentration of organised criminals anywhere in Scotland. It’s time to get serious – lets get tackling these people.
‘I want to bring a buzz to the area, I’m not scared to go where others are, and I’m not scared to speak my mind.’
The Scottish Labour Party’s Willie Bain MP won the North East by-election in November last year with 59% of the vote.
It would be a tall order for anyone to dislodge Bain, and McAllister is under no illusions.
He hopes for a far greater voter turn-out than the record low of 32% who exercised their democratic right last time round in the constituency.
Councillor McAllister added: ‘The aim first and foremost will be to get people along to the polling station to vote.
‘I’d like to think I can really enthuse people, engage with them and deal with the issues that matter.’
McAllister – who was a welder in the ship-yards and then worked in the oil industry prior to being elected councillor in February 2006 – is keen to point out that he has not yet been put forward by the party.
He added: ‘I’ll have a go at – but it’s yet to be decided – so I’m not counting my chickens just yet.’
It is understood that former candidate and previous SNP front-runner David Kerr has taken up a high profile post away from politics.
Kerr proved a winner on the doorsteps at the by-election but a series of high profile gaffes blighted his campaign including his tossing of a two pound coin at Willie Bain on live television.
McAllister joked: ‘I certainly won’t be doing that, I haven’t got money to be throwing away!’
LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW was once again first with the news; this time with a very Glaswegian twist to the ongoing Megrahi situation.
SNP candidate for the Glasgow North East by-election David Kerr had a reflective change of heart following his initial comments that stated he believed it was wrong to grant Megrahi compassionate release.
David was accused by Labour candidate Willie Bain for being a ‘yes man’ and by The Scotland on Sunday 30 August of ‘flip-flopping’ but has ridden out the storm, and yesterday (Tuesday 1 September) was backed by First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond.
The First Minister said; ‘David was quite right to come out and say what he believed, as he was in full understanding of all the facts.’
totally impractical on the basis of the unacceptable level of security required.
“In light of all the information and arguments that have come forward, it is now quite clear to me, and I believe a growing number of people in Scotland – of all parties and none – that the Justice Secretary took the right decision, and above all he took it for the right reasons.”
However, prior to this both Glasgow North East by-election front runners had spoken out against the decision of Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill to release Abdelbaset Ali-al Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber.
In face-to-face interviews both men expressed their concern over the Justice Secretary’s decision.
On Monday 24 August, Labour candidate, Willie Bain, said: ‘I don’t think it reflects well on the Scottish Government. I think it was the wrong decision. Jack McConnell was right when he said there were other options available. It’s just wrong that we have someone who is convicted under Scots Law of such serious offences, being released in this way.’
On Friday 21 August, SNP candidate, David Kerr, felt it wasn’t the best option but argued that the Justice Secretary has only grown in stature. He told the LOCAL NEWS; ‘Kenny did what he believes to be right. He will have gained a lot of respect from a lot of people over his handling of this. He is a politician of courage and principle and an honest and good man. However, I don’t believe that Al Megrahi should have been released. He was convicted of murdering 270 people so I believe justice would have been best served if he had remained in the care of the Scottish Prison Service. I do believe that compassion should be shown to him in his dying months. Whether that’s the best of palliative care to be delivered within a Scottish prison or even to be cared for in a Scottish hospice, obviously with provisos made for security.’
Come November, former BBC journalist David Kerr, 35, and university lecturer Willie Bain, 36, will have other issues to battle over.
The by-election to replace Westminster MP Michael Martin who was Speaker of the House and who resigned his seat in Glasgow North East, is likely to be called in that month.
The Labour Government has come under heavy fire for the delay in holding the by-election.
Willie hopes to reclaim the Springburn area seat for Labour. A former St Roch’s pupil, Willie claims the delay has not been all bad news. He said: ‘I’m ready for the by-election at anytime.
‘The pleasure of it being a slightly longer campaign is that it gives us the opportunity to meet every group and campaign in every street in the constituency.
He continued; ‘I don’t think many people wanted an election in July or early August – during the school holidays.’
David Kerr, who as a child lived in Dennistoun, was less forgiving in his criticism over the hold-up.
He said; ‘It’s now one of the longest delays in UK political history. The opportunity for the people of the area to return a new MP should never have taken this long.
‘This delay may be ok for the Labour Party, but it’s not ok for the people of north east Glasgow.
‘The constituency needs an MP – ASAP’.
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