The sitting tenant in Glasgow South-West is the Labour and Co-operative Party’s Ian Davidson. He took 60% of the vote in 2005 with a handsome majority of 13,896 and looks set to retain his place in the House of Commons through some very active campaigning in the area. He did not come out unscathed from the MP expenses scandal. It emerged that he paid a friend £5,000 to renovate his flat, and had £1,500 worth of furniture delivered to his Glasgow home. He claimed that this was later driven to his London flat. He also claimed £6,000 in fees to help him to find a flat.
Chris Stephens is the SNP candidate for Glasgow South West. He is a Unison trade union activist. The SNP have an uphill struggle, having only polled 15% of the votes in the 2005 election. However, with Nicola Sturgeon as the SNP’s Glasgow talisman, there just may be a bounce effect for the party on May 6.
Maya Forrest is the Conservative candidate for Glasgow South West. The original candidate, Heather MacLeod, stood down at a late stage in the process.
Standing for the newly formed Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is the one and only Tommy Sheridan.
Love him or loath him, it’s hard to ignore him. The veteran Poll Tax fighter is due to stand trial for perjury in September 2010, in relation to the infamous News of the World defamation case. However, STUSC aim to unite the left vote and have links to the Public and Commercial Services union.
Isabel Nelson is standing for the Liberal Democrats. She came second to Mohammed Sarwar in Glasgow Central in 2005. She works as an IT consultant and has four children and six grandchildren. She has campaigned against damp housing and given evidence to Glasgow City Council and to two House of Commons Select Committees investigating the extent of fuel poverty in the UK.
Tom Harris has been a Labour MP for nine years, initially in Glasgow Cathcart then in the new Glasgow South constituency.
He has a comfortable majority of 10,832 and was a junior transport minister between 2006 and 2008. Married and living in his constituency, Tom has embraced new media and is a prolific blogger.
He finds MPs’ expenses and immigration are key issues. ‘On expenses, I was cleared at the early stages of the Legg Inquiry and I wasn’t asked to repay any money. I employ my wife. That looks likely to change. I’m not very happy and my wife is even less happy.
‘Immigration is coming up more and more. I have a very strong view that people have a right to express their concerns about immigration without the risk of being called a racist.’
Asked about the ‘cabs for hire’ MPs who were touting their Westminster connections, he said: ‘Where do you start? I thought we would reach a point where we could start re-building people’s trust in politics and government, and then this nonsense happens. It is tremendously depressing.’
Malcolm Fleming is the SNP candidate for Glasgow South. He works in communications for Oxfam, and lives in Shawlands.
Involved with the SNP from 16, Malcolm, now 35, supports the Power 2010 campaign to reform Parliament and protect civil liberties. ‘The group visited Shawlands, and the public clearly support it.
‘Spending cuts are a major concern for people bringing closure of local facilities such as Castlemilk Stress Centre. It had its funding cut at very short notice. It is really bad practice, they had no chance to seek funding elsewhere. With more cuts in the pipeline from London, having more SNP MPs in Westminster would put pressure on the Government to stop cuts. Our basic message is more Nats; less cuts.’
He added: ‘There is an alternative to more of the same from Labour and more of the same from the Tories - a strong group of SNP MPs in the House of Commons who would support the Scottish Parliament and support what’s best for Scotland.’
Marie Campbell is the Green Party candidate for Glasgow South. She has worked for Patrick Harvie for three years and steps into the front line because she believes her party can show ways ‘to do things better.’ She told the LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW: ‘Government should be supporting local business and enterprise rather than propping up failed banks. We need to reduce energy consumption and should focus on renewable energy sources. I’m out to do the best I can and to start conversations with people because masses of people are looking for change.’
Other candidates for Glasgow South are Davina Rankin – Conservative, Shabnum Mustapha – Lib Dem, Brian Smith – STUSC.
Labour’s Willie Bain was elected MP for Glasgow North-East at last November’s by-election following the resignation of House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin. Willie was a law lecturer in London till then. He spends much of his time at his parents’ house in Springburn, where he grew up and attended St Roch’s Secondary.
He said: ‘When you bring a social mix into a constituency it changes it. Compared to the demographics of maybe 12 years ago, Robroyston shows a massive expansion. Dennistoun is now, effectively, an overspill of the West End. The constituency, in many parts, is becoming a bit more middle-class.’
Bain admitted his victorious night in November was slightly soured by the low turn-out – 20,595 people – ie: less than one in three of those who could have voted. But he got 12,231 votes – 59.4% with a majority of 8,111 and he expects a better response this time round.
‘When we get to a general election, people see the bigger picture and a national choice, and I think they will consider coming back.
‘If it is seen to be close, then that will boost the turn-out. Realistically, if we get about 50% that would show progress.’
Bain’s main challenge will come from SNP’s Billy McAllister whose selection was exclusively revealed by www.localnewsglasgow.co.uk. Speaking then, he said: ‘We need more jobs, better housing, increased investment and a crackdown on crime. This city and its people are wonderful. We have great potential. But, after 13 years of ineffectual UK New Labour rule and decades of a heartless New Labour City Council, the people of North East Glasgow are crying out for change.’
Also standing is Ruth Davidson, Conservative Party. An intelligent, new-generation Tory, she said: ‘This is a straight choice between the Conservatives and Labour. Only we can sort out the debt, the jobs and the NHS. Only we can get this country’s house in order and the people of Possilpark, Dennistoun and Springburn are responding to that.’
Others candidates include: Eileen Baxendale – Lib Dem, Charlie Baillie – BNP , Graham Campbell – STUSC and Kevin McVey – SSP.
The chief executive of Strathclyde Passenger Transport, Ron Culley, has resigned amid an expenses scandal which has also led to the resignation of chairman Alistair Watson. Watson, also the Labour councillor for Glasgow Craigton ward, resigned from his post citing health reasons. He will remain a councillor. The resignations follow allegations about the SPT’s board’s misuse of expenses and a large number of foreign trips. The allegations state that 11 SPT directors spent more than £110,000 on trips to the USA, China and Italy.
Audit Scotland are set to investigate SPT ‘s activities to probe for evidence of wrongdoing. In a statement, Mr Culley said: ‘I am entirely confident that the investigation being undertaken under the auspices of Audit Scotland will exonerate officers of SPT as all delegations over the past four years were approved in advance by an authority comprising members of every major political party.’
As previously reported in Local News Glasgow, SPT recently announced the withdrawal of the historic Renfrew Ferry service between Yoker and Renfrew, saying that it was no longer financially viable.