SNP: ‘Political earthquake on the way in Glasgow East’

“There’s a political earthquake on the way in Glasgow East,” Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has said.

Speaking at a confident and confrontational launch of his party’s Glasgow East by-election campaign, Mr Salmond said the presence of so many media organisations proved Labour were in trouble.

“The fact that we are in with a chance is a comment on how far things have moved in Scottish politics,” he said of the traditionally solid Labour seat.

“This campaign is a chance to compare and contrast the track record of the Scottish government, the SNP government in Scotland and London Labour and the Labour government at Westminster.

“We welcome the contrast and we welcome the comparison because we think it’s a winning contrast and a winning comparison for John Mason and the SNP.”

Mr Salmond’s comments will have particular resonance in the constituency, where half a century of Labour control has failed to create prosperity.

“If you look at the statistics for housing, for poverty, for health in this constituency, then it’s a condemnation of 50 years of Labour party representation and Labour party failure,” the first minister said.

Speaking at a community centre with John Mason, the SNP candidate, Mr Salmond then mercilessly joked about Labour’s problems finding a candidate.

“John Mason is the first choice for the SNP and that will be an effective contrast in this campaign,” he said.

Labour hold a majority of 13,500 in the constituency but the party’s fortunes are currently so poor a growing feeling is spreading across political circles it could actually lose the seat.