Sarwar ‘pleased’ with Southside result despite East Lothian disappointment

Anas Sarwar
Anas Sarwar (PA Wire)
20:24pm, Fri 07 May 2021
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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he is pleased he was able to increase his party’s share of the vote in the Glasgow Southside election, where he lost to Nicola Sturgeon.

However, he said his party’s loss in East Lothian was “disappointing”, particularly for candidate Martin Whitfield.

Labour has one seat so far, with Daniel Johnson holding Edinburgh Southern on 20,760 votes to SNP candidate Catriona MacDonald’s 16,738.

Jackie Baillie meanwhile is in a tight race to hold her Dumbarton constituency for the party.

I'm pleased that we doubled the actual number of votes that we got

Mr Sarwar lost to the First Minister in his home constituency but is also a candidate on the regional list, which will be declared on Saturday.

As results were announced at the Emirates Arena on Friday, Mr Sarwar won 10,279 votes to Ms Sturgeon’s 19,735.

In 2016, the First Minister won a total of 15,287 votes – with the Labour candidate winning 5,694 votes.

Speaking to the PA news agency after the result, he said: “I’m pleased that we doubled the actual number of votes that we got and we increased the share of our vote by 9%.

“I think you can see the immense progress we have made in the last 10 weeks.”

He said Labour was still on a journey to build a “credible alternative” to the SNP.

Saying he welcomed the increased turnout, he added: “I’m not one of those politicians who likes to calculate whether a higher turnout or a lower turnout is good or bad for their individual political party.

“I think it’s good for democracy that as many people participate as possible.”

Discussing East Lothian, he said: “It’s disappointing, there’s no point in denying it.

“Of course I’m particularly disappointed for our amazing candidate Martin Whitfield.

“But again, look at where we were 10 weeks ago – we were at 14% in the opinion polls and coming fourth.

“Even my biggest critics can see that over the course of the last 10 weeks we’ve got the Labour Party back on the pitch.

“I think people can see that I’m a different kind of leader, trying to build a different kind of party, and together rebuild a different kind of country.”

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