The Labour campaign to remain the largest party within Falkirk Council is in crisis just weeks after the party published their list of candidates for the May 3 elections.
One of the key seats in the fight for control of Falkirk Council is the Upper Braes Ward where Labour currently hold 2 of the 3 seats with the SNP in the shape of Gordon Hughes taking the other in 2007. However, the ward has been targeted by the SNP who are running with two candidates in May, Gordon Hughes and the popular former Independent Councillor, Ricky Wilson.
Labour were pinning their hopes on the maverick Councillor John McLuckie and daughter of local MP, Michael Connarty, Laura Duncan, who was standing for elected office for the first time.
Now the campaign has been thrown into disarray with the news that Mrs Duncan has sensationally pulled out of the contest for reasons believed to be because of work commitments.
A hastily arranged selection meeting was held on Monday 20th February and Airth resident Rosemary Murray was selected to replace Mrs Duncan.
Commenting on the Labour selection problems SNP Councillor for the Upper Braes, Gordon Hughes said,
“It is bizarre that after only a few weeks after naming their candidates for the Upper Braes the wheels should drop off the Labour campaign so comprehensively.
Perhaps the previous Labour prospective candidate was detecting the same trend towards rising support for the SNP as we were and therefore saw the writing on the wall for Labour.
Or perhaps she detected the mounting anger within Labour supporters of their formal alliance with the Conservative Party within Falkirk Council.
Whatever, the reason the Labour campaign has been discredited before it has even been formally launched.”
A confident Ricky Wilson also predicted that the Upper Braes Ward was seeing a major shift of allegiances taking place within it.
The popular former Independent Councillor who was part of the previous SNP led Administration between 2003 and 2007 said,
“We were confident before the Labour announcement of gaining a second seat within the Upper Braes.
Everywhere I go within the ward I hear good things about Gordon Hughes and negativity towards Labour whose pact with the Tories and policies such as the introduction of charges for services for the elderly have alienated hundreds of former Labour voters.
However, the news that the Labour campaign is disintegrating has boosted the mood even further of SNP activists and will drive us on to work all the harder within the ward.”
Falkirk Council SNP Group Leader, David Alexander said,
“It hasn’t taken long for the cracks to appear in the Labour campaign, I predict this is only the start of their problems.”