2008 Glenrothes by-election was a by-election for the United Kingdom Parliament's House of Commons constituency of Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland.
seat fell vacant after the death of previous member, John MacDougall
), of mesothelioma
, on 13 August 2008, aged 60. The
by-election was held on 6 November 2008.
The by-election was won by Lindsay Roy
of the Labour Party.
Fife is traditionally a stronghold for the Labour Party. McDougall
had held Glenrothes and its forerunner, Central Fife
since 2001, when he succeeded Henry
. Willie Hamilton
previously represented the area, which has elected Labour MPs since
Hamilton won West
from the Communist Party of Great
The poll followed a run of poor by-election results for the Labour
Party, which included a loss to the Scottish National Party
formerly the party's twenty-fifth safest seat in Britain.
Glenrothes has a considerably smaller Labour majority than Glasgow
According to the Financial
, Labour privately admitted that they expected to
lose Glenrothes to the SNP. The
Guardian described the constituency's main town, Glenrothes, as a "core area" for the SNP.
The SNP were
in second place in the seat in the 2005 General Election
and won the nearest
in the 2007 Scottish Parliament
also ran Fife Council,
which covers the constituency, in coalition with the Scottish Liberal
The Scottish Liberal Democrats won the last by-election
to be held in Fife
from Labour on a swing of 16%.
By tradition, the polling date was decided by Labour, as
MacDougall's party, and set for Thursday, 6 November 2008. .
Had the writ been moved immediately the by-election could have been
held as early as mid-September, although this coincided with the
Trades Union Congress
conference and the following weeks were filled with various party
conferences. A Labour loss during this period could have provided a
particular boost for their opponents, or for dissident elements
within the party. The SNP may have favoured a quick by-election,
noting that Labour called the Glasgow East by-election rapidly,
when commentators believed it was to Labour's advantage.
The Labour party candidate was Kirkcaldy High School rector Lindsay
Roy. The SNP selected the leader of Fife Council, Peter Grant. The
Maurice Golden while the Liberal Democrats chose Harry Wills. The
Scottish Socialist Party
stood Morag Balfour, their national co-chair, who lived in
Glenrothes and had been a candidate in the constituency before.
stood Louise McLeary, a community activist who lived in the part of
Kirkcaldy which lies inside the constituency.
candidate was Dr. Kris Seunarine a specialist in the science of
biophotonics at Dundee university, and chairman of the Fife branch
Two of the minor party candidates had disabilities: Balfour was a
user and McLeary was visually impaired
2005 Election Result
Some months after the election, the marked register (on which the
electors who had cast their vote were marked) was discovered to be
missing. In law the register ought to have been preserved for a
year and a day; the Returning Officer from Fife Council had
transmitted the marked register to the Sheriff Court as required by
law and obtained a receipt. The Member of the Scottish
, Tricia Marwick
, had asked
for a copy of the marked register on 19 November 2008; after ten
weeks, the Scottish Court
admitted the marked register was lost. An inquiry by the
Scottish Court Service identified significant failings in its
handling of election documents, which had been placed in a room at
the court office in Kirkcaldy to which outside contractors had
In October 2009, the Scotland Office agreed a protocol to create a
substitute marked register for the election.
- Gerri Peev, " New Scots vote gives Brown three months to save
political skin", The Scotsman, 14 August 2008
- George Parker and Jim Pickard, " Brown faces new by-election battle",
Financial Times, 13 August 2008
- Severin Carrell, " From working class loyalty to new town
aspiration", The Guardian, 14 August 2008
- Nigel Morris, " Brown loses a friend – and faces another daunting
Scottish by-election", The Independent, 14 August 2008
- Iain Watson, " Don't expect an early by-election", BBC News, 13 August 2008
- Top 40 Scottish Blogs, Ian Dale's Diary, 27
- SNP reveals by-election candidate, BBC
News, 22 August 2008
- Steve Bargeton, " MP's death leaves battle for Brown",
- Simon Johnson, " John MacDougall was suing Government over disease
that killed him", Daily Telegraph, 24 August 2008
- Votes and Proceedings of the House of Commons,
19 October 2009.