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A Labour activist who left the party over its stance on Brexit four years ago and later rejoined has been chosen as the Scottish Labour candidate for the upcoming byelection in Margaret Ferrier’s seat of Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Michael Shanks, a 35-year-old resident of the constituency who teaches modern studies, was selected by branch members last night from a shortlist of candidates selected by a Scottish Labour selection panel.

Shanks ran for Westminster in Glasgow North West in the 2017 general election and served as a party adviser in the Scottish parliament.

Labour has already been actively campaigning in Rutherglen to generate support for the recall petition.

Several well-liked local candidates were not selected, which prompted the local party to protest about the selection procedure. The Scottish executive has exercised extremely strict control over Westminster selections, resulting in sporadic complaints from the left-wing pro-Corbyn faction.

Scottish Labour is sanguine that it can capitalize on the Scottish National Party’s multiple crises and Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation after last week’s English council elections. Recent polls indicate that Labour trails the SNP by only a few points in both the Westminster and Holyrood elections.

MPs are awaiting the Commons standards committee’s judgment on Ferrier’s appeal against her 30-day suspension for illegally traveling with Covid in 2020. A recall petition is triggered when a lawmaker is suspended for 10 days or more.

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