Pressure is growing on the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to call a general election, after yet another disastrous poll result.
This time it was the staunchly Labour seat of Glasgow-East which fell spectacularly to the Scottish Nationalist Party in a by-election.
The PM said: “I’m sorry that we lost. We must listen and understand and hear people’s concerns, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. I know what difficulties people face with rising fuel and food bills and I know that people look to the government to take the action necessary.”
Glasgow-East was one of the safest Labour constituencies. They’d held it in some shape or form ever since the party was established.
But the SNP overturned a majority of 13 and a half thousand – a swing of 22.5 per cent.
The victorious candidate John Mason said: “This SNP victory is not just a political earthquake, it is off the Richter scale. It is an epic win, and the tremors are being felt all the way to Westminster.”
The Conservatives, who took third place, immediately looked to the future. Their leader, David Cameron said this defeat showed that Labour should go to the country before the next general election is due.
“I wonder if we can really put up with this for another eighteen months. Whenever people have had a chance to speak about this government, whether at the local elections; in Crewe; in Henley; in the London Mayoral elections and now in Glasgow, they’ve said, ‘Look, we think you’re failing and we want change.’ I think the Prime Minister should have his holiday, but then we need an election. We need change in this country.”
Gordon Brown had a short honeymoon period after taking office in June last year. But in popularity terms it all began going wrong after a few months.
By the end of May this year, opinion polls showed support for Labour at its lowest level since surveys began in 1943.