28 June 2008

Glasgow East looks set to be without an MP

The rumour mill is now at maximum: David Marshall is said to be standing down for health reasons. The 67-year-old was first elected to the House of Commons back in 1979, as the MP for Glasgow Shettleston. Before that, Marshall was a Glasgow City Councillor, and Strathclyde Regional Councillor.

Glasgow Shettleston, which overlaps with his current seat, has been held by Labour (or the ILP) since 1922 (for the first four years of its life, it was Tory). Glasgow Baillieston has been Labour since it was established in 1997.

I'm not, at this stage, going to make any comments about the prospects in this seat: I'll wait until there is a formal vacancy. But if the story is correct, then Marshall has done the right thing - his health is more important and it takes guts to say "I'm no longer able to do this job, it's time to go", especially when the decision will horrify Gordon Brown, who will now face another By-Election, after losing Crewe, after coming fifth in Henley - behind the Greens and the BNP - and while chickening out of the Haltemprice & Howden poll.

And whatever the outcome, there's been no major Scottish electoral test since May 2007. Marshall's health will have a massive impact on the health of the Government.

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