The postman who always wins twice

Hugh Gaffney celebrates with his wife, Anne, and election agent, Scott Lamond
Hugh Gaffney celebrates with his wife, Anne, and election agent, Scott Lamond

New MP Hugh Gaffney has pledged to give away his councillor’s salary after pulling off a stunning General Election win for Labour.

The postal worker earned his second election victory in five weeks as he overturned a huge SNP majority in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.

Last month the dad of three won a seat in the Thorniewood ward in the North Lanarkshire Council elections, and in the early hours of Friday morning he toppled Phil Boswell to become the MP for the area where he has lived all his life.

Immediately after the result, Mr Gaffney (53) confirmed he will remain a councillor for the time being as he doesn’t want weary voters to go back to the polls next month for a council by-election.

Mr Gaffney, who lives in Birkenshaw, said: “I told council colleagues I would do both jobs. I fought long and hard to be a councillor so I’ll do that for a year and then review it. I don’t want to put the people of the area through another election just yet anyway.”

As a councillor Mr Gaffney will earn a basic salary of £17,000 and he promised to spend that on play equipment for disabled children.

He explained: “During the election campaign I met a girl aged 11 who is disabled. She was crying because she couldn’t play on the swings. So that’s what my wage from the council will be spent on.”

Mr Gaffney was one of six new Labour MPs elected in Scotland as the party’s showing improved dramatically from 2015 when it won only one seat.

However, he insisted he was always confident of overcoming the SNP’s majority of more than 11,000 and reclaim a seat that was once one of the safest in the UK for Labour.

Mr Gaffney said: “I never ever thought the party was finished.

“We were positive from day one of the campaign and I’m really up for the job ahead.”

As a long-serving postman, he is a familiar face to many and he quipped: “My job’s still there for me in five years time. I’ve kept my Royal Mail uniform just in case.”