Mailman Hugh delivers for Labour

Hugh Gaffney celebrates victory over Phil Boswell, far left
Hugh Gaffney celebrates victory over Phil Boswell, far left

Post office worker Hugh Gaffney delivered the General Election result of the night for Labour in North Lanarkshire.

The 53-year-old trade union official snatched Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill from the SNP, overturning Phil Boswell’s 2015 majority of more than 11,000.

Marion Fellows makes a point after holding Motherwell and Wishaw

Marion Fellows makes a point after holding Motherwell and Wishaw

It was the second victory at the polls in the space of five weeks for Mr Gaffney as he won a seat in the Thorniewood ward at last month’s council elections.

He said that, despite his new status as an MP, he will remain a councillor for the time being and insisted he was always confident he could win the Westminster seat after Labour’s encouraging show at local level.

Mr Boswell took Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill from veteran Labour MP Tom Clarke two years ago, but this time lost out by 1586 votes.

A jubilant Mr Gaffney, who was cheered to the rafters when the result came through at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility shortly after 3am, said: “I was confident we would win the seat when we held 13 of the 14 Labour wards in the constituency in the council elections.”

There was, however, frustration for Labour in two other North Lanarkshire seats where they came agonisingly close to toppling the SNP.

Two years ago the SNP’s Marion Fellows took Motherwell and Wishaw from Labour with a thumping majority of nearly 12,000.

This time there was a long, tense wait before the result was declared at 4am, with no indication of how it would go until the candidates were gathered on the stage.

Mrs Fellows held the seat from Labour’s Angela Feeney, but her majority was slashed to just 318.

Afterwards an exhausted Mrs Fellows said: “It’s been a strange night, but I’m privileged and pleased to be able to represent this constituency again.”

The SNP also held on in Airdrie and Shotts, which includes Holytown and Newarthill.

Sitting MP Neil Gray held off Labour’s Helen McFarlane, but with a much reduced majority of 195.

Voters in Uddingston and Bothwell see no change either, but this time it was the Conservatives who were the closest challengers to the SNP’s Angela Crawley in another hotly-contested seat, Lanark and Hamilton East.

Ms Crawley polled 16,444 to defeat the Tories’ Poppy Corbett by just 266 votes. Labour dropped to third but Andrew Hilland 16,084 was only 360 votes behind the winner.