THE SCOTTISH Socialist Party has confirmed their candidate for the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election – accusing the opposition of aiming simply to “grab the £87,000 MP’s salary with both hands”.

Bill Bonnar, a founding member of the SSP, was confirmed as the party’s candidate on Monday in the by-election which is widely seen as a two-horse race between Labour and the SNP.

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat has repeatedly changed hands between those two parties since 2010, but Bonnar said “squabbles between Labour and the SNP will do nothing to change the lives of ordinary people”.

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Confirming his candidacy, the SSP hopeful said: “It’s time for radical, socialist change. The SSP shares the hunger of millions of working-class people of all ages for an immediate end to the ruinous, unwanted rule of the Tories, as they steal workers’ wages; the benefits of children, disabled and sick people, and keep our state pension at the worst level of any country in Europe.

“However, a vote for Labour or the SNP is a wasted vote. It would be a vote for more of the same poverty and inequality.”

Branding Keir Starmer’s Labour the “continuity Tories”, Bonnar hit out at the party’s opposition to repealing the Tories’ two-child benefit cap, their U-turn on a wealth tax, their U-turn on public ownership of key services, and plans to bring further private interests into NHS care.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Bonnar went on: “The SSP is the only party that wants a massive redistribution of wealth from the rich to the rest of us, with a guaranteed £15-an-hour minimum wage, scrapping lower youth rates; immediate abolition of all zero hours contracts; full trade union rights from day one at work; a wealth tax to help fund our NHS, education, and transport; reversal of privatisation of our hospitals; democratic public ownership to use the fabulous natural and human wealth of Scotland for the people, not the profits of the few.

“And I will take no more than the average local worker’s wage, to remain in touch with working-class conditions – whereas the other candidates will grab the £87,000 MP’s salary with both hands.”

The SNP have put local councillor Katy Loudon forward as their candidate, while Labour have opted for Michael Shanks, who has previously failed in bids to be elected for the party in constituencies such as Holyrood’s Glasgow Kelvin.

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On Monday, the SNP confirmed they had “moved the writ” to hold the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election on Thursday October 5.

Loudon said: “The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West will never be a priority for a Labour MP, who will be forced to toe the pro-Brexit pro-austerity London party line.

“We’ve already seen Starmer’s man in Rutherglen roll back on his principles when his Westminster boss comes to visit.

"This constituency didn't vote for Brexit or the Tory austerity policies – but Labour have confirmed they will remain wedded to both.

"In the up-coming by-election, a vote for the SNP is a vote for cost-of-living support and an MP that stands up for their constituents and Scotland – not the Westminster establishment."