KEZIA Dugdale received a much-needed boost yesterday after her party won a local council by-election. The party’s Alex McVey took the Coatbridge North and Glenboig seat on North Lanarkshire Council which was triggered when the SNP councillor for the area Fulton MacGregor stood down after being elected MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston in May.

First preference voting was: Labour 1,350, SNP 1,261, Conservatives 366, Green 195, Ukip 63. “This is a great result for Labour but an even better one for the people of Coatbridge North and Glenboig, who have elected a local champion,” said Dugdale.

“This is a loud and clear message from the people of Coatbridge to the SNP against cuts to public services, and especially against cuts to Monklands Hospital. Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to listen to the Scottish people. The people of Coatbridge have spoken loud and clear, hands off the Monklands.”

McVey said: “This by-election was a referendum on the Monklands and the result has been clear. It’s a great honour to represent my community but we cannot go on with cuts to public services from the SNP government in Edinburgh.”