SCOTTISH Labour has said the country’s first recall byelection will be “seismic” for it as it tries to turn around its fortunes at the general election.

The petition for a new vote in Rutherglen & Hamilton West closes today after a six-week process endorsed by all the main parties.

If, as expected, more than 10% of the seat’s 81,124 voters have signed by 5pm, it will trigger a hugely significance contest for both Labour and the SNP.

A win for Labour, which has a single MP in Scotland, would be seen as a springboard to a broader recovery at the general election.

It would add to a sense of momentum for Anas Sarwar's party, which moved into second place at last year’s council elections, as it looks to Holyrood in 2026.

If Humza Yousaf loses his first big electoral test as SNP leader it would add to worries in his party, which has been hit by a membership slump, financial problems, arrests, and splits over independence strategy in the months since Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation. 

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf faces byelection 'thumping' as SNP support evaporates

Conversely, if the SNP win, it would cause near panic in Scottish Labour and give the Nationalists a massive boost going into the general election expected next year. 

The seat was won by the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier in 2019 with a 5,230-vote majority, but she lost the party whip in 2020 for breaking Covid rules.

Her decision to attend parliament while awaiting a test result, then travel back to Scotland by train after she learned she had the virus, earned her 270 hours of community service.

It also led to a 30-day suspension from the Commons, triggering the recall process.

Although she could stand for re-election, the byelection would in effect be a two-horse race between Labour candidate Michael Shanks, a teacher, and local SNP councillor Katy Loudon.

One senior Labour strategist told The Herald: “If we win this - and I'm saying if because I'm not complacent - then this is seismic for us in terms of a recovery in Scotland on which we will build the rest of our target seats.

"It's really important for us. I'm not going to kid you and say it doesn't matter. Of course it matters.”

South Lanarkshire Council will count and verify the signatures tomorrow before giving the result to the Commons' Speaker's office, with a public announcement expected around 5pm.  

The Labour sourced added: “The mood music is really interesting. There’s a lot of people saying they’re voting Labour. The core vote is holding up. 

“There are a bunch of people who will vote tactically, because there's a considerable Tory and Liberal Democrat vote. 

"You've then got a really soft SNP vote with a high proportion of don’t knows. You're getting a bigger proportion of don’t knows than I've seen in a long time, which means it's all to play for. People’s overwhelming sense is feeling let down [by the SNP].”

The SNP has said it will move the writ for the byelection once the Commons returns from summer recess, meaning the vote is likely in early October.

The spending limit per candidate is £100,000.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar household wealth in spotlight over £240,000 of dividends

Former FM Alex Salmond, leader of the Alba party, said Ms Ferrier had been “thrown to the media wolves” by the SNP, accusing Mr Yousaf of a “digraceful lack of compassion”. 

Despite her “serious mistake”, there should not be a byelection, he said.

Campaigning in the seat at the weekend, Mr Yousaf said Mr Salmond was “in a minority” and claimed SNP support was solid, despite the “challenging” circumstances.