The Scottish Conservatives could win the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, Penny Mordaunt has insisted.

The Leader of the House of Commons was in Glasgow over the weekend to throw her weight behind Thomas Kerr, the party’s candidate in the vote, expected to be in early October.

However, Tory sources told The Herald they thought victory in the South Lanarkshire seat was unlikely.

They were a distant third in 2019, taking just 8,054 votes compared to Margaret Ferrier’s 23,775 and Labour’s 18,545.

READ MORE: Penny Mordaunt: SNP's independence case 'real bile and hatred'

Nevertheless, Mr Kerr, the leader of the Tory group on Glasgow City Council launched his campaign yesterday with support from MSPs and activists.

Speaking to the Daily Express, he said that at an event the night before, Ms Mordaunt —seen as a potential successor to Rishi Sunak — told members that she was confident he could win.

Mr Kerr said: "She was 100% behind the campaign and she was actually very, very nice about it and got all the activists cheered up and ready for it.

“I must admit, I think she had more belief that I was going to win than I actually had when I decided to put myself forward.

"And she's shown in her area in Portsmouth, Labour was miles ahead of her, and she's shown by working hard and building up a base and increasing her vote at every single election since 2005 so that's a good model.

"She was 100% behind the campaign and promises that if she's back in Scotland she'll be out campaigning with us.

"She was saying that we could actually win, which I think is more than what I expected when I decided to do that.

"But she fired everybody up, you take that positive message, there's not a single vote that's been cast, we take nothing for granted at all."

READ MORE: George Galloway rules out Rutherglen by-election bid

The SNP candidate in the race is local councillor Katy Loudon, while Labour has selected local teacher Michael Shanks.

Meanwhile, in other by-election news, George Galloway has ruled out a bid for the seat — despite convincing hundreds of supporters to hand over thousands of pounds for the “inevitable” contest just three years ago.

Shortly after Margaret Ferrier’s Covid rule breaches came to light in late 2020, the former MP and Celebrity Big Brother contestant launched the “largest ever crowd-funder in the history of by-elections.”

He managed to raise £12,239 over 45 days in late 2020 thanks to the generosity of 422 supporters.

Speaking to the Sunday Post over the weekend, Mr Galloway said voters in Rutherglen and Hamilton West should back Labour’s Michael Shanks.

He said: “I think nobody should stand except the best placed pro-Union candidate, which in this case is obviously Labour.

“It should be a straight Labour-SNP fight and that should be the case in every contest until we have ridden Scotland of this scourge of separatism.”

He said the money raised was used as a “fighting fund” for his now defunct All For Unity party at the last Scottish Parliament election.

Mr Galloway told the paper: “We could not have been clearer.

“We said in the fundraiser that any funds not spent on a by-election will be spent on the Holyrood election of ’21.

“It’s been a long time waiting on this by-election.”

READ MORE: Wes Streeting: UK and Scottish Labour 'don't need same hymn sheet'

In other news, Count Binface says he is mulling over a possible tilt at the vacancy created after constituents recalled Ms Ferrier.

The intergalactic space lord recently won 190 votes at the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election sparked by the resignation of Boris Johnson.

That meant he took eighth place in a field of 18 candidates, finishing ahead UKIP and Piers Corbyn.

He told The Herald that the South Lanarkshire seat was “a location of prime galactic importance”

“And I’m not just saying that to curry favour with local constituents of voting age. Honest,” he added.

The Count said:” I think I owe it to the ‘mainstream’ parties to keep my electoral powder dry for now, and not to tip them off about whether they’ll be facing interstellar competition or not. I like to have them quaking in their boots for as long as possible.

“Whether I stand in the RAHW contest or not, I am a big fan of Scotland, and I hope to be seeing a lot more of that great land sometime in the next twelve months or so.”