The SNP's candidate in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election has defended Margaret Ferrier after Labour claimed the constituency had been without proper representation for years.

Katy Loudon said the Covid rule-breaking MP had been working for her constituents over the last three years. 

In a wide-ranging interview with the PA, the councillor accused her rival of “untruth and misdirection.”

Labour said the SNP's record in government meant there was "little surprise" that the party was running a negative campaign. 

With just three left in the crunch contest, tensions are running high.

Both First Minister Humza Yousaf and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar are due on the campaign trail today, and Scottish Green co-convenor Lorna Slater will be out tomorrow night on the eve of polls opening.

READ MORE: Three police stations in Rutherglen and Hamilton West set to close

The by-election was sparked after voters in the South Lanarkshire seat ousted Ms Ferrier in a recall petition following her suspension from Parliament. 

The ex-MP was found guilty of wilfully exposing her constituents “to the risk of infection, illness and death” in 2020. 

Though she had the SNP whip removed, she sat in the Commons as an independent. 

With Labour’s campaign calling for a “fresh start” for the constituency, one of the frequent criticisms from the party has been that voters have been left without proper representation.

The Herald:

Earlier this week, Mr Shanks said the seat has been left “voiceless in parliament” for too long.

In an interview with the PA, Ms Loudon said that was inaccurate.

She said: “It’s not true to say that this area hasn’t had an MP – they have had an independent MP who as far as I know was working for them during that time.

“The story of this by-election is about contrast – not about what happened three years ago, it’s about what is happening just now and Labour are offering nothing.”

Ms Loudon also criticised comments made by Mr Shanks in the Herald on Saturday, when he said the SNP had “hardly shown up to the fight.” 

“We've not once seen the SNP do canvassing,” he added. 

Ms Lourdon told the PA: “I was described as being parachuted in to a constituency where I’ve lived for 14 years. It’s a nonsense. And to say that we’ve not been out on the doorstep – there’s a lot of untruth and misdirection just now.

“They are not being straight with people about what is going on in this area, and they’re not being straight with people about what they are going to do for this area.”

Ms Loudon said she would happily speak out on issues which disproportionately impacted her constituents.

She said: “I’m not shy to come forward. I’ve got the ear of the First Minister and the ear of ministers, especially through this campaign.”

READ MORE: Rutherglen & Hamilton West interview: Labour candidate Michael Shanks

Responding, Mr Shanks said: “While other parties have been relentlessly negative in their campaigns, Scottish Labour has been focused on the priorities of the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

“From making work pay to putting money into the pockets of the people of the area, I have been proud to run a campaign that puts the people of the area first.

“But the fact is that the SNP’s campaign has been all about Labour – and it’s not hard to figure out why.

“From threatening to raise council and income tax on working families to closing neonatal units and police stations, it’s little surprise that the SNP isn’t running a positive campaign.

“The fact is that the SNP is so desperate they have started using exploitative zero-hours contracts in an attempt to deliver leaflets due to lack of volunteers.

“The Tories and the SNP have nothing to offer the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West but more failure, division and incompetence.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens by-election candidate Cameron Eadie said voters in Rutherglen and Hamilton West should “put people and planet at the top of the agenda by electing the first ever Scottish Green MP.”