SCOTTISH Labour will “throw everything” at winning a Rutherglen and Hamilton West byelection, Anas Sarwar has said. 

The party boss was in the constituency on Thursday morning as pressure continues to mount on shamed MP Margaret Ferrier to resign. 

The former SNP politician has been quiet ever since last week’s damning report from Parliament’s Standards Committee called for her to be suspended from the Commons for 30 days over Covid rule breaches. 

READ MORE: Margaret Ferrier faces 30 day Commons ban

If, as likely, MPs back the sanction when they return from recess, it will automatically trigger a recall petition. 

If 10% of eligible registered voters sign the petition within six weeks, Ms Ferrier loses her seat and a byelection is necessary.

However, unless she suddenly resigns, it could still be months before voters go to the polls. 

Speaking to The Herald, Mr Sarwar said people in the seat were “very angry” with the incumbent. 

He said Labour would be “fully engaged and fully active in any recall petition,” campaigning to get the signatures from voters. 

Though the SNP has also committed to registering as a campaigner in favour of the recall, Mr Sawar suggested the party may not be as committed as they claim. 

READ MORE: SNP call on Margaret Ferrier to resign

“There's one thing registering and one thing being a participant. It'd be interesting to see if they’re an active participant trying to get those signatures across the constituency.” 

“I imagine they're not very keen on a byelection,” he added. “How times have changed. Labour now looks forward to elections, rather than fears them.”

The Herald:

The constituency is one of Scottish Labour’s top five targets, a failure to win here would not bode well for their overall performance at next year’s general election

However, Mr Sarwar said the pressure he is under now is nothing compared to what it was when he took over as leader in 2021, just weeks before the Holyrood election

“Look, I'm going to throw everything at it and we're going to put all our energy into it, not be complacent. But am I eager to get out there and try to win the argument?

"Of course, I am. Because this country is desperate for change. This constituency is desperate for change. And Labour has to demonstrate that we are that change.”

READ MORE: Sir Keir Starmer suggests he sacked Richard Leonard

Earlier in the week, Sir Keir Samer said he had forced Richard Leonard out as Scottish party leader. 

In an interview with the Times, the UK Labour leader said he had to take “some pretty ruthless decisions” to turn his party around after the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. 

He said: “Look at Scotland, for example, now Sturgeon has gone. We may have an opportunity to win votes. But frankly, if we hadn’t changed the leader in Scotland two years ago, we would be at base camp rather than in a position to take advantage of that.”

Momentum, one of the left-wing blocs in Labour, tweeted: “Long suspected, now brazenly admitted: The UK Labour Leader actively forced out Scottish Labour’s democratically-elected leader. A shocking attack on devolution & democracy.”

The SNP’s deputy leader in Westminster, Mhairi Black, said Sir had admitted that Scottish Labour was “nothing more than a branch office under Westminster control.”

Mr Sarwar defended his predecessor, and said he wouldn’t be drawn on “gossip.”

“I don't really want to get involved in what happened before my time as party leader. all I would say is that Richard Leonard has been nothing but supportive and positive and effective in his role as an MSP in all my time that I've been party leader. 

“He's been an exceptional Chair of the Public Audit Committee, a role that I know he enjoys and does really, really well and will continue to do well for us. 

“So I'm not going to get engaged in any of that historical gossip or chat that's happened before. 

“In terms of my own role, I think people can see who's in charge, I think people can see who is leading the charge for us here in Scotland.

“I answer to my Scottish Executive Committee, I answer to my party members but fundamentally I answer to the Scottish people. 

“And I think the Scottish people can see that they have a Scottish Labour leader that is relentlessly focused on their priorities that is desperate to give them the Labour Party they deserve and is desperate to join with them to boot out the two failing governments that we have here in Scotland.”