Labour has won two key council by-elections in Glasgow and in North Lanarkshire.

The party successfully defended the Cardonald seat which fell vacant following the untimely death of Alistair Watson. Jim Kavanagh was elected with a ten point increase in the Labour vote compared to the May council elections.

In Fortissat, North Lanarkshire, Clare Quigley gained the seat from the Tories, with the SNP finishing third.

Cardonald is part of the Glasgow South West constituency, where Labour cut the SNP majority to 60 votes during the General Election, while Fortissat is part of Airdrie and Shotts, which Labour came within 195 votes of winning.

Interim Scottish Labour leader, Alex Rowley, said:

“These are two fantastic results which make clear that Labour is on the way back in Scotland.

These are seats in areas that the SNP thought were safe for decades – instead the Labour vote increased by ten points in Glasgow and the SNP were pushed into third in Fortissat.

Clare Quigley and Jim Kavanagh will be tireless fighters for their communities.

Labour’s radical message of hope is winning back Scots fed up of a decade of an SNP government over promising and under delivering.”

Fortissat Councillor Clare Quigley said:

“I am delighted that the people of Fortissat have put their faith in me as their new councillor. I’m looking forward to standing up for local people in the council chamber, and joining a Labour group which is defending vital local services from brutal cuts made by the SNP government in Edinburgh.”

Cardonald Councillor Jim Kavanagh said:

“This was a by-election no-one in Glasgow wanted, but I will work tirelessly to stand up for the people of Cardonald and honour the memory of Alistair Watson.  Only Labour in Glasgow is standing up against austerity and for a city that works for the many, not the few.”