Inside Scottish Labour selections: Ardrie and Shotts
The candidates hope to clinch the selection for the marginal Westminster constituency and Airdrie and Shotts, which the SNP retained in 2017 by a mere 195 votes.
Prior to 2015, Airdrie and Shotts had been a Labour stronghold since the constituency's creation in 1997, although Labour lost the seat in the SNP wave after the independence referendum.
Helen McFarlane, a veteran Unite activist and NHS worker, and Emma Busby, the local party treasurer, have declared their intention to be selected as Labour candidate.
McFarlane was the selected by the party to stand in 2017, drastically cutting the SNP’s majority from 8,779 to 195 votes.
In her campaign video, McFarlane asked members to support her candidacy;
“I’ve been working in the NHS for over 30 years now.
I know more than most the importance of the health service.
We don’t know when the next election is going to be, but I am ready.”
After the election McFarlane slammed the previous party leadership’s decision to prioritise certain seats over others in 2017, arguing the decision to unevenly distribute resources, despite the SNP majority in Airdrie and Shotts being the lowest in Lanarkshire.
She also drew attention to the fact that male candidates received paid staff allocated to their campaigns, whilst female ones in Lanarkshire did not.
An early backer of Richard Leonard’s leadership bid, McFarlane is a member of the Campaign for Socialism group, Momentum’s sister organisation in Scotland, and seen as the left-wing candidate.
Opposing her is Emma Busby, who announced on Facebook that she was “standing to be Airdrie and Shotts' next Labour MP"
"I have the experience, commitment and passion we need to win back this seat and form the next Labour Government.”
Busby, who is a constituency worker for Ian Murray MP, was a signatory of the open letter on Labour Hame which called for Jeremy Corbyn to stand down in 2016 “for the good of the party”.
The local party members will have their chance to vote for their candidate on the 21st of June.