FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf has accused Labour of “complacency” over the looming Rutherglen by-election, adding that they have “already decided they’ve won it”.

Labour leader Keir Starmer was on a visit to South Lanarkshire on Friday morning, after a vote to suspend the seat’s current MP Margaret Ferrier was called off.

MPs had been expected to vote to remove Ferrier, who repeatedly broke Covid rules in 2020, from the House of Commons, but not enough parliamentarians turned up, so the ballot was called off.

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And on Friday, both party leaders were quizzed about the looming by-election, but with the Commons now in recess until June 5, a recall petition to allow a local ballot to go ahead is even further away.

Speaking during a visit to the Clarice Pears building at the University of Glasgow on Friday, the First Minister was asked if he was feeling the pressure of Labour “closing in” on the SNP.

“We're never complacent, never ever complacent,” the FM said.

“I've always said that and as part of the SNP whether we won seven elections, or eight elections in a row, how many elections we win, we should never ever take the people of Scotland for granted.

“And we don't, that's why we work to earn and re-earn their trust.”

Yousaf added that he had been out knocking doors in Rutherglen and intends to be there “regularly”, adding that the SNP are “confident not complacent”.

“The Labour Party have already decided before a by-election is even called that they've won it, and that's complacency.

“And that's, of course, this is why the Scottish Labour Party are in the position that they’re in.”

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Yousaf also rejected parallels between the SNP’s position now and Labour’s prior to 2011.

“We will never take the people of Scotland for granted in the way that Scottish Labour has done – and is doing already [by] declaring victory in a by-election that hasn't even been called yet,” he added.

“It shows to me their hubris. We won't display a level of arrogance that the Scottish Labour Party clearly are displaying at the moment.

“What we'll do is we'll work hard, talk to people in Rutherglen and Hamilton West and do everything we can as I say to not just earn but re-earn their trust.”

It comes as the Labour leader voiced “frustration” at the delayed vote to suspend Ferrier.

During his visit to Rutherglen with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Starmer said: “This vote needs to get out the way, we need change, first opportunity we get for that by-election, we need to be there fighting it and making sure there's a powerful voice for this constituency in the parliament.

“Well, the timing is a frustration for all of us. But I think, you know, I'm seeing this and hearing this through the eyes and ears of those people who live here.

“They haven't had effective representation for three years, and now to say to them, it'll take even longer before you get a Labour replacement, who can give you the voice that you need in Parliament.

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“That's a frustration not just for me as leader of the Labour Party. We want to get on with this fight.

“We want to have this fight, we want to establish a powerful voice for this constituency, a Labour voice, but it's really frustrating for the people who live here.”

The party has selected teacher Michael Shanks to stand in any potential contest, and has previously deployed Scottish leader Sarwar and his deputy Jackie Baillie there to campaign in recent weeks.

Shanks previously left the party over Brexit and was shielded from the press when he was launched as a candidate earlier this month.