JACKIE Baillie has been slammed after she urged the SNP to commit to holding the Rutherglen and Hamilton West as soon as possible – despite the party having done so two weeks ago.

In an email sent under a Scottish Labour banner but from a UK Labour address, Baillie urged party members to complain to the SNP’s chief whip at Westminster over the timing of the upcoming by-election.

She wrote: “After being failed for years, Rutherglen and Hamilton West has the chance to vote for a fresh start in the coming by-election.

“The earliest possible date for the coming by-election is the 5th of October. But shamefully, the SNP has failed to promise to deliver the by-election on this date.”

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Baillie went on: “The people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West should not wait a day longer than need be for the fresh start they deserve. Email SNP chief whip Brendan O’Hara to send a clear message that Rutherglen and Hamilton West wants the by-election to be held on the 5th of October.

“No delay – the people deserve their say.”

But the SNP committed to having the by-election held at the “earliest possible point” less than one day after it was confirmed.

Margaret Ferrier was removed as an MP through a recall petition on August 1.

On August 2, SNP MP David Linden said: “The SNP chief whip Brendan O’Hara will move the writ the first week that Parliament returns from summer recess – that’s the earliest possible point we can do it – and we aim to do that and ensure that we have that by-election as quickly as possible.”

An SNP spokesperson told The National Baillie (below) had been “too busy playing politics” to have seen the commitment.

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They said: "The SNP has already confirmed they will move the writ as soon as they can.

“Dame Jackie Baillie has clearly been too busy playing politics, and trying to figure out what her Labour party stand for, to have noticed."

Keir Starmer, the UK Labour leader, is to campaign in Rutherglen on Tuesday.

The Labour candidate in the constituency, Michael Shanks, has insisted that he would oppose Starmer on policies such as support for the Tories’ two-child benefit cap should he be elected.

Whether Scottish Labour can draw a line between its own policy and that of the UK party, which ultimately has control, has become a key issue in the Rutherglen by-election.