MICHAEL Shanks is Scotland’s newest MP after winning the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election.

Voters will went to the polls in the battleground constituency on Thursday after the seat was vacated by former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier following a recall petition.

Although there were 14 candidates in total competing, Shanks won more than 50% of the vote. He scooped 17,845 ballots, while the SNP came second on 8399.

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Here’s all you need to know about the new MP for the Labour Party.

Who is Michael Shanks?

The 35-year-old is a modern studies teacher at a secondary school in Renfrewshire – a similar background to his rival Katy Loudon, the SNP’s candidate, who was a primary school teacher before entering politics.

Shanks has previously hit the headlines away from the world of politics for running all of Glasgow’s 6000 streets (below).

The National:

He has said he believes a victory for Labour would be a chance for the party to show they are “really back in Scotland”.

Has he any experience of politics?

Shanks unsuccessfully stood for election at a variety of levels on three occasions.

He tried for a place on Glasgow City Council in 2012. In 2016, he ran for the Glasgow Kelvin seat in Holyrood but lost out to the SNP’s Sandra White.

In 2017, he ran for the Glasgow North West seat in the General Election although again lost out to the SNP, this time to MP Carol Monaghan.

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He also quit the Labour Party on the day of the 2019 General Election in protest at the party’s stance on Brexit.

What did he say on the campaign trail?

Shanks (below) launched a number of attacks on the SNP during his time campaigning.

He dismissed Loudon’s suggestion that Labour’s “arrogance and entitlement” wouldn’t go down well with voters as “ridiculous”.

“I think it’s surprising from a party that hasn’t really shown up to campaign in the first place. We’ve been at this for six months. We’ve talked to more than 30,000 people”, Shanks told The Scotsman.

The National: Scottish Labour candidate Michael Shanks with party deputy leader Jacqui Baillie

“We’ve been out pounding the streets. They’ve been nowhere to be seen. So I think the suggestion that we’ve been arrogant is ridiculous.”

Differences of opinion

Shanks has gone against Keir Starmer on a variety of policies, something which he says shows the “maturity of devolution”.

For example, he said he would vote to abolish the two-child benefit cap if he wins the seat, describing the policy as “heinous”.

However, the pledge was branded “not good enough” by Humza Yousaf as he pointed out Starmer would have to bring a vote on the issue for Shanks to go against it.

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He has also admitted that Scottish Labour and Starmer have “differences of opinion” when it comes to gender reform.

Scottish Labour previously backed the Scottish Government’s plans to allow people to change their gender, but UK Labour have said they do not support trans self-ID.

Shanks however said: “Personally, I support the demedicalisation of that process, as the Scottish Labour Party does, but we also put in place a whole series of amendments that the SNP refused to accept.

“So the bill in Scotland is not a good bill – it could be much, much better.”

He also pledged to “fight for a whole suite of measures to lift people out of poverty”

“I don’t think the bedroom tax is a good idea and I would be campaigning against that. But the reality is we’re going to inherit an economic mess from the Conservative Party and it’s right an incoming Labour government is responsible with fiscal policy.”

Brexit stance

The by-election candidate has said he wasn’t “against” rejoining the EU and insisted he hadn’t changed his principles over Brexit but that now was not the right time for a debate on the issue.

The SNP have accused Shanks of being “all over the place” on Brexit in a bid to appease his Westminster bosses.

We previously told how Shanks had been accused of “flip-flopping” on Brexit in relation to deleting a decade-old tweet.

He posted on Twitter/X in 2014 that anyone who resigned from a local party position over Europe was “fibbing”.

Shanks then resigned from Labour in 2019 over its stance on Brexit.