SNP ‘review’ in Rutherglen by-election after zero hours contract dispute

The Scottish Sun reported that one leaflet told a local resident: “I don’t support the SNP – I just get paid to hand out this crap. “It’s also a zero-hours contract.”

Any use of zero-hours contracts would expose the SNP to accusations of hypocrisy, as it has condemned them as “exploitative” and demanded Holyrood be given the power to ban them.

Katy Loudon, the SNP candidate in Rutherglen, called it “draconian” last month.

The Scottish Sun said the SNP refused to name the company it used to hand-distribute the leaflets or whether they were on zero-hours contracts.

READ MORE: ‘Desperate’ SNP pays campaign workers in Rutherglen by-election

However, on Sunday evening the SNP said it would take action following the report.

A spokesman said: “The SNP will always support fair work and fight to protect workers from exploitation.”

“The distribution of this brochure was contracted out by an intermediary to a reputable third-party company. We are currently reviewing our distribution agreements.”

The use of hired workers came to light just days after the SNP was accused of “desperation” for asking its staff in London for help ahead of the October 5 vote.

Scottish Labor deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “As the SNP’s desperate election campaign fails, it is disappointing but not shocking to see that they are having to pay people to hand out leaflets full of empty rhetoric.”

“While the SNP is pushing zero-hours contracts to make up for its lack of support, a Labor government would introduce a new deal for working people – ending exploitative contracts.”

The Herald reported in July that SNP activists had complained of “embarrassment” at being asked to campaign for the party amid its financial problems, including a police investigation, and lack of progress on independence. A councilor admitted that people could not in good conscience ask people to vote for the SNP at this stage.

The SNP is seen as an underdog in the by-election, which was triggered by former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier being thrown out of parliament by local voters in a recall petition.

Ms Ferrier, who had a majority of 5,230 votes over Labor in 2019, broke Covid lockdown rules.

READ MORE: Scottish ministers spent £2.5m to avoid deporting Prestwick Airport

Both the SNP and Labor see the by-election as an important test of popularity ahead of the general election.

The SNP also faces questions about whether all of its leaflets comply with Electoral Commission guidelines, which say they must include the organiser, printer and beneficiary.

Some leaflets say they are being promoted by the SNP and credit the printer, but do not mention that they are being promoted “on behalf of Katy Loudon”.

The apparent mistake coincides with the SNP losing chief executive Peter Murrell, who has 20 years of campaigning experience, and replacing him with former journalist Murray Foote.

An SNP spokesman told the Sun that the leaflets complied with the rules.

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