BAILLIESTON is a “Yes area”, city councillor David Turner said after winning a by-election in March.

He picked up the seat after veteran Labour councillor Jim Coleman was removed due to non-attendance over six months.

Turner’s success means two of the three Baillieston council seats are held by SNP members – the other belongs to Tory councillor Philip Charles.

Part of the ward sits in the Scottish Parliament constituency of Glasgow Shettleston, which recent election results also show to be a “Yes area”.

At the 2016 poll, John Mason – who is standing for the SNP again this month – extended his majority as the Labour vote plummeted.

READ MORE: Election 2021 Maryhill and Springburn profile: Possilpark bids to get street smart for the future

Mason had taken the seat from Labour’s Frank McAveety, a former Glasgow City Council leader, in 2011, with only a slim majority of 586 votes.

But, in 2016, that increased to 7323 votes, with Labour’s vote falling by 17.9%.

Thomas Kerr, the Tory candidate, who is also standing again this year, was third in the constituency, where there was a 6.9% increase in votes for his party.

Prior to 2011, McAveety had held the seat since the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Competing with Mason and Kerr for votes in Shettleston are Labour’s Pauline McNeill and Lib Dems candidate Matthew Clark.

McNeill, who represented Glasgow Kelvin between 1999 and 2011, got back into Holyrood on the regional list in 2016.

This year, as well as standing in Shettleston, she tops Labour’s list, ahead of Anas Sarwar, the party’s leader in Scotland.

“Polls predict an SNP majority,” McNeill said. “But Glasgow Shettleston deserves an MSP who will work for everyone in the area as well as a better opposition in the Scottish Parliament.”

Clark, who works for a financial services company, will be looking to improve on his party’s result in 2016, when it finished in fifth, 15 votes behind the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Glasgow Shettleston starts at Glasgow Green and the Saltmarket and runs to Swinton, Baillieston and Broomhouse, taking in major roads like the Gallowgate, London Road and Shettleston Road.

Calton, Carmyle, Bridgeton, Dalmarnock, Parkhead, Tollcross, Shettleston, Mount Vernon and Barlanark all sit within the constituency.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation shows the constituency has some of the most deprived areas in Scotland, but there is also regeneration work under way.

Running since 2008, Clyde Gateway, a partnership between Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, has invested £1.5bn, creating business space and thousands of homes and benefitting areas such as Dalmarnock and Bridgeton.

Recently, a deal, funded by the council, has been agreed for the Bellgrove Hotel, which will lead to its redevelopment.

Concerns for the welfare of men living in the hotel, which was privately owned and therefore not subject to the same rules as council-run hostels, have existed for years.

Glasgow Times:

Mason claimed the SNP had been responsible for “a lot of great things” in the constituency in recent years, including building affordable housing and redeveloping old industrial land.

“Locally we see new affordable housing in Parkhead, Calton, Bridgeton, Shettleston and Barlanark to name just a few places.

“It is especially good to know that the days of the Bellgrove Hotel are now numbered – one of my longstanding aims.

“And Clyde Gateway and others have been reinventing our old industrial landscapes and creating new jobs in the community.”

Mason also said train services and stations have continued to improve while new cycle lanes, on London Road and elsewhere, are “more than welcome”.

He added: “Covid-19 has brought its challenges which is why the East End needs a new SNP Government led by Nicola Sturgeon to rebuild Scotland in the coming five years.

“If re-elected, I commit to continuing to be available to all constituents with an open and welcoming office.”

Glasgow Times:

McNeill, as Labour’s shadow minister for housing, communities and equality, has pushed for action to protect renters in Scotland, proposing a Fair Rents Bill which would cap rent rises at one percent above inflation.

She is standing in Shettleston to “fight for a Glasgow recovery above all else”.

“The pandemic has made many problems that already existed even worse,” she said.

“A Glasgow recovery means; creating well-paid jobs, reversing the cuts to the NHS and councils, building good quality affordable houses and investing in education at all stages.”

Thousands of people across the city are worried about their incomes and futures, the Labour candidate added.

“Too many businesses and workers have fallen through the cracks of government support.

“Tragically, it has also led to many mourning the loss of a loved one.

“We need MSPs who understand the next five years will be about repairing that damage as well as the damage caused by years of cuts to services we all rely on.”

Glasgow Times: Thomas KerrThomas Kerr

Kerr said, as someone born and bred in the East End, the people of Shettleston “know that in me they have a local champion who cares passionately about our community”.

“A community that has been let down for generations by successive Labour and SNP politicians who care more about their own egos than standing up for local people,” he added.

He claims he can offer “change that will help steer our country away from a decade of division and grievance”.

“Change that will end fourteen years of nationalist rule that he decimated Scotland’s reputation for educational excellence and eroded the civil liberties that we all cherish.”

Kerr said voters have a clear choice. “Only a vote for me in the constituency and a vote for the Scottish Conservatives on your peach party list vote guarantees a 100% focus on recovery and rebuilding our communities, rather than the SNP dragging us through another divisive referendum.”

Glasgow Times:

Lib Dems candidate Clark has lived in the city for ten years after deciding to study at the University of Glasgow.

“I know life isn’t always easy or fair,” he said. “I have been registered blind for all my life, have lived experience of mental health difficulties in both university and working life and have experienced discrimination.

“But I don’t let this dampen my optimism of ambition. Life in Glasgow, living, working with and learning from diverse communities has only made me more optimistic, more ambitious, for what we can achieve when we work together.”

Clark promises his party will put recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic first.

“I believe we can help us bring some good from, and a greater future after, these challenging recent times,” he said.

“If you agree, please support me and support the Scottish Liberal Democrats.”