"Labour's lost weekend - no leader, no candidate, and PM missing"
Campaigning in the Glasgow East by-election, and commenting on the latest development in Labour's candidate selection shambles that MSP Margaret Curran may become their candidate, Scottish National Party leader and Scotland's First Minister Mr Alex Salmond said:
"The SNP are fighting a strong campaign to win in Glasgow East. Our message to the people is that we are on your side, and we are off to a flying start with a first class candidate in Cllr John Mason – who has an outstanding track record of success in the constituency.
"Labour, by contrast, are in complete meltdown – both locally and nationally. This is their 'lost weekend' – they don't have a leader in Scotland, they don't have a candidate in Glasgow East, and they have a Prime Minister who refuses to come to the constituency.
"The combination of these extraordinary factors means that Labour have forfeited any right to represent the people of Glasgow East.
"The bizarre twists and turns in Labour's candidate selection shambles are chaos theory in action. They are scrabbling around trying to find someone – anyone – who is either able or willing to be their candidate. Labour are treating the people of Glasgow East with contempt – and the people will have their say on July 24, and the opportunity to elect an SNP MP who is on their side.
"Dither, inactivity and confusion characterise Gordon Brown's administration – and the malaise has clearly spread to the Labour Party in Scotland and Glasgow East.
"People in Glasgow and across Scotland are suffering from rising energy costs, rising household bills, and a range of other financial pressures. Yet Labour are doing nothing to help – they are completely immobilised. At a time of real need, Labour are posted missing in every sense. Enough is enough, and the people can call a halt in this by-election.
"Since the Prime Minister went to Jeddah two weeks ago, supposedly to try to get a downward trend in oil prices, the price of oil has hit a new record no fewer than three times.
"The Prime Minister is raking in an offshore oil windfall of some £5 billion – yet refuses to take the measures needed to bring relief to hard pressed families and business. And he refuses to give Scotland a fair share of our own oil wealth, which would give the Scottish people direct and long term benefits.
"Compared to this 'rabbit in the headlights' approach from the UK Labour government, the Scottish Government have taken decisive action to help people and the economy.
"Among the 140 measures the SNP have taken in government over the past year, we have frozen the Council Tax, begun the phased abolition of prescription charges, slashed business rates, installed a record number of free central heating installations, and restored free education.
"These positive and progressive policies show that the SNP Government are on the side of the people. And I believe that the people of Glasgow East are on the side of the SNP in this by-election."