Willie Rennie wins the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election

The by-election was caused by the death of the sitting Labour MP, Rachel Squire after a long illness. Despite poor opinion poll ratings at the start of the campaign, and reports that Liberal Democrat ambitions were confined to holding off the SNP to retain second place, Rennie and his team pulled off the first by-election defeat for Labour in Scotland since they lost the Glasgow Govan seat to the SNP in 1988, turning a Labour majority of over 11,000 into a Lib Dem majority of 1,800. The by-election took place during the Lib Dem leadership election which followed the resignation of Charles Kennedy, a difficult time for the party. Sir Menzies Campbell, whose North East Fife seat was next door, and the winner of the leadership campaign said the victory had been won because of a ‘very good local candidate’ who had fought a ‘very good campaign’.