A delighted Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar headed to Ayrshire today to hail his party's big win in the Kilwinning council by-election.

And he told an audience of Labour supporters and activists: "This is the first electoral test for the new First Minister John Swinney. And it saw more than 50 per cent of voters backing Labour, who had more than double the SNP's vote.

"It shows Labour is here to win in every party of the country again. And we will turn Scotland's electoral map red."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sarwar visit

Mr Sarwar paid a visit to Labour's Central Ayrshire office in Irvine to celebrate the success of their Kilwinning candidate Mary Hume.

And he said it proved his party were on course to regain seats across Ayrshire at the coming General Election.

He said: "It is a great result for us. Mary has been an absolutely phenomenal candidate and I know she will be an amazing servant for the people of Kilwinning. "

He was joined by all his party's Central Ayrshire candidate for the forthcoming General Election Alan Gemmell, as well as sitting MSPs Katy Clark and Carol Mochan.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Mary Hume with Anas Sarwar

The Scottish Labour leader said: "Ayrshire has been let down by two tired governments at Westminster and Holyrood.

"We have four amazing candidates for Ayrshire at the next General Election and together we will work to change people's lives for the better by reviving the NHS and the economy."

Central Ayrshire Labour candidate and Irvine man Alan Gemmell - a former diplomat and deputy High Commissioner in Western India - added: "We had had an absolutely brilliant result today and it shows that people are coming back to Labour. People are fed up with the Tories and the SNP and are looking to Labour again.

"It has been an absolute privilege to campaign with Mary. I know the voters of Central Ayrshire are ready to get rid of the SNP and the Tories - and we are going to do it."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sarwar in Irvine

Katy Clark, Scottish Labour MSP for West Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Mary Hume and the team, who ran a brilliant campaign. She won over half of all votes and I am certain that Mary will be a terrific representative for Kilwinning.

“It was clear on the doorstep that voters believe Scottish Labour can provide the change Kilwinning is crying out for.”