Aberdeen South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 11087 (22.8%)
Labour: 12991 (26.8%)
Lib Dem: 2252 (4.6%)
SNP: 20221 (41.6%)
Green: 964 (2%)
UKIP: 897 (1.8%)
Independent: 139 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 7230 (14.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, North East. Part of the Aberdeen City council area.

Main population centres: Aberdeen, Cults, Peterculter, Milltimber.

Profile: Aberdeen South consists of the Southern part of Aberdeen itself and the more rural areas to the West of the city, including the middle class suburbs of Peterculter, Bieldside and Cults. There are also more working class areas included in the seat, such as the post-war estates in Torry, Kincorth and Nigg..

Politics: The seat was won by Labour in 1997, having had the distinction of being the only seat that Labour lost in the 1992 election. It had been held by the Labour MP Dame Anne Begg, only the second full time wheelchair user elected to the Commons, but was lost to the SNP in their 2015 landslide.

Current MP
CALLUM MCCAIG (SNP) Educated at Edinburgh University. Former Parliamentary assistant. Aberdeen councillor since 2007, former leader of Aberdeen council. First elected as MP for Aberdeen South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 8914 (21%)
Lab: 15722 (37%)
LDem: 12216 (28%)
SNP: 5102 (12%)
Oth: 1080 (3%)
MAJ: 3506 (8%)
Con: 7134 (17%)
Lab: 15272 (37%)
LDem: 13924 (33%)
SNP: 4120 (10%)
Oth: 1171 (3%)
MAJ: 1348 (3%)
Con: 7098 (19%)
Lab: 14696 (40%)
LDem: 10308 (28%)
SNP: 4293 (12%)
Oth: 495 (1%)
MAJ: 4388 (12%)
Con: 11621 (26%)
Lab: 15541 (35%)
LDem: 12176 (28%)
SNP: 4299 (10%)
Oth: 425 (1%)
MAJ: 3365 (8%)

2015 Candidates
ROSS THOMSON (Conservative) Born Aberdeen. Educated at Bridge of Don Academy and Aberdeen University. Retail store trainer. Aberdeen councillor since 2012. Contested Gordon 2010.
ANNE BEGG (Labour) Born 1955, Bechin. Educated at Brechin High School and Aberdeen University. History and english teacher. MP for Aberdeen South 1997 to 2015. Begg was born with Gaucher Disease and is the first full time wheelchair user to be elected to the Commons.
DENIS RIXSON (Liberal Democrat)
CALLUM MCCAIG (SNP) Educated at Edinburgh University. Parliamentary assistant. Aberdeen councillor since 2007, former leader of Aberdeen council.
Comments - 246 Responses on “Aberdeen South”
  1. Have the boundary commission not started trying to find different names for Holyrood and Westminster seats? Hence we get unpleasant things like Edinburgh Eastern, because they’ve already used Edinburgh East for Westminster. I assume that’s why we get Aberdeenshire West for Holyrood and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine for Westminster.

  2. @ Simon – Yes, which is a pretty ridiculous policy IMO. That does not prevent them from using the name ‘West Aberdeenshire’: a separate constituency name from West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine (which should really be called Kincardine & Deeside anyway).

  3. Who knows what sort of horrific boundaries we are in for at the 2018 Review in Aberdeenshire.

  4. Stonehaven is an awful name for the constituency. It covers but a fraction of the seat’s electorate: it does not describe the seat in any meaningful way.

    The name “Kincardine and Deeside” is the historical name for this seat based off of the former Kincardine and Deeside district council for the Grampian region. It is a substantially more accurate representation of the seat, representing the region of Deeside towards the west of the seat (the part of Marr that is covered by Aberdeenshire) and Kincardine in the east (a historic and proud county based around the eastern section of the constituency, covering a majority of the seat’s electors).

    An alternative name for those living elsewhere in the UK could be the simplistic “South Aberdeenshire”, a name I completely detest (and so would many of the seat’s electors living in Kincardine).

    I can’t really speak for English constituency names.

  5. “To be honest the town of Paisley should never have been split into two separate constituencies to begin with.”

    Yep……after 1983 Paisley became –

    Paisley North (Strathclyde Regional Divisions: 75 Paisley Craigielea, 78 Paisley Abercorn and 81 Renfrew).

    Paisley South (Strathclyde Regional Divisions: 76 Paisley Gleniffer, 77 Paisley Central and 80 Johnston).

    80 Johnston and 81 Renfrew came from Renfrewshire West.

  6. A lot of naming isn’t always so easy.

    My preference when naming a constituency is to make the name as concise as possible, preferably using historical constituency names. I prefer using the District Council names where they allow for concise naming. With this in mind I would change the following constituencies:

    * Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk -> Selkirk, Roxburgh & Berwickshire
    This would better represent the preceding constituency of Roxburgh & Berwickshire.

    * Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East -> Cumbernauld & Kirkintilloch East
    I’m less sure about this one as the preceding seat based in North Lanarkshire was called Cumbernauld & Kilsyth, however the District Council covering the same area just simply named ‘Cumbernauld’. To cut down the seats unnecessarily high word count I’ve chopped out Kilsyth from the name.

    * Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale -> Annandale & Tweeddale
    A more accurate shortening down of the constituency name which is based in Annandale and Tweeddale. The seat only covers around a third of Dumfriesshire (excludes the town of Dumfries and much of Nithsdale) and a fraction of Clydesdale, making the current name extremely misleading and unneccessarily long.

    * Dunfermline & West Fife -> Dunfermline
    There’s no precedent for ‘West Fife’ to be in the constituency name when the preceeding constituencies in the area were Dunfermline East and Dunfermline West. This would follow the District Council name of Dunfermline, which covers the entire constituency (plus parts of the Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath seat).

    * East Kilbride, Lesmahagow & Strathaven -> East Kilbride (or East Kilbride & Lesmahagow)
    Follows the East Kilbride District Council name which covers the vast majority of the constituency including Strathaven, although not Lesmahagow.

    * Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey -> Inverness & Nairn
    The constituency is fully covered by the Counties of Inverness and Nairn. To chop down it’s huge word count I’ve named it as such.

    * Kilmarnock & Loudoun -> Kilmarnock (or Kilmarnock & Ballochmyle)
    The old Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency followed the exact same boundaries to that of the former Kilmarnock constituency, as such I’ve chopped Loudoun (literally a random village in the Irvine Valley) from the name. It could be made more accurate by the attachment of Ballochmyle to the name, which was the area added to the constituency as of the 2005 Review, however I decided against adding this to the name as the constituency name already excludes Ballochmyle from its name.

    * Lanark & Hamilton East -> Hamilton East & Lanark
    Moved Hamilton before Lanark so that when alphabetised the seat aligns with the other constituency covering the town of Hamilton (Hamilton West & Rutherglen)

    * Motherwell & Wishaw -> Motherwell
    Named after the District Council which the seat was covered by.

    * Na h-Eileanan an Iar -> Western Isles (or Outer Hebrides)
    The constituency is 99% English speaking and around 50% Gaelic speaking. There’s no need for this name.

    * Paisley & Renfrewshire South -> South Renfrewshire
    Removed Paisley from the constituency name as it already forms part of Renfrewshire, and is a completely unnecessary attachment to the seats name. Move the compass point before the rural area in line with Boundary Commission trends.

    * Paisley & Renfrewshire North -> North Renfrewshire
    See above.

    * Perth & North Perthshire -> North Perthshire
    Removed Perth from the constituency name as it is already covered within Perthshire.

    * Ross, Skye & Lochaber -> Skye, Lochaber & Wester Ross
    Added Wester Ross to the seat’s name as it covers the western part of Ross-shire: keeping it in line with the naming precedent set by the Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross constituency which covers the eastern section of Ross.

    * Rutherglen & Hamilton West -> Hamilton West & Rutherglen
    Moved Hamilton before Rutherglen so that when alphabetised the seat aligns with the other constituency covering the town of Hamilton (Hamilton East & Lanark)

    * West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine -> Kincardine & Deeside
    See post above.

    Some other possible changes I am slightly less fond of:
    * Airdrie & Shotts -> East Monklands
    Named after District Council which covered the constituency to avoid the use of a dash in the long Coatbridge constituency name.

    * Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock -> South Ayrshire
    Named after the historic constituency of South Ayrshire to avoid the use of a dash in the constituency name – however may be confused with the council area of South Ayrshire. I prefer the current seat name.

    * Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill -> West Monklands
    See Airdrie & Shotts.

  7. Whilst I believe Motherwell and Wishaw sounds nice there is also precedent to rename the seat to Motherwell, as the seat used to be called this beforehand…

  8. @ Dalek same goes for Hamilton.

  9. Next you’re going to join up Airdire and Coatbridge and call it “Coatbridge”…

  10. @ Bill Patrick – that would be Monklands.

  11. If you want we can name Kilmarnock & Loudoun the more apt “Kilmarnock, Annick, Irvine Valley & Ballochmyle”, or even better we could have “Annandale, East Nithsdale, South Clydesdale and Tweeddale” as a more accurate constituency name for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale.

    By this very naming convention the name ‘Airdrie & Shotts’ cannot suffice. We must instead be as concise as possible, naming the seat “Airdrie, Benhar, Caldercruix, Dykehead, Holytown, Salsburgh, Stane, New Monklands West, Newmains and Plains” to ensure that no town is left behind.

    There is alternative New Monklands for the Airdrie constituency and Old Monklands for Coatbridge constituency.

  12. Monklands Rangers and Monklands Celtic?

  13. Kyle and Carrick is not a suitable constituency name for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock.

    In a historical sense the constituency is covered fully by the Counties of Kyle and Carrick, however Kyle also extends north to cover the remainder of the South Ayrshire council area – which is covered by the Central Ayrshire constituency – and north-east to cover Ballochmyle – which is in Kilmarnock & Loudoun.

    In the District Council sense the name is not suitable as Kyle & Carrick refers to the South Ayrshire council area, the seat only covers around half of South Ayrshire plus a fraction of East Ayrshire, located within the old Cumnock & New Cumnock District Council.

    Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock is therefore a satisfactory name for the constituency.

  14. “* Paisley & Renfrewshire South -> South Renfrewshire
    Removed Paisley from the constituency name as it already forms part of Renfrewshire, and is a completely unnecessary attachment to the seats name. Move the compass point before the rural area in line with Boundary Commission trends.

    * Paisley & Renfrewshire North -> North Renfrewshire
    See above.”

    I would put the whole of Paisley into one constituency and form a Renfrewshire Constituency from the rest of Renfrewshire Council.

  15. If I lived here I would have undoubtedly voted for Anne Begg in 2015, probably swayed towards Conservative for Holyrood.

  16. They might, but it won’t really matter much. They don’t have the growth potential required to ever take the seat.

  17. 9.5% swing to the Tories, trimming SNP majority to 8.6%

  18. Tories seem to have won across the West End of Aberdeen.

  19. Could the Tories take two councillors around Hazlehead/Ashley/Queens Cross?

  20. We’ll get an idea in the by-election that follows Ross Thomson’s election.

  21. Indeed.

  22. Graham Simpson is Conservative councillor for East Kilbride West.

    Jeremy Balfour was the Conservative group leader in Edinburgh in 2012, representing the Corstorphine/Murrayfield ward.

    Maurice Corry is Conservative councillor for Lomond North in Argyll & Bute.

    Douglas Ross is Conservative councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde in Moray.

    Alexander Stewart is Conservative councillor for Perth City South.

    Mark Ruskell is Green councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan (Stirling).

    Monica Lennon is Labour councillor for Hamilton North and East.

    Colin Smyth is Labour councillor for Nith, Dumfries and Galloway.

    Mairi Evans is SNP councillor for Brechin and Edzell, Angus.

    Gail Ross is SNP councillor for Wick, Highland.

    Fulton MacGregor is SNP councillor for Coatbridge North and Glenboig, North Lanarkshire.

    Ruth Maguire is SNP councillor for Irvine West, North Ayrshire.

  23. This promises to be an interesting set of by-elections.

  24. Gordon went Liberal Democrat. Ochil and South Perthshire probably went Labour.

  25. No. Gordon went Liberal Democrat.

    The Gordon constituency of 1992 narrowly went to Liberal Democrats. This constituency included some of the more Conservative inclined parts of the Don Valley which are not included in the current seat.

    The existing constituency also extends into the north of Aberdeen City, covering a set of former Liberal Democrat suburbs where the Conservatives were almost non-existent in 1992! It almost certainly went Liberal Democrat.

    I have no clue why you think it went Conservative in 1992 unless it’s just a guess from your head.

  26. Another example of why notionals are of little use when tactical voting is widespread.

  27. To give you some idea: at the 1992 local election the Conservatives didn’t even bother to contest the Bridge of Don (also known as Denmore), Donmouth (also known as Oldmachar), Dyce North and Dyce South wards in Aberdeen.

    In 1988 they came third in all four wards…

  28. @ Simon this is from 1992, what do you mean?

  29. @NTYUK Because there were boundary changes between 1992 and 1997, so there were notionals created which had the Tories well ahead. I believe that a good part of the reason for this is that areas were added from Banff & Buchan and Moray, where the Lib Dems polled poorly. Unsurprisingly, most of the previous SNP voters from those areas voted for Bruce.

  30. Pretty much yes.

  31. Aberdeen South, Edinburgh South West and probably even Edinburgh South would have gone SNP on the list.

    On a very quick guess I would put Aberdeen South at around 40% SNP, 34% Conservative.

  32. Those figures are pretty good.

    I would suggest tweaking your figure for the SNP down a little (perhaps by 1%) in Aberdeen South. The Aberdeen South constituency excludes the slightly more SNP inclined area of North Kincardine (which forms a part of the Aberdeen South & North Kincardine constituency in the Scottish Parliament) and covers some of the more gentile parts of Aberdeen Central.

    Gordon is difficult to call, though on a quick glance those figures appear to be quite fair.

  33. The zombie review transformed East Dunbartonshire into a safe Lab (now safe SNP constituency) gaining solid SNP/ Labour areas to include all of the former Strathkelvin DC area and losing much of the LD/Con former Bearsden & Milngavie DC council area.

  34. “East Dunbartonshire notionals:
    SNP: 42%
    Conservative: 29%
    Liberal Democrat: 21%
    Labour: 7.8%”

    That one is very off…

    I’d say this is one of the easier ones to work out from my own notionals from 2015. Those numbers just don’t stack up (as they imply a massive/unrealistic Labour vote in Clydebank and Kirkintilloch).

    SNP 38%
    CON 26%
    LIB 25%
    LAB 11%

  35. (Adding: my figures include a healthy pinch of optimism for the blue camp).

  36. Tory targets for 2021:
    • Aberdeen South and North Kincardine
    • Edinburgh Pentlands
    • Edinburgh Southern
    • Perthshire South and Kinross-shire

  37. The MSP who is likely to replace him will not have expected to come close to being elected – he was sixth on the list, in 2011 the Cons had only two MSPs in the North East region.

  38. Real shame, he was a fantastic representative of Aberdeenshire.

  39. Here’s a rough list of the 10% least deprived constituencies in the UK which are predominantly urban according to data from the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

    Aberdeen South (SNP) – Conservative/Labour target

    Cardiff North (Con) – Labour target

    Edinburgh South (Lab) – Conservative/SNP target
    Edinburgh West (SNP) – Liberal Democrat target

    Surrey Heath (Con)

    East Dunbartonshire (SNP) – Liberal Democrat target
    East Renfrewshire (SNP) – Conservative/Labour target

    Harrogate and Knaresborough (Con)

    Beckenham (Con)
    Epsom and Ewell (Con)
    Esher and Walton (Con)
    Guildford (Con)
    Hemel Hempstead (Con)
    Reigate (Con)
    Richmond Park (Con/by-election: Lib)
    Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (Con)
    Runnymede and Weybridge (Con)
    St. Albans (Con)
    Twickenham (Con) – Liberal Democrat target
    Wimbledon (Con)
    Woking (Con)

    Altrincham and Sale West (Con)
    Cheadle (Con) – Liberal Democrat target

    Sheffield Hallam (Lib) – Labour target

    Fareham (Con)

    York Outer (Con)

    As elected in 2015:
    Conservative – 20
    Scottish National – 4
    Labour – 1
    Liberal Democrat – 1

  40. If the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can gain their Scottish targets (Labour holding Edinburgh South) then the breakdown would be as follows: Con 22, Lib 3, Labour 1, SNP 0.

  41. “Arent many of those suburban rather than urban? How do you define ‘urban’ and ‘suburban’? Curious.”

    I have gone for the distinction of urban v. rural: to make the list a constituency generally needs to be very suburban in nature, so you could say that they are mostly/wholly suburban seats rather than compact inner city constituencies.

    I defined the urban v. rural divide based on whether or not the vast majority of a constituency was located within a built-up urban area (with an exception for Harrogate). The more proper – albeit misleading – definition would be to determine which constituencies are officially designated as “burghs/boroughs” (generally speaking this only applies to constituencies contained wholly within city limits) and which are designated as “county” constituencies.

    “Thought the following would make the list
    Chelsea & Fulham
    Cities of London & Westminster

    Most of lot those constituencies have some inner city deprivation, so no they did not make the list.

    According to a map from a parliamentary paper on the matter those constituencies fell into the following deciles based to IMD data (where 1 = 10% most deprived constituencies and 10 = 10% least deprived constituencies):
    – Chelsea and Fulham: 7
    – Cities of London and Westminster: 6
    – Kensington: 6(? or 5)
    – Putney: 7

    Remember that this is about which areas are the least deprived: that does not necessarily mean that they are the most affluent (although they probably are!)

  42. Amused to hear Sturgeon say we’ll have a Tory Government for 20 years.

    I can see why she might think that might work in her favour (if she’s ever to get above 45% for independence) but to say it shows what she thinks of Corbyn and Farron.

  43. 3-4 terms is the norm for a governing party in Britain so 2025-2030 is a reasonable estimate.

  44. I’m personally putting my money on 2025

  45. Much will depend on how long Jeremy Corbyn remains at the Labour helm. I am not certain that he would go following a Labour defeat in 2020.

  46. I don’t think there’s much scope to compare, as much as people like to pretend British politics went in cycles it really didn’t and was actually quite erratic and these days even more so given there are so many weird variables. If anything I’d say 2015 was the 92 election however the comparisons are VERY limited since I don’t think Lab will win in 2020.

  47. Dalek
    We really need to nip this in the bud, its one thing to say one thinks Corbyn will hold on till the next election but the talk that Corbyn will cling to power even if he loses said election is ridiculous. The PLP and Lab apparatus have been out for Corbyn’s blood since day one, the only reason Corbyn is still here is cos the membership support him. Speaking as part of that pro Corbyn membership I can tell you a great many of us aren’t really feeling Corbyn as it stands right now and a great many more will be pushed that way if he loses, without the support of the membership Corbyn won’t have even a fragment of leg to stand on. Not only that its clear he doesn’t really want to be leader, he’ll bow out first chance he gets.

  48. May’s honeymoon can’t last for ever (much like Cameron’s more impressive polling lead during his honeymoon!) and Brexit negotiations will surely damage the presiding administration when they come to pass. If Labour can get rid of Corbyn and elect a competent leader then that could seriously challenge the Tories by 2020. A Conservative landslide in 2020 is not a given: although I accept that if there is a snap election they should do well.

    The Cameron administration was never really popular and I can’t see many more people responding more positively to May’s administration: more the best of the worst than the obvious choice.

  49. 2015 and 1992 do underline the fact that where an election is uncertain the Conservatives are the most likely to win with a majority. Perhaps they are the more natural choice for most British voters over Labour.

  50. Even Major had a reasonable honeymoon in the polls after 1992: John Smith and Major himself put a swift end to that one. Don’t take anything for granted: Labour can win…

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