Argyll & Bute

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7733 (14.9%)
Labour: 5394 (10.4%)
Lib Dem: 14486 (27.9%)
SNP: 22959 (44.3%)
UKIP: 1311 (2.5%)
MAJORITY: 8473 (16.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Highlands and Islands. The whole of the Argyll and Bute council area.

Main population centres: Oban, Helensburgh, Rothesay, Inveraray, Tobermory, Lochgilphead, Campbeltown.

Profile: A Scottish seat covering a huge swathe of sparsely populated countryside. The seat includes the whole of the Argyll & Bute council area including many Scottish islands such as Mull, Bute, Jura, Tiree, Islay and the religious community on the isle of Iona, the burial place of the early Kings of Scotland. Other industries include tourism, forestry and fishing and, more recently, energy production through the expansion of wind farms. The seat also includes Faslane, the base of the UK`s Trident nuclear armed submarine fleet. The constituency is mainly rural. The two largest towns are the ferry port of Oban and Helensburgh, a commuter town for Glasgow.

Politics: Between 2001 and 2010 this constituency was something of a four way marginal, with as little as 10% dividing first to fourth place. In 2015 it followed most of the rest of Scotland in delivering an easy victory for the SNP.

Current MP
BRENDAN O`HARA (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at St Andrews Secondary and Strathclyde University. Former television producer. Contested Glasgow Springburn 1987, Glasgow Central 1992. First elected as MP for Argyll & Bute in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 10861 (24%)
Lab: 10274 (23%)
LDem: 14292 (32%)
SNP: 8563 (19%)
Oth: 1217 (3%)
MAJ: 3431 (8%)
Con: 10150 (23%)
Lab: 9696 (22%)
LDem: 15786 (37%)
SNP: 6716 (16%)
Oth: 881 (2%)
MAJ: 5636 (13%)
Con: 6436 (21%)
Lab: 7592 (25%)
LDem: 9245 (30%)
SNP: 6433 (21%)
Oth: 1251 (4%)
MAJ: 1653 (5%)
Con: 6774 (19%)
Lab: 5596 (16%)
LDem: 14359 (40%)
SNP: 8278 (23%)
Oth: 713 (2%)
MAJ: 6081 (17%)

2015 Candidates
ALASTAIR REDMAN (Conservative) Born 1987. Postmaster.
MARY GALBRAITH (Labour) Born Campbeltown. Educated at Glasgow University. Contested Highlands and Islands 1999 Scottish election, Argyll and Bute 2007 Scottish election, East Dunbartonshire 20107.
ALAN REID (Liberal Democrat) Born 1954, Ayr. Educated at Ayr Academy and Strathclyde University. Computer project manager. Renfrewshire councillor 1988-1996. Contested Paisley and Renfreshire South 1992, Dunbartonshire West 1997. MP for Argyll and Bute 2001 to 2015.
CAROLINE SANTOS (UKIP) Educated at Dunoon Grammar.
BRENDAN O`HARA (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at St Andrews Secondary and Strathclyde University. Television producer. Contested Glasgow Springburn 1987, Glasgow Central 1992.
Comments - 378 Responses on “Argyll & Bute”
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  1. This could be a fun one to watch given how close all the Parties are.

    I think Labour could pick this one up if the LD’s are still unpopular as they are now.

  2. Given the recent Holyrood result..this seat must be more likely to go SNP. Labours best chance of a gain from the Lib Dems is East Dunbartonshire East followed by Edinbugh West (where there is also an outside SNP chance).

  3. Correct me if i’m wrong but the main difference between this seat and the SP seat is the Helensburgh and Lomond wards, which are in Dumbarton for SP elections. And Dumbarton was one of the few (only??) seats to actually show a small swing from SNP to Lab in 2011, against a 6.5% national swing Lab to SNP. Given that, i would say that if the was a GE tomorrow i suspect this would be a Labour gain, with an outside possibly of the LDs coming fourth.

    It also contains Faslane, which may somewhat limit the SNPs chances, given their position on the navy base.

  4. The LibDem leadership have made a gross tactical error in the Highlands, setting back for a generation or more the incremental progress by local members, notably by two very long serving MSPs who were on the point of retiring anyway and had a personal vote greater than their majorities.

    I can understand the attraction of being in government, but the leadership took no action to protect the Highland foot soldiers recalling WW1 generals in their insouciant attitude to Highland casualties.

    The leadership should have known what the SNP (much to their surprise) found out in their canvassing in Argyll and Bute many years ago when it was a very safe Libdem seat.

    There are almost no LibDem voters in Argyll.

    The SNP did not find any LibDems in their canvassing. There were plenty of anti-Con, anti-Lab, anti-Con+Lab and anti-SNP voters who, reasonably enough, were accustomed to voting LibDem.

    Rae Michie was widely respected and also had a personal support, so there was a very secure majority which she passed on to her successor MP and also the MSP.

    This was I think when Alan Reid first got elected, inheriting Rae Michie’s majority.

    An opponent said that he was elected on her coat tails but failed to fill her boots.

    Of the anti- voters, the anti-Cons are always the largest proportion in Scotland. Now the fashionable anti-Con in Argyll votes SNP for the Scottish Parliament, and for independents and SNP for council elections. In the central belt, anti-Cons vote Labour for the UK parliament because the SNP can never form part of a majority, but increasingly they favour SNP for the Scottish Parliament.

    Rae Michie had over several elections eroded the majority of John Mackay, a one nation conservative and former liberal who would not be welcome in today’s Conservative party. In the more distant past the constituency had also been SNP, and Crofters Party. It was the sort of seat where in the ’50’s to the ’70’s a modest increase in the third placed Liberal vote would cause commentators to refer to “new shoots from old National Liberal roots.”

    The LibDems will lose votes and vote share, that is certain.

    Of these lost votes, about two go to SNP for every one that goes to Labour. That means that if LibDem losses are big enough, SNP will draw equal with and overtake Labour at about the point where Labour overtakes Conservative.

    The long term direction of the Con vote (as elsewhere in Scotland) is that the loyal core vote does not go to other parties, but to the crematorium, so only a very marginal fall is to be expected.

    If Labour took enough votes from LibDem to overtake the Conservative, then the SNP would win, but the Cons can win without increasing their vote or share of the poll if LibDem losses are modest enough even if they are split as were the Scottish Parliament losses, and SNP get the larger share.

    If Libdem losses were low enough, then of course Alan Reid can hang on but the anti-Con vote is a very large part of the Highland Libdem vote, so it is unlikely.

    If LibDem losses are very great, then the SNP will win.

    On a very low poll, the Conservative core will be a higher proportion of the vote, giving them the best chance of a win, but a close contest makes a low poll unlikely.

    I do not think Labour can win, and if Labour voters (or ex-Libem anti-Cons think so too, or if Labour campaign resources are directed elsewhere, then an SNP win from fourth place is assured.

    It is entirely possible and even likely that only a handful of votes separates the first and fourth.

    Labour is least likely to win. My guess is that Alan Reid’s time is up and if forced to choose, I’d say the SNP might just squeeze ahead of the Conservative to win.

    Much depends on the LibDem campaign, and morale of the party workers at the time. There is no reason to believe that it will be positive.

    If the SNP can create the impression that Ex-LibDem anti-Cons are moving their way, more will follow because these voters do not care who wins.

    The candidates personal appeal will be important too.

    The safest bet would be that the majority is <500 votes and the spread between first and fourth is <1000.

    On the other hand there are "Events" and there is plenty of time for someone to do something really dramatically stupid. Nick Clegg, for example could manage that. He has form.

  5. Some interesting scenarios there John! It’s certainly going to be a seat to watch that’s for sure, we could have a repeat of Inverness in 1992 here!

  6. It is very difficult for the Cons to win even though they are in second place. If there are enough LibDem losses, they could well be in fourth place.

    Perhaps they should support a coalition partner in difficulty, but could a loyal Conservative core voter do that, where they are lying second and apparently the challenger?

    Only if they have completely given up on Scotland.

    Its easier to see which party is least likely to win. Its the Conservatives – even if their vote holds up and they are still second. Its either LibDem with no change in ranking, or SNP first by possibly a record close result.

    The result won’t be known till the next day and hardly matters if the referendum has a Yes vote.

  7. Interesting posts here – thanks.
    One suspects the Tories would have difficulty increasing the vote suffciently out of the solid core – but a gain could happen if the LDs went back – which is quite credible.
    One rather feels they would manage to just hold on or if someone else took it, it would be Labour or the SNP.

    I don’t expect the SNP to do all that well in 2015 though overall – up somewhat at the expense of the LDs but nothing very spectacular atall.

  8. It looks as though that the Lib Dems’ days of dominating in rural Scotland at UK Parliamentary level may well be on the decline.

    Seats like this (Argyll and Bute), North East Fife, Gordon, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey and Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk are no longer secure for the party long-term it has to be said.

    The main reason why the Lib Dems became successful in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland was because the Tories were no longer popular, the SNP declined in the late 70’s and early 80s and they didn’t like the look of Labour I don’t think.

    Now only really Orkney and Shetland, Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross are the three seats that are really secure for them in years to come. The first is self-explanatory and the latter two are both in the Highlands unsurprisingly where the Liberal tradition is also virtually unshakeable.

    As for East Dunbartonshire, the Lib Dems are really not looking too good there for 2015.

    Edinburgh West of course is a completely different kettle of fish, being urban and untypical of a Lib Dem seat in Scotland. It looks like a safe Lib Dem seat having been held by them for nearly 16 years, with three different MPs, but really it could end up going to Labour maybe one of these days I reckon.

  9. Yes, but Labour are still a bit stronger in the remote rural areas than in England I think.

  10. ”Yes, but Labour are still a bit stronger in the remote rural areas than in England I think.”

    Not 100% what you mean by this statement, but I presume you’re referring to some of the ‘safe’ Lib Dem seats in Scotland that I mentioned.

    In that case, I would agree- Labour in England do indeed struggle in many constituencies in the Home Counties that are typically safe Conservative seats, and have done for decades and decades.

  11. Even Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross isn’t that secure-looking. I can see Viscount Thurso holding it against a split (Lab/SNP) anti-LD vote, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost it. The other 2 seats clearly are safe at the moment. In fact I think they’re safer in NE Fife, and are rather unlikely to lose there even if Campbell retires despite the SNP win in the area in the Holyrood election.

  12. Joe James B

    Labour will be up too at the expense of LibDems but not so much in the Highlands.

    The Labour party was the party of the urban working class in large unionised employment. There isn’t much of that in the highlands and Labour has just not ben able to connect or to have much to say on rural issues other than hunting with dogs.

    On a low poll, Cons could possibly win, but otherwise it is easier to see how they could come fourth.

    Barnaby Marder

    Possibly as many pandas as coalition MPs then?

  13. You say ‘was’. Back when that was the case, Caithness and Sutherland had a Labour MP. Granted, that was pre-SDP but it’s not like there’s no tradition there at all.

  14. and Western Isles was continuously Labour from 1935 until Donnie Stewart’s win in 1970.

  15. In these areas party isn’t as important – it may well depend on who the candidate is for the challenging parties

  16. I think it will be a relatively comfortable SNP gain.

  17. A win from fourth must be a pretty rare phenomenon. I actually think it will be very close four way on about 23-25% each (depending on who else stands). Would be highly amusing if the tories took it on a low vote share though they might rally around reid and come fourth.

    A lot depends on how the voters react following the decisive 2:1 No vote which we can all see coming.

  18. “Rae Michie had over several elections eroded the majority of John Mackay, a one nation conservative and former liberal who would not be welcome in today’s Conservative party”

    Unless I am mistaken, he was (and still is) is a Conservative Peer.

  19. Keep up! John MacKay died in 2001.

  20. “A win from fourth must be a pretty rare phenomenon. I actually think it will be very close four way on about 23-25% each (depending on who else stands).”

    As John Dick says, the anti-Tory vote is the most important factor. The Lib Dems are likely to lose most of it, and in Argyll the SNP are the most plausible recipients given their gain of the seat at Holyrood.

    I wouldn’t expect the Tories to be above 20%.

  21. Perhaps Matt is confusing him with Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the former Lord Chancellor who still is a Conservative peer. His first name is James & not John. There was also once a Conservative MP for Galloway (for a time Independent Conservative) called John McKie. John Mackie however was a Labour MP, who represented Enfield E & became a peer.

  22. ECB

    Bobby McLennan was two years ahead of me at Glasgow Academy and in the debating society he was certainly middle class right Labour. Much more so than Donald Dewar.

    I doubt if he ever addressed an audience as “Brothers and sisters”.

    We were the poorer when he displaced a popular and hard working constituency Liberal, a farmer.

    Douglas Crawford [England will gain a good neighbour] was in the debating society too as was John Marshall a party loyalist whose only distinction was to lose Finchley for the Conservatives.

    Four MPs. Two of them party leaders.

    Also two double murderers in my year.

    See the benefits of private education? Get to the top of your chosen field. Murdering two policemen scores pretty high I should think.

  23. I lived in the Western Isles constituency from 1974 to 1990.

    Donald Stewart was a decent highland gentleman supported by a party which went out of its way to canvass to appeal to an illiberal “family values” mindset. Prior to that, Labour was the only party with an active campaigning membership.

    Later it went the other way round when Ann Lorne Gillies, the Gaelic singer was the SNP candidate. I was there when a Christian hustings grilled the candidates.

    ALG was not only frank about her liberal views on such things as hanging, an established state church for Scotland decriminalising homosexuality but she was divorced!

    Nothing better was expected of the LibDem, but ALG was thought to be “one of us” and deeply involved in Gaelic culture. When I heard the sound of one or more members of the audience hyperventilating, I understood what is meant by the expression “baying like a dog” and I looked for the alternative exits.

    Just before I left the constituency I voted Labour for the last time for the sitting MSP who had been at school with my daughter. She did not have a high opinion of him. I had been minded to vote for the SNP candidate whom I knew personally through the chess club, but on being canvassed by an SNP councillor on “family values” against the MSP I decided to change.

  24. Yes I was confusing John Mackay with Lord Mackay – I thought they were the same person.

  25. who were the murderers in your year?

  26. “A win from fourth must be a pretty rare phenomenon.”

    Yes. It happened in Ceredigion in 1992, with Plaid moving from fourth to first, and I believe Labour managed to move from fourth in the nominal figures to first in Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber in 1997.

  27. SS

    One was a love triangle, murder and suicide.

    The other was a former policeman ? Thomson who shot two policemen from Crosshill who had come to arrest him.

    I think he will be out now.

    Late for class, I cut in front of him and he grabbed my bag, threw it away, punched me and knocked me down, and went on his way.

    A boy who witnessed the incident turned into a empty classroom and waited till the fracas was over. He said “Didn’t you know he was like that? I’d keep away from him if I were you”

    “No I didn’t know that, but I know now.” I told him.

    I suppose I got off lightly.

  28. If the SNP win from fourth it would be more a case of the coalition parties racing for the bottom.

    Not only is it difficult to predict the winner, the fourth place is also difficult to predict.

    It is SNP, if there is hardly any change, and a Libdem win.

    It is Conservative if there is a moderate LibDem loss, a high poll, and SNP probably come out top.

    It is LibDem if there are very heavy losses. in which case SNP are sure to win

    It is Lab if there is a moderate Libdem loss, and a low poll which benefits Conservatives because of their strong core vote. LibDem or Con win.

    There is no reason to expect a low poll in a four way marginal, all Libdems are due to take a beating from the anti-Cons. Not many Cons will vote tactically to support a coalition partner, or move to the SNP as preferable to Labour because they have already lost their floating vote.

    If LibDem are going to lose, expect SNP to win.

    AntiCons will determine the result.

  29. The number of pandas is expected to increase of course.

  30. The SNP led council in Argyll & Bute has become a farce. They’re on their third leader in the space of a year, and the place is characterised by bitter infighting. MSP Mike Russell and SNP HQ are both wading in, trying to direct an inexperienced group of disparate councillors. As a result there there is plenty of resentment, resignations and leadership-void.

    This has ended any chances the party had of sneaking this seat. All residual reputation for competence has been blown apart. After a failed referendum too, their vote will undoubtedly fall. The question then becomes, to whom does it disperse? They could lose as many votes as the Lib Dems, quite easily.

  31. Alan Reid is probably toast. He was very lucky to get back in last time and has almost no local profile. The local Lib Dem party is effectively non-existent these days too.

    But, that being said, the SNP led council, plus the SNP MSPs haven’t exactly been doing a great job locally, which will hurt them badly, especially considering their vote will be at a low ebb when you combine them likely losing the referendum and their traditional underperformance at Westminster elections.

    My suspicion would be that the Lib Dems will fall back significantly, by 10% or more with most of that going to Labour and not the SNP (if Labour can run a good campaign locally that is) and will see them win it.

    Of course if Labour don’t campaign hard in this seat, those Lib Dem votes will default to the SNP and they’ll take it.

  32. Labours best result here was in 2001 and it was the boundary changes in 2005 that helped the Lib Dems and the Conservatives taking in a very Lib Dem / Tory area of a safe Labour constituency.

    The boundary proposals would seen to create a constituency that could be won by either the SNP, Tories of Labour (or could even be a Lib Dem hold).

    It is impossible to predict what will happen in 2015.

    If the UK economy recovers strongly then the Tories should do better and Labour worse.

    The SNP will be affected by their record here in local government and by the outcome of the Independence Referendum. The Lib Dems could still semi-recover (but not to the level that they were in 2010), and beyond the mid tern their participation in the coalition could be percieved by the electorate as more positive, as was the case with the Holyrood Lab/ Lib coalitions).

    Given all these factors my gut instinct would be for the SNP to just take this with the Tories and Labour just behind and Reid falling to a close 4th place. The order of 2nd/ 3rd place for the Tories and Labour would reflect the national outcome of the general election.

    Something like –

    SNP 27%
    Con 23 – 26%
    Lab 22 – 25%
    Lib Dem 22%
    Others 2%

  33. Looking at local government results, there would appear to be a rural contest between the Lib Dems and the SNP and an urban contest between the Tories and Labour.

    Despite the size of this constituency geographically, over half of the electorate live in compact settlemements which are more supportive ofthe two major parties. Labour are stronger in Dunoon and Rothesay (the main town in Bute) and the Tories in Helensburgh and Luss (where Take the High Road was filmed).

  34. Who does best in Oban?

  35. snp by a lot over the main parties in the two council seats that cover the area but there is also a very large indy vote in both seats.


    Labours 106 target seats for 2010.

    The article states that three of the seats were not held at any point during the last Labour government. These must be Argyll & Bute, Bermonsey & Old Southwark and Edinburgh West. The system must allow for new seats like Dumfriesshire Clydesdale & Tweeddale that would have been Labour from 1997 – 2005.

    I have looked at this list and I don’t see how Labour could be certain of taking every single one of these seats (which depend on the misfortune of the Tories, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid and Greens.

    I could write arguments on a quite a number of the 106 constituencies on why a Labour victory could not be certain.

    Surely they should target over 150 because some of the less marginal constituencies may be more easy to win.

  37. What a weird comment.

    Labour don’t need to be “certain” of taking a seat in order to put it on the target list.

    I can’t think of any more than 10 seats which are pretty much certain Labour gains – most of those are Lib Dem held.

    Labour only needs to target about 80 seats, more than that is spreading their resources too thinly.

  38. Labour could always use my target list instead which lists all 373 targets in order of swing required:

  39. Indeed – if a Labour win were certain, there’d be no need to target that seat, would there.

  40. Andy – that’s very good – but of course the amount of the swing required isn’t by any means the same as the order in which a seat should be prioritised. It would be quite possible to argue that, for example, Stourbridge is an easier seat to win than Waveney despite the fact that Labour needs a distinctly smaller swing to win the latter than the former.

  41. I think the chances are Labour will win at least one constituency that isn’t included on their 106 seat target list.

    In 2010 my Tory target list went up to number 200 and of course they won a seat outside that range: Montgomery at I think number 210.

  42. I dont think Cannock Chase was a Tory target either?

  43. I think it was actually because the seat has a reputation for high swings on occasion. It was something like 190 on the target list.

  44. I think the belief by some Labour strategists that they will hold every single one of their 255 seats harder to believe than they will take every single one of their 106 target seats.

    There have been 18 general elections since the outbreak of World War Two in 1939. In only one of these , 18 elections did Labour hold all is seats.
    In 1945 they lost the Mile End division of Stepney, in 1964 they lost Smethwick and Eton & Slough, in 1966 they lost Colne Valley , in February 1974 they lost Dundee East and Clackmannanshire & East Stirlingshire and in October 1974 they lost Carmarthen.

  45. I myself think that, unless national circumstances become quite a bit worse for Labour than I believe is likely, only 4 Labour seats are at genuine risk, 2 in London & 2 in Scotland (including Falkirk). It’s quite possible that none of them will go though I am not very optimistic about Falkirk at the moment.

  46. Thats really interesting Barnaby.

    Which constituency other than Falkirk would you regard as being in any kind of risk to Labour in Scotland?

    The only conceivable possible loss I could see would be Ochil & South Perthshire to the SNP (but even here Labour are over 5000 ahead)? I would regard that seat as more at risk than Edinburgh South.

    The only London constituencies that I could see Labour are Hampstead & Kilburn, Eltham and Westminster North? I assume most people would regard Eltham as the more secure than the other two?

    For Labour to lose seats is not a bad result overall, its just impossible to do well in every single constituency.

    Its hard to predict seats at risk for the opposition party in mid term because they often hold seats that seem vunerable and lose others not expected.

    During the 1987 – 1992, I believed that Labour seats most at risk were –

    Edinburgh South (Tories ahead in the 1988 Edinburgh City Council elections in the wards that formed this seat).
    Strathkelvin & Bearsden (this constituency had an 8000 notional Conservative majority in 1983, and there was a large Liberal vote in Bearden that had come from the Tories)
    Newham South (expected further gentrification and the 1990 Newham Borough Council elections showed the Conservatives gaining council seats in this constituency).
    Tooting (Conservatives lead in the Wandsworth council wards that formed this constituency).

    All these seats were held by Labour, but Labour lost Aberdeen South (that was a complete bolt out of the blue).

  47. Yes Peter, I regard Ochil & S Perthshire as a conceivable SNP gain but think that Labour are likelier to hold it. I don’t think Eltham is a likely Labour loss but the other 2 London seats you mention are rather trickier. I see Tooting as a ticket-splitting seat; it’s perfectly possible that the Tories will take it one day, but I don’t think they can in 2015.

  48. I think that the negative publicity experience around the 2010 Conservative candidate in Westminster North (irrespective of whether that was deserved or not) did help Labour to hold on, and the selection of a local councillor could make that seat a plausible Conservative gain (though there is every possibility that Labour could hold on).
    Birmingham Edgbaston is fundamentally different, because there I think that the electorate is now very different, and is now more similar to the kinds of middle class voters in Manchester Withington or Newcastle Central.

    Reflecting on the 106 target seats from Labour, I don’t see Labour taking any seats from the SNP or the Greens, though Plaids’ Afron is obviously more credible (but more likely than not to be a Plaid hold). Interesting, despite not being on the 106 target list, some people regard the Western Isles as a better Labour prospect than Dundee East. I would agree because the SNP have a sizable Tory vote in Broughty Ferry and Carnoustie to squeeze if they are place under pressure. I think that the SNP will hold both these seats, but the Western Isles could be much closer.

    I really don’t see Labour gaining seats like Argyll & Bute and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale.
    I would say that Labour are the favourites in East Dunbartonshire but this it come is not yet certain, Swinton has a fair Tory vote in the Glasgow suburbs to squeeze).
    I also think that the Lib Dems could just hold Edinburgh West, because they will be able to squeeze the Conservatives while the SNP will take some left centre Liberal votes that Labour will depend on.

    I think Labour have every right to be confident in Bradford East and Manchester Withington, but I am not sure that Birmingham Yardley is a certain Labour gain.

    In respect of some of the Labour longshots, Bermondsey & Old Southwark and Leeds NW are a bridge too far – through I agree that Labour could come very close. I would be more, sure of Labour gaining Bristol West than Cambridge (because of the 2010 boundary changes that transformed this constituency into Bristol Central in all but name).

    I don’t see Labour every regaining Battersea, unless there is a Labour victory on the scale of 1997.

    Brentford & Isleworth on paper would appear to be an easy Labour gain but the Conservatives have reversed a 14000 + Labour majority, it is possible that the Conservatives could just hold on, even if Labour won a majority. I also think the Conservatives will hold Finchley & Golders Green and that the result in Hendon will remain very close (despite the tiny Conservative majority).

  49. 1964- Labour also lost Birmingham Perry Barr, Norfolk SW and Dorset South ( a reversal of earlier By election gain.)
    Feb 1974- Labour also lost Merioneth, Caernarvon, Cardigan and Berwick & East Lothian.

  50. A lot of that is fair enough Peter & I wouldn’t argue with it. I do disagree with you however re Bristol W & Cambridge. It’s clear from local election results ever since 2010 that Cambridge is going to be a very difficult hold for the LDs, even though they will enjoy first-time incumbency, whereas they outpolled Labour in Bristol W in this year’s local elections (though not easily). I would not rule out a Labour gain in D C & T though in my mind it is presently in the Conservative hold column & I doubt that the LDs can actually hold Edinburgh W – they already have a lot of the local Conservative vote & it won’t be that easy to squeeze it down much further. Lastly I agree that Brentford & Isleworth is not a surefire Labour gain, but I would disagree with you in that if there is a Labour majority it would surely be gained. Pretty much everything else I would agree with. Westminster N may in the end come down to turnout – if the Labour vote comes out in the 4 Labour-held wards as it did last time the seat will be held.
    Graham – didn’t Labour lost E Dunbartonshire in Feb 1974 too? IIRC it was won in February by the Tory Barry Henderson (subsequently MP for E Fife, losing to Ming Campbell in 1987), but then gained by the SNP’s (then) Maggie Bain, who herself subsequently represented a different seat, Moray, after losing to Labour’s Norman Hogg in 1979.

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