Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19817 (36%)
Labour: 2700 (4.9%)
Lib Dem: 10294 (18.7%)
SNP: 20145 (36.6%)
Green: 631 (1.1%)
UKIP: 1316 (2.4%)
Independent: 135 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 328 (0.6%)

Category: Ultra-marginal SNP seat


Main population centres:



Current MP
CALUM KERR (SNP) Born Gala. Educated at Peebles High School. Former consultant. First elected as MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 16555 (34%)
Lab: 5003 (10%)
LDem: 22230 (45%)
SNP: 4497 (9%)
Oth: 729 (1%)
MAJ: 5675 (12%)
Con: 13092 (29%)
Lab: 7206 (16%)
LDem: 18993 (42%)
SNP: 3885 (9%)
Oth: 2212 (5%)
MAJ: 5901 (13%)
Con: 6533 (23%)
Lab: 4498 (16%)
LDem: 14044 (49%)
SNP: 2806 (10%)
Oth: 916 (3%)
MAJ: 7511 (26%)
Con: 8337 (24%)
Lab: 5226 (15%)
LDem: 16243 (47%)
SNP: 3959 (11%)
Oth: 1166 (3%)
MAJ: 7906 (23%)

2015 Candidates
JOHN LAMONT (Conservative) Born 1976. Educated at Kilwinning Academy and Glasgow University. Solicitor. Contested Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 2005, 2010. Member of the Scottish Parliament for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire.
KENRYCK LLOYD JONES (Labour) Educated at Huddersfield University. Public affairs and policy manager.
MICHAEL MOORE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1965, Dundonald. Educated at Jedburgh Grammar School and Edinburgh University. Chartered accountant. MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 1997 to 2015. Secretary of State for Scotland 2010-2013.
PETER NEILSON (UKIP) Contested Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk 2005, Scottish European election 2009.
PAULINE STEWART (Green) Medical herbalist.
CALUM KERR (SNP) Born Gala. Educated at Peebles High School. Consultant.
JESSE RAE (Independent)
Comments - 562 Responses on “Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk”
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  1. Michael Moore should hold on here. Being Scottish Secr. and being the MP for 10 years should carry him over the finish line.

  2. Im not so sure. There must be a substantial anti-coalitionists LD tactical vote that isnt going to come out again.

    I imagine this will see one of the bigger LD->Tory swings of the night. Scotland is inevitably hard to predict though.

  3. I hope Big Pump is right, but being Scottish Secretary in a “Conservative led” government is not the most obvious route to political popularity in Scotland.

    I have no doubt that, if the coalition had not been formed, Michael Moore would be safe. As it is he faces a challenging election.

  4. Probably the most likely seat in Scotland to be a Conservative gain. On balance I think the Libdems are likely to narrowly hold on, but it could be pretty interesting.

  5. Consevatives have a safe 5000+ majority in Holyrood and polling would suggest Conservative Gain.

    Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine, – Lib Dem Hold
    Ross Skye & Locharber – Lib Dem Hold
    Orkney & Shetland – Lib Dem Hold
    Dunbartonshire East – Labour Gain
    Edinburgh West – Labour/ SNP Gain
    Argyll & Bute – SNP Gain
    Gordon – SNP/ Labour Gain
    Fife NE – Lib Dem Hold/ SNP Gain

  6. Caithness Sutherland & Easter Ross – SNP Gain

  7. I have made a list of all the majorities that the Lib Dems have recorded in the Scottish Borders constituencies since 1965 that may be of general interest to some posters on here-

    Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles-
    1. 4, 607 (10.5%, 1965 by-election) David Steel
    2. 2, 211 (4.90%, 1966) David Steel
    3. 550 (1.19%, 1970) David Steel
    4. 9, 017 (18.2%, Feb 1974) David Steel
    5. 7, 433 (16.2%, Oct 1974) David Steel
    6. 10, 690 (21.8%, 1979) David Steel

    Roxburgh and Berwickshire-
    1. 3, 396 (10.7%, 1983) Archy Kirkwood
    2. 4, 008 (12.0%, 1987) Archy Kirkwood
    3. 4, 257 (12.6%, 1992) Archy Kirkwood
    4. 7, 906 (22.6%, 1997) Archy Kirkwood
    5. 7, 511 (25.1%, 2001) Archy Kirkwood

    Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale-
    1. 8, 539 (29.6%, 1983) David Steel
    2. 5, 942 (20.3%, 1987) David Steel
    3. 2, 520 (8.18%, 1992) David Steel
    4. 1, 489 (3.8%, 1997) Michael Moore
    5. 5, 157 (15.5%, 2001) Michael Moore

    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk-
    1. 5, 901 (13.0%, 2005) Michael Moore
    2. 5, 675 (11.6%, 2010) Michael Moore

  8. A closer look at the result here in February 1974-
    Steel (Liberal)- 25, 707 (52.00%, +9.74%)
    Thom (Conservative)- 16, 690 (33.76%, -7.31%)
    Purves (SNP)- 3, 953 (8.00%, +1.19%)
    Graham (Labour)- 3, 089 (6.25%, -3.39%)

    Majority- 9, 017 (18.24%)
    Swing- +8.525% From Con to Lib.

  9. For some time now, the LibDems have been getting far more seats in Scotland than their share of the national vote would predict. I presume that this is largely because of personal votes. On paper, this and other Borders seats might look vulnerable to the Conservatives, for instance in the light of Holyrood results, but it would be a brave psephologist who predict this seat, or its LibDem neighbours, as Conservative gains at the next General Election.

    The Conservatives will have tricky decisions to make when campaigning at the next General Election, to explain why they are opposing a Cabinet Minister whose Government they have been supporting. They may also have strategic concerns about how hard they campaign if they think there is a likelihood of another parliament in which no one party has a majority.

    This is an area with long memories and the Liberal tradition is well entrenched.

  10. A closer look at the result in Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles in 1966- (Changes are against 1964, not the 1965 by-election)
    Steel (Liberal)- 20, 607 (45.66%, +6.79%)
    McIntyre (Conservative)- 18, 396 (40.76%, -2.05%)
    Lindsay (Labour)- 6, 131 (13.58%, -2.27%)

    Majority- 2, 211 (4.90%)
    Swing- +4.42% From Con to Lib.

  11. Looks like the sacking of Michael Moore as Secretary of State for Scotland will extinguish the Lib Dems hope of holding this seat.

    I take leave to doubt whether Moore will even stand now given his demotion, which may have been nudged into existence due to the general view that he lost out badly in a recent debate on independence to the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon.

  12. “Looks like the sacking of Michael Moore as Secretary of State for Scotland will extinguish the Lib Dems hope of holding this seat.”

    But if that is the case, who is going to win it?

    The Tories will be going backwards as well, and both Labour and the SNP are too far behind to win. This looks like a Scottish Eastleigh to me.

  13. I agree. There has been an amazingly widespread assumption that the Tories will repeat their Holyrood wins in this area in this Westminster seat. But the size of Moore’s majority, and the clear signs that it simply isn’t the sort of area where either Labour or the SNP can win, means that it’s a straight LD-Con fight – there is no other Scottish seat where that’s more clearly the case, as in both NE Fife & W Aberdeenshire there’s SNP potential. Given this fact, I have consistently predicted an LD hold, and don’t see why there is any cause to change this.

  14. who says he is resigning his seat?? and who says he is finished as a minister in the longer term?

    rather a few inferences being drawn here….

  15. Even if he stands down I don’t think it would be very easy to defeat the Lib Dems here, for the reason Barnaby gives.

    And in terms of his career prospects it’s probably good for Moore to be one of the few remaining Scottish Lib Dem MPs, if the party does badly in Scotland yet goes into another coalition after 2015.

    And he’s still young, only 48.

  16. I think he will stand for re-election, and win. I also think that – though probably it’s outside the scope of this site – he won’t return as a minister for the foreseeable future. If Labour are just short of a majority, they will try their damnedest to govern without the help of the LDs, but instead coming to an understanding with smaller parties, knowing that for a start they can rely on the support of the SDLP. It’s possible that the LDs may somehow remain in government after 2015, but even if there is a hung parliament there’s absolutely no guarantee that the LDs will be part of a governing coalition.

  17. I would be very surprised if Michael Moore stands down at the 2015 General Election.

    I think he would hold his seat to be quite honest, and I couldn’t see the Tories advancing any further here, even with John Lamont still as their candidate.

  18. I can’t think that a sensible LibDem MP would expect to be a minister in the first place: being an MP meets expectations.

    Do we know in general how the sacking of a minister affects the swing in a seat at the next General Election?

    Given the national opinion polls, one would think that the LibDems are at serius risk to the Conservatives here, but swings will be different in Scotland and this is a seat where local factors will be important.

    The anti-Tory vote clearly voted LibDem tactically in 2010. Some Labour voters in particular may cease to do so.

    A lot will depend on whether the Conservatives here get their act together both by selecting a good local candidate and by campaigning effectively.

  19. Leaderdale and Melrose was the cons 2nd worst ward in 2012 coming 4th yet in the may 2013 bye election they came first on 1st prefs but they lost the seat on transfers. i think cons seem to be picking up in this area at least.

  20. Leaderdale and Melrose change on 2012
    con 27.57% +15.28
    bp 23.48 +6.17
    LD 21.46+9.22
    snp 17.68+2.13
    lab 6.78+0.51
    ukip 3.03 n/a

  21. Would it be fair to say that even without the by-election in Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles in 1965, that David Steel would still have gone on to win the seat in 1966?

  22. It does look distinctly possible.

  23. Seriously, the Conservatives ought to be winning here. If they can’t here it’s doubtful they will have even one seat north of the border next time. The Scottish Tories – a truly pathetic specimen that is wilfully ignorant of reality and continues to die out. Why can’t they accept that the only way forward for them is to support Scottish independence? They can then out-Scottish the Labour Party at least.

  24. I’ve done some complicated scientific calculations that seem to suggest that the Liberals might not have won it otherwise without the by-election until February 1974 in terms of the numbers, but with Steel still as the candidate in 1966 I still feel they could have won it.

  25. A closer look at the results in Roxburgh and Berwickshire and Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale in 1983 with notional vote share changes in brackets-

    Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale-
    Steel (Liberal)- 16, 868 (58.5%, +10.0%)
    Ballentine (Conservative)- 8, 329 (28.9%, -3.5%)
    Saren (Labour)- 2, 200 (7.4%, -4.4%)
    Macartney (SNP)- 1, 455 (5.0%, -2.1%)

    Majority- 8, 539 (29.6%)
    Swing- +6.75% From Con to Lib.

    Roxburgh and Berwickshire-
    Kirkwood (Liberal)- 15, 920 (50.3%, +10.3%)
    Sproat (Conservative)- 12, 524 (39.6%, -0.5%)
    Briggs (Labour)- 2, 326 (7.4%, -5.5%)
    Shirley (SNP)- 852 (2.7%, -4.1%)

    Majority- 3, 396 (10.7%)
    Swing- +5.4% From Con to Lib.

  26. This is one of the few areas in Scotland the Tories have done well in recent years. I think the Michael Moore will hold on here though despite the LD’s problems nationally.

  27. LD HOLD Maj: 0.3%
    LD 29
    CON 29
    LAB 17
    SNP 13
    UKIP 8
    GRN 4

  28. Ukip 8 – very unlikely as is the greens getting any significant vote.

    I actually would stick my neck out at a tory gain here – either way 29 is too low for both parties.

    Con 36
    ld 34
    snp 12
    lab 14
    green 1
    ukip 2

  29. I think this will go-
    Moore (Liberal Democrat)- 37%
    Conservative- 31%
    Labour- 15%
    SNP- 14%
    UKIP- 2.5%
    Others- 0.5%

  30. Perhaps surprisingly, I think that being sacked will do Mr Moore a favour here. I can see him holding on, if not by much.

  31. CON: 30%
    LD: 30%
    SNP: 20%
    LAB: 12%
    UKIP: 5%
    OTH: 3%

    CON Gain

  32. One of the themes we tend to see is consistence in the tory vote in Scotland. they got a third of the vote in this seat last time and that should hold up.

    Now the Lib Dems got 45% last time, so they basically need to retain about 70% of their vote to keep the seat.

    Now, obviously there’s no chance of a 6% LD > CON swing. Those moving away from the LD’s are unhappy with the government.

    More likely is a 12% swing from the LD’s to the SNP and labour combined, if it all went the same way that would make the seat a 3 way marginal, but it wont


    CON 33
    LD 30
    SNP 19
    LAB 15
    oth 3

  33. Agree very much with Danny’s analysis. The perennial consensus about the Conservative vote share collapsing in Scotland (as expounded above by Hemmelig and Barnaby) stubbornly fails to materialise.

    There is no evidence that the Conservative vote will fall back in Scotland. Although Ruth Davidson is not the sort of politician you would expect to appeal to Scotland’s core Tory vote, I can see the Tory share in Scotland dropping by even less than it does nationally (if at all).

    I’m not really sure what Moore’s popularity is like here (I also think the Libdems will improve their ratings between now and May 2015). I think this could be recount territory:

    LD / CON – 33 each
    LAB – 18
    SNP – 12

  34. Being sacked from the Cabinet was a blessing in diguise for Michael Moore as it increases the probability of him retaining SNP tactical votes to narrowly retain this seat IMO.

  35. TBH, I can’t really get my head round why there are posters on here so quick to write Michael Moore’s obituaries here for 2015. It has to be remembered that he has a solid enough majority here and if his vote were to fall a bit given his past results here I wouldn’t be too surprised if it wasn’t even all that marked- one had to remember also in this seat and its predecessors the Tories have been let down time and time again over the years, and I don’t see that changing now in the Borders- Steel and Kirkwood were both long established Liberal Democrat MPs, and we can now say the same for Mr. Moore I think. If he’s held this seat and its predecessors for this long I rather doubt the people of BR&S are going to start to kick him out now, and I do in fact personally believe that he can win this by a good few percent as his opposition is bound to be heavily split here anyway I would have thought.

  36. Similar to AWK, this seat may be saved by SNP/Labour tactical voting

  37. The main difference between this seat and W Aberdeenshire & Kincardine is the weaker SNP presence, and I’d submit potential. This really is an unique seat in Scottish terms, one where neither Labour or the SNP have any chance, but where the LDs & Conservatives do. (Orkney & Shetland & Ross,Skye/Lochaber I see as totally safe LD with no other party having a serious chance, at least as long as Charlie Kennedy is around.). Thus it’s a contest between 2 parties who aren’t otherwise popular in Scotland, rather like Ceredigion is in Wales. I don’t see the Conservatives surging to the sort of swing they need to win here, because I think both parties will lose support, but not enough for one party to hand the seat to the other.

  38. Do you think it’s fair to say the Conservatives are unpopular in Wales? Certainly it is a left-leaning part of the UK (even moreso than Scotland) but the Tories poll fairly well and hold a reasonable number of seats across the principality.

  39. I don’t actually see any evidence for the tories doing worse in Scotland in 2015 compared to 2010. Most polling has us flat or up a point or two doesn’t it?

    I know there are normally hazards in comparing Holyrood to Westminster – but that typically involves voters who split SNP/LAB. Here the tories did very well agaisnt the liberals – surely that can’t be written off?

    I think this will be pretty close for what its worth.

  40. We were nearly 30 points ahead of the liberals – not a marginal gain.

  41. Paul D – I was referring specifically to Ceredigion, which is a contest between the LDs – extremely unpopular in Wales as well as Britain as a whole – and Plaid Cymru, which is not enjoying particularly good fortunes despite the easy win in Ynys Mon in the recent Assembly by-election. The Tories will in my (provisional) view retain Monmouth, the 2 Pembrokeshire seats, Montgomeryshire, W Clwyd & Aberconwy in the general election, which isn’t particularly bad going for Wales if they do lose power which is a strong possibility. Vale of Glamorgan will I suspect be very close though I incline towards a Labour gain at present.

  42. I agree with what Barnaby says above.

    The reason the Tories are dead in Scotland but recovered reasonably well in Wales is the differing fortunes and appeal of the nationalist parties.

    Plaid Cymru has never really broken out of its narrow voter base of Welsh speakers in the rural north west. It has not ever been able to appeal to a wide spectrum of voters across Wales, unlike the SNP in Scotland, and has not had a leader with remotely the same charisma or talent as Alex Salmond. Consequently the Tories were able to recover most of their votes in Wales whereas in Scotland many of them are lost forever to the SNP.

    Thinking about it, it is probably Plaid Cymru’s obsession with promoting the Welsh language which has kept its support so narrow. The SNP would never have been so successful if it had obsessed about Gaelic.

  43. Absolutely. Even though Plaid has rather woken up to this fact now – they now tend to call themselves Plaid Cymru/The Party of Wales – they are no doubt seen as a predominantly north Welsh, non-industrial party by voters in the industrial south, which doesn’t really put their interests first.

  44. The problem for Plaid is that Labour has now adopted the Welsh language agenda anyway and that even in places like Anglesey the Conservatives have substantial support

    Every seat in Wales is relatively easy to predict apart from Arfon and Cardiff C IMO

    As for seat seat I think LD>SNP unwind will occur in East Berwickshire, Hawick and to a lesser extent in Galashiels but not quite enough for Moore to lose.

  45. Plaid Cymru must also suffer from the fact that Welsh independence is a completely absurd and unrealistic concept, and that this is clearly the view of the vast majority of Welsh people. That is very different from Scotland where the prospect of becoming an independent country is a much more serious and viable proposition.

    A Brown I think I asked you this last week – which constituency are you living in? I had a vague recollection you were in Edinburgh but thought maybe that was A Cairns. It’s always useful to know where posters are in order to know what to ask them.

  46. Every seat? Vale of Glamorgan and Ceredigion should be interesting to name just two.

  47. I would be surer of the result in Cardiff Central than Vale of Glamorgan myself, too. I would be very surprised if the LDs lost Ceredigion, but after the Plaid gain from apparently nowhere in 1992 perhaps I should think again to some extent. I agree that Arfon is going to be pretty interesting.

  48. I’d be quite confident of Labour regaining Cardiff Central. It’s a seat where the Lib Dems quickly appeared from nowhere, and in that kind of seat they will most likely return to where they came from

  49. …………and their vote comes heavily there from students & public sector professionals, who are likelier than average to swing to Labour.

  50. RE the Tories’ chances here, I think it should never be forgotten that they haven’t held this or any of its predecessors in the Scottish Borders since 1965- this has been Liberal country ever since, though not always comfortably. Also, Steel routinely took Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles then Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale by large margins during the 1970s and 1980s, even in the former seat when he wasn’t even party leader. It was the same with Archy Kirkwood to a lesser extent in Roxburgh and Berwickshire, in 1997 and 2001. I think the only times the Lib Dems have ever really been in trouble in any of these seats has been when the result nationally hasn’t been great for them (1970 when Steel narrowly held on to Roxburgh, and 1992 in Tweeddale) or if the incumbent has retired (Moore in 1997). So on the basis of history alone I would be extremely surprised if the Lib Dems lost here in 2015, and I continue to believe that Moore will win again here in Berwickshire, and probably with a four figure majority.

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