Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill

2015 Result:
Conservative: 3209 (6.3%)
Labour: 17195 (33.9%)
Lib Dem: 549 (1.1%)
SNP: 28696 (56.6%)
UKIP: 1049 (2.1%)
MAJORITY: 11501 (22.7%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, central Scotland. Part of North Lanarkshire council area.

Main population centres: Coatbridge, Chryston, Bellshill, Muirhead.

Profile: A gritty working class seat to the east of Glasgow, covering the former coal and towns of Coatbridge and Bellshill and the semi-rural hinterland of Glasgow. In the nineteenth century this was the industrial heartland of Scotland, built on iron, coal and large scale Irish and Lithuanian immigration to work in the ironworks. With the exhaustion of the coal mines the area went into long term decline, though it remains an industrial area. Its history of links to Ireland remain in the St Patricks festival, the largest Irish celebration in Scotland, and in the area`s high proportion of Roman Catholics.

Politics: This seat was monolithically Labour, one of their safest seats in the country until the 2015 SNP landslide. At a local level politics has an interesting history - until Scottish local government was reorganised in 1996 Coatbridge was part of the Monklands council with the largely protestant Airdrie, leading to a scandal known as Monklandsgate where the catholic dominated Labour leadership of the council was accused of favouring Coatbridge for sectarian reasons, charges they were later cleared of.


Current MP
PHIL BOSWELL (SNP) Born Coatbridge. Former quantity surveyor. First elected as MP for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 3374 (8%)
Lab: 27728 (67%)
LDem: 3519 (8%)
SNP: 7014 (17%)
MAJ: 20714 (50%)
2005
Con: 2775 (7%)
Lab: 24725 (64%)
LDem: 4605 (12%)
SNP: 5206 (14%)
Oth: 1033 (3%)
MAJ: 19519 (51%)
2001*
Con: 2171 (7%)
Lab: 19807 (65%)
LDem: 2293 (8%)
SNP: 4493 (15%)
Oth: 1547 (5%)
MAJ: 15314 (51%)
1997
Con: 3216 (9%)
Lab: 25697 (68%)
LDem: 2048 (5%)
SNP: 6402 (17%)
Oth: 249 (1%)
MAJ: 19295 (51%)

2015 Candidates
MHAIRI FRASER (Conservative) Parliamentary researcher and former journalist.
TOM CLARKE (Labour) Born 1941, Coatbridge. Educated at Columba High School, Coatbridge and Scottish College of Commerce. Coatbridge councillor 1964-1973, Monklands councillor 1973-1982. MP for Coatbridge and Airdrie 1982 by-election to 2015. Shadow Scottish secretary 1992-1993. Minister of State for film and tourism 1997-1998. Awarded the CBE for services to local government 1980.
ROBERT SIMPSON (Liberal Democrat)
SCOTT CAIRNS (UKIP)
PHIL BOSWELL (SNP) Born Coatbridge. Quantity surveyor.
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Comments - 103 Responses on “Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill”
  1. NTY UK.

    Thanks for your reply-and your amendment.

    However, and I accept I did not make myself entirely clear, when I wrote of the need “to compare like with like”, what I mean is:

    compare UK General Election 2015 with UK GE 2010
    compare Holyrood 2016 with Holyrood 2011

    SO-compare Council elections 2012 with Council elections 2016.

    As the SNP only very narrowly won more councillors than Labour in 2012, I expect the SNP to improve on that in 2017.

    However, because 2017 is not for the UK GE or Holyrood. I don’t expect a victory on the scale of 2015 or 2016,. I do however, expect the best ever SNP Council results in history.

  2. Meant compare with Council Elections 2017 (not 2016)

  3. Adding:

    I have the SNP vote down by an average of 11-12% of the vote from the 2016 Scottish election for all by-elections held in Scotland after that election: if this pattern were to be replicated across the whole of Scotland the SNP would take around 35-36% of the vote in 2017 (up by around 3-4% from 2012). There are a couple of caveats however: all aforesaid by-elections have taken place in working class areas located in the Central Belt (areas of traditional Labour strength) and turnout was low…

  4. “As the SNP only very narrowly won more councillors than Labour in 2012, I expect the SNP to improve on that in 2017.”

    That wouldn’t come as any real surprise.

  5. The reason why I compared the result to the 2014/15/16 elections is as I believe we should respect the fact that the politics of Scotland have changed irrevocably since the 2014 independence referendum: comparing the results to anything before 2014 will create a set of misleading results at best.

  6. That may well be true, but governing parties also traditionally do less well in local elections than in parliamentary ones (and even less well in local by-elections) so comparing 2017 results with 2015 or 2016 would also be misleading.

  7. I think the “misleading” is of yourself in talking about a decline in support for the SNP in circumstances where that decline compares one type of election with a different type of election.

  8. “NTY UK what is your name in real life? I’m thinking of adding you on Facebook”

    I don’t want this account to be associated to my person.

    “That may well be true, but governing parties also traditionally do less well in local elections than in parliamentary ones (and even less well in local by-elections) so comparing 2017 results with 2015 or 2016 would also be misleading.”

    As I’ve said there are caveats, although local by-elections held in Scotland in 2015/early 2016 closely resembled the result in the UK general election in Scotland…

  9. @NTY UK

    Personally I agree with most of your analysis but do not accept that 2014 changed politics in Scotland irevocably. In the longrun nothing is irrevocable!I believe you are correct to be point to signs of the SNP falling back from their 2015 peak when they polled 50% at the Westminster election. This year’s Holyrood election showed them at circa 46.5% as measured by constituency votes, and I suspect that had it been a Westminster election this year the SNP would probably have been short of 45%.The question is ‘How far will their decline go?’ Whilst I do not expect to see Labour’s former dominance restored anytime soon , is it too unrealistic to envisage a Westminster outcome in 2020 of SNP circa 42% Lab 28% Con 24%?

  10. Thanks Graham, responding to some of your points:

    “In the longrun nothing is irrevocable!”
    * This is true.

    “Whilst I do not expect to see Labour’s former dominance restored anytime soon , is it too unrealistic to envisage a Westminster outcome in 2020 of SNP circa 42% Lab 28% Con 24%?”
    * I think it all depends on whether the SNP hold a second referendum on independence and what their policies will be on the constitution come 2020. Within the current context I anticipate that the SNP will do less well than they did in 2015 (as turnout should drop from 2015 which will benefit the unionist parties to a greater extent), though them taking anything under 45% of the vote is really difficult for me to envisage at the moment… I haven’t seen any evidence of a Labour recovery in Scotland yet: all signs at the moment point towards gains for the Conservatives, possibly taking them to around the 20% mark.

  11. 42%, 28%, 24% . . .

    Only leaves 6% for Lib Dems, Green, UKIP and motley assortments. Even if their vote share doesn’t keep recovering / growing so much, surely they can be expected to take a minimum of 12% combined.

    Tory figure of 24% looks the most plausible of the three to me atm this far out.

  12. At the moment from the evidence we’ve seen so far it appears as though the SNP vote has declined slightly.

    Yes recent local by-elections form part of that, as comparing them to similar local by-elections in Scotland from this time last year indicates a substantial drop in the SNP vote (something along the lines of 10% weighing in demography). Again there are caveats: local by-elections are subject to an extremely low turnout and at the moment we only have a select few areas to discuss (though the pattern is consistent in all areas). The problem with brushing off these results as nothing more than mid-term elections is that compared to OTHER local council by-elections from this time last year (also “mid-term” elections) with a similar turnout there has been a consistent, substantial shift against the SNP.

    Additionally, there is the 2016 Scottish Parliament election in which the SNP’s vote share did drop slightly towards the end of the campaign in the opinion polls (where they started at 56-62% of the vote on the constituency ballot immediately after the 2015 UK general election they ended the campaign polling at 48-49% of the vote).

  13. Did you ever think they would hit over 50% of the vote in 2015?

  14. @NTYUK I think that, even by late 2015 they were struggling to get the vote out for local by-elections in the numbers that they were achieving post-referendum. My own view is that this is really what you would expect to happen – after the referendum and before the general election, most Yes voters were both energised and angry, so getting them to the polls was easy. That sort of level of interest in politics is always going to be somewhat transitory, and will probably not be revived until a second referendum. I don’t think it shows a significant shift in opinion – more just that people aren’t going to rush to the polls for things like local by-elections that, except for politics geeks, are not that important.

    It is interesting to look at the differences in how local election results are perceived in Scotland and England. Despite the Tories in England doing much worse than the SNP in Scotland, the English results are seen as indicating nothing much, while the Scottish results are seen as indicating a significant decline in SNP support.

    @Graham I think it’s entirely possible that, in the future, the SNP will poll higher at Westminster than Holyrood.

  15. Tory figure of 24% at Westminster seems pretty optimistic to me. I also think there’s still some power in the anti-Tory vote at Westminster, which doesn’t apply to the same extent in Holyrood, because the Scottish Tory party is more centrist than the UK one, and the Scottish Tories aren’t going to win power any time soon.

  16. “I don’t think it shows a significant shift in opinion – more just that people aren’t going to rush to the polls for things like local by-elections that, except for politics geeks, are not that important.”

    I agree with this to some extent, in that I believe that local council by-elections held in the immediate period surrounding the UK general election of 2015 had an more significant turnout/SNP vote. My problem with your argument is that I am comparing by-elections in areas of similar demographics/politics with SIMILAR TURNOUTS (which, by its very nature, is a measure of voter interest).

    Also the process was not gradual: we can trace the shift directly to the 2016 elections (Scottish Parliament election/EU referendum) which clearly insinuates that a pattern exists…

    “No. I thought they would get something closer to the referendum result IMHO, you?”

    Yes me too.

  17. One good example:

    WISHAW 13 August 2015
    Turnout: 26.1% (-11.2)

    SNP 51.1 (+16.7)
    LAB 32.8 (-24.9)
    CON 10.3 (+2.4)
    SOC 3.1
    UKIP 1.8
    LIB 1.0

    COATBRIDGE NORTH AND GLENBOIG 22 September 2016
    Turnout: 23.7% (-10.9)

    LAB 41.7 (-11.3)
    SNP 39.0 (+8.2)
    CON 11.3 (+5.3)
    GRN 6.0
    UKIP 1.9

  18. @Maxim
    ‘I don’t see Labour recovering 5%. I think they’ll get something lower than the Tory share’

    On the basis of the constituency votes Labour did outpoll the Tories at this year’s Holyrood elections and received 22.6%.Had it been a Westminster election I suspect Labour would have managed circa 25%. By 2020 Scotland will have had a further 3.1/2 years of the SNP and disappointment /disillusionment is surely likely to grow leading to a fair number of former Labour voters returning home in the same way that this happened re -former Tory voters who for 25 years had been voting SNP on an anti-Labour tactical basis.

    @NTY UK
    ‘I think it all depends on whether the SNP hold a second referendum on independence and what their policies will be on the constitution come 2020’
    I really do not believe there is any serious prospect of another Independence Referendum in this Parliament regardless of what Holyrood might want. Theresa May will stick to Cameron’s position on that.Westminster would say ‘No way’.

  19. The one thing that would likely ensure the current SNP coalition of voters stays together is a UK Tory Government trying to forbid an independence referendum.

  20. The UK Govt can reasonably assert that it is determined to respect the will of the Scottish electorate as expressed in September 2014 on a 85% turnout!

  21. Given likely boundary changes and the different dynamics of Holyrood and Westminster elections, I think the only seat they are currently odds-on to lose is whatever BRS becomes.

  22. NTY [email protected]

    By your logic the 1991 Monmouth By Election would have been a disaster for Labour because there was only a swing of 12.6% from Con to Lab compared to the 1990 Mid Staffordshire By Election that recorded a swing of 21.3% from Con to Lab.

    Most people would regard the loss of Monmouth as a very poor result for the Conservatives. OK it was not as catastrophic for the Tories as Mid Staffordshire but is certainly not a good result.

    The swing to the SNP since 2012 (over 10%) will still see huge SNP gains that will see the gap between the numbers of SNP councillors (425) and Labour councillors (394) increase significantly and the gap between the number of Labour councillors (394) and Tory councillors (115) reduce significantly.

  23. NTY [email protected]

    By your logic the 1991 Monmouth By Election would have been a disaster for Labour because there was only a swing of 12.6% from Con to Lab compared to the 1990 Mid Staffordshire By Election that recorded a swing of 21.3% from Con to Lab.

    Most people would regard the loss of Monmouth as a very poor result for the Conservatives. OK it was not as catastrophic for the Tories as Mid Staffordshire but is certainly not a good result.

    The swing to the SNP since 2012 (over 10%) will still see huge SNP gains that will see the gap between the numbers of SNP councillors (425) and Labour councillors (394) increase significantly and the gap between the number of Labour councillors (394) and Tory councillors (115) reduce significantly..

  24. The swing from Labour to SNP in yesterday’s by election was actually 9.75% . The trend over the remaining 7 months to next years local elections will be interesting. Will the pro SNP tide recede further?

  25. @ Dalek – I am discussing (consistent) trends set within a whole array of by-elections from 2015 to 2016, Wishaw and Coatbridge North & Glenboig is just one example of this to illustrate my point (as the two are demographically/politically similar).

  26. @ Maxim Parr-Reid – at the moment the opinion polls do not suggest that the result will be similar to 2016 (the most recent polls from before the Scottish Parliament election have the SNP on around 50% of the vote) so I certainly wouldn’t discount SNP holds in Dumfries & Galloway and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine.

  27. * Assuming of course that the boundaries remain the same.

  28. I could see something like this happening in 2020

    SNP: 60%
    Labour: 20%
    Conservative: 15%
    Liberal Democrat: 2%
    Other: 3%

    Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen now does it?

  29. I can see the SNP down to 45% in 2020 but I’m not entirely sure that the Conservatives will leap frog Labour, they weren’t ahead on both constituency and regional

  30. I think it’s undeniably easier for people to vote Tory at Holyrood than Westminster.

  31. I would agree….the Scottish Tories at Holyrood are perceived as being more moderate than the national party at Westminster elections. At Holyrood the SNP are now beginning to pay the electoral cost in NO voting constituencies of being in power while at Westminster they are now in a stronger position of being the main opposition to a Conservative government that looks almost certain to win a Second Term.

  32. In 2012 Labour were over 20% in North Lanarkshire and now the SNP are 1% ahead. That’s a swing of over 10% from Lab to SNP but if you were to add the first preference votes up within the four constituencies the SNP would be likely to be ahead in Cumbernauld and Airdrie while Labour would be likely to be ahead in Motherwell and Coatbridge.

    Would this be a good result for Labour or the SNP?

    In many respects the local results would suggest that the Coatbridge and Motherwell may be better targets for Labour than East Renfrewshire.

    I think that the SNP will hold all 4 of their North Lanarkshire constituencies but we could see a greatly reduced SNP majority in Coatbridge.

  33. At this year’s local election Labour topped the poll in Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill on 12498 votes to the SNP’s 10321. They came third in East Renfrewshire, behind the Conservatives by 8,515 votes!

    I don’t believe that the SNP are in any serious danger of losing this seat or others like it (for example Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, where Labour came first in the local election).

    What the results do show is that East Renfrewshire will be a fight between the Conservatives and the SNP, whilst East Lothian will be a fight between the SNP and Labour.

  34. Based on local results, Labour would have a better chance of gaining in East Lothian than holding Edinburgh South.

    The unwinding of the anti-Neil Hay factor, the Tory surge and some recovery in the unionist LD vote in a seat that they went from losing by 400 to then losing their deposit all don’t bode well for Labour.

    By contrast the SNP would still have held the Westminster constituency at the Holyrood elections last year because it also contains the SNP stronghold of Mussleburgh. The fact that Labour are now ahead on the council would infer that their position has improved since last year.

  35. The Glasgow Herald are suggesting that Labour are targeting only three seats in Scotland –

    Edinburgh South
    East Renfrewshire
    East Lothian

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15252039.Labour_targeting_major_resources_at_just_three_seats_in_Scotland__party_sources_suggest/

    The Daily Record, however, have run a story claiming that Labour are targeting Coatbridge. Labour were only piped at the post in North Lanarkshire (that includes Airdrie, Cumbernauld, Motherwell and Coatbridge constituencies). Despite an 11000 + SNP majority, Coatbridge is seen as the most marginal of the four North Lanarkshire constituencies.

  36. What impact did the publicity about the Monklands Macmafia have on the result here?

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