East Dunbartonshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4727 (8.6%)
Labour: 6754 (12.3%)
Lib Dem: 19926 (36.3%)
SNP: 22093 (40.3%)
Green: 804 (1.5%)
UKIP: 567 (1%)
MAJORITY: 2167 (3.9%)

Category: Marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, West. Part of the East Dunbartonshire council area.

Main population centres: Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Milngavie, Lenzie.

Profile: East Dunbartonshire covers the rural hinterland and affluent commuter towns to the north of Glasgow. It is a desirable residential area with a high rate of owner-occupiers, favoured by Glasgow`s middle class professionals.

Politics: Dunbartonshire East was created in 2005, bringing together the more middle class parts of the old Strathkelvin and Bearsden and Clydebank and Milngavie seats. In England it would almost certainly have been a new Conservative seat, but in Scotland they languish in a poor fourth place. Between 2005 and 2015 it was held by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson who managed to keep most of her vote share in 2015, but managed to lose her seat anyway as Labour voters deserted en masse for the SNP.

Current MP
JOHN NICOLSON (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Former journalist. First elected as MP for Dunbartonshire East in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7431 (15%)
Lab: 16367 (34%)
LDem: 18551 (39%)
SNP: 5054 (11%)
Oth: 545 (1%)
MAJ: 2184 (5%)
Con: 7708 (16%)
Lab: 15472 (33%)
LDem: 19533 (42%)
SNP: 2716 (6%)
Oth: 1295 (3%)
MAJ: 4061 (9%)
Con: 6635 (16%)
Lab: 19250 (46%)
LDem: 7533 (18%)
SNP: 6675 (16%)
Oth: 1393 (3%)
MAJ: 11717 (28%)
Con: 9986 (20%)
Lab: 26278 (53%)
LDem: 4843 (10%)
SNP: 8111 (16%)
Oth: 494 (1%)
MAJ: 16292 (33%)

2015 Candidates
ANDREW POLSON (Conservative) Educated at Douglas Academy. Radio station manager.
AMANJIT JHUND (Labour) Born 1981, Glasgow. Educated at Edinburgh university. Doctor and entrepreneur. Contested Windsor 2010.
JO SWINSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1980, Milngavie. Educated at Douglas Academy and LSE. Marketing manager. Contested Hull East 2001 and Strathkelvin and Bearsden 2003 Scottish Parliament election. MP for East Dunbartonshire 2005 to 2015. Parliamentary under-secretary for business since 2012.
ROSS GREER (Green) Educated at Strathclyde University.
JOHN NICOLSON (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Journalist.
Comments - 607 Responses on “Dunbartonshire East”
  1. How can you be very centre right? Is that as in so right wing hes no too far from the centre to be centre or centre right but not quite right wing enough to be right wing on its own

  2. I suppose it is confusing. I meant more that, amongst the Lib Dems, he is ardently in the centre-right wing, meaning that not only is he at the rightward edge of his party, but he is somewhat non-elastically so, as opposed to Lamb and Swinson, who, while generally seen as being on the Lib Dems’ rightward flank, also have fairly centre-left positions within the party.

  3. I find it astonishing that Swinson could somehow be ‘Not ready’. She was first elected in the same intake as Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Michael Gove; has spent a decade in parliament; has been a successful minister; has been a prominent figure in the party even whilst outside parliament over the past two years. Of course I can understand that she may not want to go for it, but it is a massive shame because she is most certainly up to it and the rest of the field is so bland.

    Of the others I guess I hope Lamb wins. But the hundreds of thousands who have joined the LDs since 2015 are almost certainly composed mainly of extreme Remainers, and unlikely to go for a leader who abstained on A50 and isn’t so keen on a second referendum. As a leadership candidate I guess he would have to commit to the latter – but hard for him to go too far down the Remain route given his constituency.

  4. Mr Pitt,

    Agree on the Scottish Tories splitting or at least acquiring a lot more autonomy. On balance, the rest of the Tory party (including Cameron) was an asset to the Tories prior to the GE, but May has turned them into a liability.

    However, in the long-run, I suspect that Ruth is right and it’s best to stay with the UK Tories. Two months of incompetance from the UK-wide leadership need not continue forever.

  5. Surely talk of a proper split (always a badly thought through idea in my view) has now been put to bed. What we will, I think, see is the Scottish Tories continuing to subtly differentiate themselves from the UK party. It will be interesting to see to what extent their MPs become a cohesive bloc. They did have ‘Ruth Davidson’s candidate’ plastered all over their leaflets, and some of the new MPs are close to Ruth (one was even her Chief Whip at Holyrood), so it is possible that they might support her positions in areas she takes a different line from the government. I doubt that will extend to very frequent rebellions, but given the slimness of the majority the mere fact of 13 (12 if you discount Mundell) MPs taking a subtly different view on something would need to be taken into account.

  6. Swinson has officially been elected deputy leader.

    When she was elected, Farron called her “the future of our party.”

    In announcing for the leadership today, Cable seemed to indicate that he wanted a caretaker role more than a full, standard two elections LD leadership.

    This leads me to think that the LDs are prepping for another snap election, and they want their best-known, must experienced hand in charge for it. The plan, then, would be to have him stand down in 2-3 years regardless of whether there has been an election. If there is one, his name recognition, they would hope, could boost their vote share nationally (into double digits? Perhaps 12%?) and get their seat count closer to 20 than 10. If there is no snap election, then he gets some movement on local elections, helps steady the ship, and Swinson steps in to be the young, inspiring leader pre-election.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that’s what they’re planning.

  7. I thought Swinson was due to takeover when Vince went.

    But Layla Moran – on the Politics Live show today – seems ambitious: even if she is an even more earnestly self righteous Remainian than Paddy was!

  8. The Lib Dems need a leader who can reach out to the 99% of voters who don’t live in Oxford, Cambridge, Bath or Richmond. Neither Moran or Swinson is that person.

  9. It does appear to be between those two:

    Swinson is Evens fav

    Layla is 11/8.

    6/1 the men

  10. Swinson leading 54-46 according to this informal poll:


  11. I’d be surprised if it’s that close.

    She’s now 1/7 fav.

    Davey is 9/2

  12. I don’t think the bookies’ odds reflect a lot when there has been minimal polling on the contest.

  13. They reflect politicos – but mainly LibDems’ – betting (as well as the fact that the first had her on 40% on him on just 20%).

  14. Common sense would still make her a heavy favourite, but British politics has had scant regard for common sense as of late.

  15. Jo Swinson elected Lib Dem leader by 47,900 to 28,021 votes.

  16. Roughly 60:40, which is in the ballpark of what everyone was expecting.

  17. I’d forgotten that I was still a Lib Dem until I saw a recent bank statement showed my annual fee going out, but I never received a ballot for the leadership election

    I would have voted Davey but I thought it strange that the media depicted him as the more left-leaning of the two candidates given his orange booker past

    Swinson on the other hand always struck me as quite squarely on the left of the party

  18. Given the febrile, unpredictable nature of British politics at the moment, being elected leader of the Lib Dems at present could be potentially a huge opportunity, or a total damp squib. We’ll see how it plays out.

  19. Jo Swinson has tabled a confidence motion.

    Smart politics, though you could argue it’s slightly cynical in that the aim is to make Jeremy Corbyn look indecisive, rather than to actually bring down the government.

  20. It’s a shame that the LDs needed a Judge to tell them what a head to head debate means.

  21. I actually think Swinson had a case, but SNP didn’t given this is a debate between parties vying to be PM of the UK not ‘First Minister’.

    But probably the publicity LD and SNP gain means they had nothing to lose by trying (even if the attempt was very cynical on the part of the SNP) and the faux sense of wrong will galvanise their supporters at least and maybe gain a few sympathetic ‘undecideds’.

  22. The truth is Swinson is only a candidate for PM in her own head.
    The law says that as long as parties are given a fair showing by broadcasters on balance, there is no god given right to be included in INDIVIDUAL programes.
    I for one wouldnt include the Lib Dems in ANYTHING.

    To say that Swinson has to be presented as an equal contender for PM would be utterly misleading. Voters want to hear between the two proper candidates, not have the confusion of the lib dem usual “a plague on both your houses” line.

    Swinson is excluded not because of sexism or because people are afraid of her,but because she really isn’t that relevant in the grand scheme of things. At 15% in the polls and with just 13 elected MPs she should think herself lucky she gets the attention she does!

    As for the SNP, well they will be involved in the seperate Scottish debate. They don’t need to be broadcast into england and wales because none of us can vote for them.

  23. SB: I can’t speak for all “voters” as you appear to be able to, but I personally don’t really want to hear a debate between the two candidates. It’s going to be awful.

    I do appreciate the logic in these 1v1 debates, but equally it was a totally free shot for Lib Dems to challenge the decision. I’m also not convinced the debates will have all that much effect. I don’t think they ever have before; Cleggmania petered out by polling day in 2010, and the Labour surge in 2017 wasn’t anything to do with the debates.

  24. To tell you the truth, i don’t honestly see the point of having ANY debates. They don’t reveal anything useful, and the media spend so much time on them.

    But if debates have to take place, they should be between the two contenders for office. If Lib dens are involved then the Tories should ALWAYS refuse to take part. Because why give the Lib Dems undeserved and unnecessary credibility?
    That was where Cameron went erong in 2010. We shall not make the same mistake again.

  25. BT – she’s lucky she’s in the 1 of 7 debates, as that still over represents her 7.5% from the last GE (the broadcasters use this as well as numbers of PPCs to determine PPBs and seats on QT etc).

    In fact the LDs standing down in seats diminished their claim to be one of the big Parties. As they’re third way down from the 635 Tory Candidates.

    PT – over 85% did vote for these 2 Parties so it’s an obvious decision. I’d argue it didn’t even need deciding upon.

    But I agree with Shaun. Despite the hype only 11m watched the debates in 2010 and only 2m live in 2017. Even on catch up etc combined was only 4m. [But Cleggymania arising out of him simply looking at the camera unlike GB and DC undoubtedly did gain them seats as postal votes were cast during that peak in 2010.]

    They didn’t even make the Top 10 viewed programmes that week.

  26. ‘I’m also not convinced the debates will have all that much effect. I don’t think they ever have before’

    Clegg mania might have petered out by polling day but at the time it had many of the political know-it-alls convinced the Lib Dems would beat Labour to second place in the forthcoming election

    Also, last year, in the one live audience exchange Theresa May did agree to take part in, she came across very poorly ad saw her ratings plunge, whereas Corbyn actually came across a lot better than people (including the voters) thought he would

    if Corbyn can actually successfully call Johnson out for the raft of serious lies he’s told throughout his career focusing on his time at No 10 – and there’s so many it shouldn’t be hard – we might be onto something, but I’m not banking on it

  27. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch last night. Anyone want to fill me in on the details?

  28. Been in Hungary all week and happy to have missed it all.

    Chatting to various Brit Remainer expats the past few days has been illuminating.

    No surprise most will be voting Lib Dem but the vehemence against Corbyn surprised me. Not one I spoke to will vote Labour. Boris very much preferred to Corbyn despite the Brexit issue.

  29. Julie E as host won, although her cutting them off – after presumably her earpiece told her x secs were up – didn’t make for an illuminating debate.

    A draw was the Sky data poll finding: Johnson won according to 51%, 49% said Corbyn.

    The Farage interview on BBC was more of a watch, as he enjoys sparring with the audience.

    I didn’t bother watching ITV’s 10pm interview as it was the LD, Green, SNP & Plaid Leaders!

  30. Hemmy: on the Corbyn thing, perhaps your expat chums are unusually attuned to anti-Semitism and conspiracy-mongering, living as they do under the regime of Europe’s Jew-baiter-in-chief.

  31. The expats were largely from places like Brussels and Luxembourg (I was at a European conference), none from Hungary which understandably contains few professional expats (though Nick Griffin lives there now I think).

    But yes it is the twin pillars of anti-semitism and his approach to economic policy which come up in conversation every time. Of course middle class high-earning professionals will think differently to other kinds of expat; were one to interview young tour reps and bar workers in Spain surely there would be a different kind of answer.

  32. Jo Swinson is said to have a 27% chance of losing her seat according to the MRP.

    On thosd figures you’d normally advise her to stay home a bit more, but given that “the more people see of her, the less they like her,” maybe that’s not such a good idea…

  33. I don’t have any great love for Swinson tbh, however I do feel a bit sorry for her.

    Inasmuch as she’s not done a lot wrong, but the very unfair amount of media coverage, especially at the start of the campaign when it really mattered for a party like hers, gave her a tough uphill battle.

    When I say unfair, I mean the AMOUNT of coverage she / they got compared, say, to Labour – who, whilst way out in front on seats were not polling that much different to LD at the start – plus the LD were way ahead of both the ‘big 2’ parties in the Euro election this year.

    With hindsight no doubt the Lib Dems could have done a number of things better to make the news and ram home key messages – in particular the early signs that they would go really hard after Corbyn never came to much at all compared to how much they’ve attacked the Tories.

    In theory focusing much more on Cons makes some sense if you look at the seats they were still in contention in in 2017, but that is:

    a) very limiting, i.e. to Tory Remain seats more-or-less; and

    b) a flawed strategy that overlooked that the reason they were doing well in the polls was because of Corbyn Labour’s flaws and their best bet was to try and supplant them on a national level. By not doing this, their overall support has fallen so much that they are barely succeeding in their top Tory target seats and likely to lose some others TO the Tories.
    And the more Labour rises in the polls (at the expense of the LDs) and it looks like Corbyn could still be an arm’s length away from some part in the next government after all, the more the level-headed LD voters take fright and switch to Tories instead to keep Corbyn out.
    And so on, it becomes a death spiral. . .

    But my original point still stands that a more balanced coverage of Swinson and key Lib Dem reps at the start of the campaign might have found the LDs in a very different position in the polls right now in spite of their campaign mistakes – or might even have better validated their strategy! – perhaps they overestimated the coverage they’d get.

  34. Swinson may have put on the soft gloves for Labour but Labour certainly haven’t reciprocated! I still see people unironically echoing the infamous “squirrel killer” thing.

  35. I was surprised just how quickly the wheels came off the Lib Dem campaign. I always said they wouldn’t do as well as they thought they would. But even I thought that meant they would get around 30 seats. If they really do end up with less than 20 then that will be utterly devastating for them, whatever brave face they try to put on it.

    And in those circumstances, I think Swinson has got to go really. She’s proven to be quite ineffective. A case of having been overpromoted and over hyped by the Lib Dems I think.

  36. HH warned that Swinson would be a let down…and he’s been proven right. Her lack of political experience has been painfully apparent throughout the campaign. HH was also right to point out that Davey would have been the more effective leader.

  37. No sympathy for Swinson at all. She stood on one policy, remain, and has trashed the chances of remain unity (not that i care much about Brexit). Specifically her unrealistic and undemocratic revoke policy which was intended for one purpose only to give people a reason to vote LD rather than Labour. Contrast the way she has behaved to Gina Miller who has been much more balanced where needed.

    Tactically she overestimated the willingness of remain Tories to switch (EU elections were ages away when remain Tories were horrified by crash out and had a free vote anyway). She also trashed her chances with tactical Labour voters.

    While politicians naturally want to maximise their seat totals and all play that game to a great extent she has maxed out opportunism and deserves to end up with just the 13 seats projected on MRP. This is nothing to do with any policies or views she has (she is very light on anything to be honest), just simply how she has conducted her campaign.

  38. More and more parallels between Jo Swinson and Theresa May:

    – relatively good reputation wore off markedly over the campaign
    – had a pretty honest manifesto which couldn’t compete against the moon-on-a-stick stuff
    – nobody is really sure what she stands for

  39. Lewis Goodall of Sky News is reporting that an SNP source has told him about this seat “it’s hanging on a shoogly peg”.
    Could Swinson lose?
    Layla Moran would be doing better but I think her hitting her partner might rule her out permanently from becoming Lib Dem Leader.

  40. Well, being abusive to partners never stopped a certain other party leader…

  41. Johnson seems a lousy husband but I’m not aware of him being physically abusive.

  42. Datapraxis modelling suggests Swinson is 5 points up here but the SNP still have the potential to gain it.

  43. I underestimated the scale of the Tory victory in my election prediction, but one thing I got consistently right was my view that Swinson was a complete crock. Though even I never expected her to lose her own seat. She is the first leader of one of the big 3 national parties to lose her own seat since before the war – truly staggering incompetence. Note also that the ramping from Pollroll et al about how Boris’s seat was more vulnerable than Swinson’s turned into horse manure.

  44. HH- I was happy to admit elsewhere that you were completely right about Swinson. I was never a great fan either, but I thought she’d bring an understated competence to proceedings, and not manage to get on people’s tits. Unfortunately the majority of her performances were shrill, and also incoherent. She also urgently needs some Maggie level voice training, as she is painful to listen to.

  45. Oh- and those physique hugging dresses desperately need to go. Not professional looking.

  46. In retrospect, the Lib Dems were never going to do very well no matter who was the leader, given that fear of Corbyn was so rampant.

    Given this, Swinson should have run a humble, tactical campaign rather than making daft predictions about becoming prime minister.

    On the eve of the election I had a beer with a friend who works in the city, even more of a remoaner than me, who has normally voted Lib Dem given that he has lived for years in Kingston and now Twickenham. His visceral hatred of Corbyn shone through and he said that his office of youngish rich economic liberals all thought the same.

  47. 2024 might prove more successful for the lib dems.

  48. The centrist party only works if there are enough centrists and I don’t think there are anywhere in the world at the moment.

    In many ways I think it was a shame that the Greens didn’t replace the Lib Dems back in 2015. There’s more of an alternative vision with the Greens- it was kind of something the Liberals had back in the 1970’s (not that they had many seats of course!) being much more socially liberal than the other two parties. Now they just seem to be between the two main parties on most policies but lacking any ideas that would inspire anyone other than someone who thinks both parties have gone too extreme.

    They’ve got to stop being opportunist and have a vision. Remain was their best chance to get back seats and they overplayed their hand. Remain was only going to work if there was a vision that went with remain rather than just remain end of story.

  49. I know Lancs Observer, in particular, has a hobby horse about how irrelevant the Lib Dems have become, so thought he might appreciate this –

    My 8 year old son has become a TV quiz show obsessive and during the lockdown he has been watching them for hours every day, driving us all crazy (I swear I can’t bear another moment of Challenge).

    This afternoon I took a break from work for a cup of tea and watched “Tenable” with him for 20 minutes. The question was “the last 10 Lib Dem / Liberal leaders”. The team was made up of four retired blokes who seemed very well informed. Well, they managed to name almost every leader from Jo Grimond up to Nick Clegg. But not one of their team had heard of any of the leaders since – not Farron, not Cable, not Swinson. Especially after four years of extraordinary political wrangling over Brexit, and having had three General Elections in the past five years, I just find it completely extraordinary. Even the relatively well informed parts of the public don’t notice them at all any more.

  50. I find that bizarre frankly. I can kind of understand forgetting that Cable was ever actually leader (he really didn’t do much woth the role, and was very low profile), but Farron and Swinson were certainly prominent enough if one took even a passing interest in politics.

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