Edinburgh North & Leith

2015 Result:
Conservative: 9378 (16.2%)
Labour: 18145 (31.3%)
Lib Dem: 2634 (4.5%)
SNP: 23742 (40.9%)
Green: 3140 (5.4%)
UKIP: 847 (1.5%)
Others: 122 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 5597 (9.6%)

Category: Marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Lothian. Part of the Edinburgh council area.

Main population centres: Edinburgh, Leith.

Profile: The boundary between Edinburgh North and Leith and Edinburgh East runs along Princes Street, meaning the city centre itself is split between seats - the Old Town, Holyrood and St Andrews House are in Edinburgh East, the New Town and the retail centre of Edinburgh lie within this seat. Around the city centre this is a dense, urban residential seat with a high proportion of tenements and apartments, popular with professionals and students. To the north is Leith, the historic port that served Edinburgh and became part of the city in 1920. Industrial decline and deriliction had taken the toll on Leith and by the 1980s it had a reputation for violence, prostitution and drugs, most famously characterised by Irvine Welsh`s Trainspotting, but since then the area has undergone substantial redevelopment.

Politics: The seats covering Leith consistently returned Labour MPs between 1945 and 2015, but fell in the SNP landslide. The equivalent Scottish Parliament seat, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, was narrowly retained by Labour in the 2011 SNP victory.

Current MP
DEIDRE BROCK (SNP) Born Western Australia. Educated at John Curtin University. Edinburgh councillor since 2007. First elected as MP for Edinburgh North & Leith in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7079 (15%)
Lab: 17740 (37%)
LDem: 16016 (34%)
SNP: 4568 (10%)
Oth: 1953 (4%)
MAJ: 1724 (4%)
Con: 7969 (19%)
Lab: 14597 (34%)
LDem: 12444 (29%)
SNP: 4344 (10%)
Oth: 3286 (8%)
MAJ: 2153 (5%)
Con: 4626 (14%)
Lab: 15271 (46%)
LDem: 6454 (19%)
SNP: 5290 (16%)
Oth: 1593 (5%)
MAJ: 8817 (27%)
Con: 7312 (18%)
Lab: 19209 (47%)
LDem: 5335 (13%)
SNP: 8231 (20%)
Oth: 858 (2%)
MAJ: 10978 (27%)

2015 Candidates
IAIN MCGILL (Conservative) Educated at Drummond Community High School. Director of an employment agency. Contested Midlothian 2005, Edinburgh North and Leith 2010.
MARK LAZAROWICZ (Labour) Born 1953, Dagenham. Educated at St Andrews University. Advocate. Edinburgh councillor 1980-1996, 1999-2001. Leader of Edinburgh council 1986-1993.Contested Edinburgh Pentlands 1987, 1992. MP for Edinburgh North and Leith 2001 to 2015.
MARTIN VEART (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Bracondale School and University of Wales. Geophysical engineer.
ALAN MELVILLE (UKIP) Born Edinburgh. Educated at Napier University.
SARAH BEATTIE-SMITH (Green) Educated at Peebles High School and Edinburgh College of Art. Policy officer.
DEIDRE BROCK (SNP) Born Western Australia. Educated at John Curtin University. Edinburgh councillor since 2007.
Comments - 89 Responses on “Edinburgh North & Leith”
  1. This was another Edinburgh seat a lot of people thought the LD’s had a good chance of winning in 2010. I think this time round they will weighing rather than counting the Labour vote. πŸ™‚

  2. Yes, the LDs will collapse spectacularly and the SNP will get 2nd because the Tory vote is well dug in. The Greens will also hold their deposit.

    My Dad knows someone with civil service connections who used to work for Lord Hamilton here (and knows about the SNP and the civil service but I stop here).

  3. Malcolm Chisholm is standing down as MSP.

  4. Iain McGill has been reselected for the Conservatives:


  5. I can see the Greens doing well in this seat. The have 4 Cllrs. where their ward if fully or partially included in this constituency.

  6. North and East are the two Greenest parts of Edinburgh. I can definitely see some Liberals moving to Green, especially here. Could be a winnable deposit for them on a very difficult election night for everyone in the squeeze.

    As across all of Edinburgh, and Scotland, this year: the story this time will clearly be the Nationalists. Lazarowicz has a fight on his hands. He’s fairly well known though (but not as much of a personal vote supposedly as Malcolm Chisholm, who uniquely held on against the yellow surge in 2011). Notably a rare beast: an Englishman representing a Scottish constituency! If he can hold his previous share, he’s looking good. But a high turnout (as widely predicted) spells all sorts of chaos here.

    Compared to West and South, this seat had a better Yes vote in September. Still less than No, of course, but the voting system favours the united.

    As for showing off about connections, I went to school with the Lib Dem candidate who almost won here in 2010. He was an enormous politics nerd even then! Conspicuously, he’s not standing again this time. Smart lad. Who wants archive footage of tearful counts like that?

  7. Glossy leaflet from Mark Lazarowicz received today. Very much anti-Tory, with bits on his independence from the Labour Party line on Trident and Iraq/wars, and a bit from Malcolm Chisholm too. Apart from that, lots of local stuff on how hard he’s working for us. Not a bad leaflet, and I think it shows the approach he’s planning to take.

  8. The Green vote could hurt the SNP if the result is close.

  9. Both the SNP and the Greens should do well in this seat. A large section of the 2010 Lib Dems will likely go Green this time, whereas the SNP should be confident of taking another big chunk of the Lib Dem vote as well as direct Labour switchers.

    I wonder if there is a “posh” New-Town tactical Lib Dem vote here as well, which may revert back to the Tories given that the only chance of beating Labour this time round is through the SNP. Would they be more likely to vote anti-Labour, anti-SNP or not bother with either of them?

  10. Comparing Edinburgh Northern & Leith to Edinburgh North is like comparing apples and pairs. The Westminster constituency is larger and more affluent (with additional areas like Dean Village).

  11. I’m not convinced that has much of an impact on the competitiveness of the seat. I doubt that Labour actually do significantly better than the SNP in the more affluent areas.

  12. Rumour has it that the two impending Ashcroft Scottish polls are this seat and Edinburgh South. If they show the SNP ahead in both seats, I think I’d be struggling to see a Scottish seat that I’d have Labour as favourites to win.

  13. Ashcroft:

    SNP – 43 (+33)
    Lab – 29 (-9)
    Con – 14 (-1)
    LD – 6 (-28)
    Others – 7 (+3)


  14. Think Labour would have hoped to be closer than that. Also not that much LD / Con vote left to squeeze.

  15. Lazarowicz looks like he’s in deep toilet based on that Ashcroft poll!

  16. I must say one has to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the thought of all those scots labour mps who though they had seats for life getting the order of the boot.

  17. As someone who has voted both Labour and SNP over the years, the thought of jettisoning some of these entitled Labour MPs is just too tempting to ignore.

  18. I notice that “Others” are up three points to 7% in Edinburgh North & Leith, according to Ashcroft. This is more than the LibDems are currently polling there, despite the woes of the Greens. I’m curious as to which party those 7% have in mind. Recently I’ve heard tales of a UKIP mini-surge in parts of Scotland. Wishful thinking, or is this a sign of that?

  19. Tom Wilde

    No UKIP mini surge here – the Scottish Greens have a base voter of 5% in EN&L, factor in the TUSC candidate and you are looking at 1% UKIP support.

  20. Definitely no UKIP surge here or any sort of interest in UKIP whatsoever. UKIP candidates are not seen at all or go round with their collars up and their hats pulled down over their eyes. My guess is the 3 points would be attributed to Greens.

  21. “Others” in the Ashcroft poll consisted of 6% Green and 1% Ukip. Greens got 2.2% in the last WM election; assorted others (Liberal, TUSC and Socialist Labour) got 1.6% in total. Ukip didn’t stand.


  22. I can’t think of any seat where’s there’s particularly likely to be a UKIP surge, mini or otherwise – even in NE Fife where they almost kept their deposit they aren’t even standing a candidate this time as their former candidate (who used to be the tory candidate too) Mike Scott-Hayward is running as an independent. Orkney and Shetland is most likely to see UKIP keeping their deposit, as they did in 2010, but otherwise it looks unlikely that they’ll make any progress here, and in fact Farage admitted as much recently when he said they were going to be ‘obliterated’ in Scotland (not that there was much to obliterate).

  23. As a Tory voter, I’m perilously close to voting Labour this time around. Any views on tactical voting in Edi North and Leith?

  24. I’m pretty unconvinced by both the Torys and Labour this time round but I’ll be voting Labour as the best chance of stopping the SNP bandwagon.

  25. Labour Hold

  26. Beal Bocht: ‘Any views on tactical voting in Edi North and Leith?’

    Tactical voting just won’t work as they end up being spread amongst, in this case, Lib Dem and Labour, splitting the protest vote. Many people will find it difficult voting for their political enemies also. All in all, it looks very like an SNP gain here. In fact only Edinburgh South may be the only non- SNP gain in all Edinburgh seats- and that’s going to be very tight.

  27. Malcolm Chisolm will be retiring at the next Holyrood election – I wonder if Labour will pick Lazarowicz, who I think was generally one of the better-regarded Labour MPs to fight this seat.

  28. My prediction for Holyrood next year.

    Labour’s success will be closing their gap with the SNP. I think most of their constituency MSP’s will come within 2000 to 3000 votes of holding on in constituencies they were losing by five figures earlier this month.

    On the boundaries of the seats of Johann Lamont (Glasgow Pollok) and Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) the SNP would be around 10000 votes ahead so for them to lose by less than 2000 would be advancement for Labour (though it may not seem so on paper).

    Although very marginal, I don’t think Labour will gain Edinburgh Southern because the Haye factor will not be there this time. The most likely Labour hold will be Edinburgh Northern & Leith. I say this because Malcolm Chisholm has defied defeat before, the SNP won the Westminster seat by under 10% and the Holyrood seat has better boundaries for Labour (no Dean Village).

    I also have Labour just holding Eastwood and Dumfriesshire, returning the same number of constituency seats as the Tories, and the Lib Dems being reduced to a single seat.

    Ayr – Con Hold
    Coatbridge & Chryston – SNP Gain from Lab
    Cowdenbeath – SNP Gain from Lab
    Dumbarton – SNP Gain from Lab
    Dumfriesshire – Lab Hold
    Dunfermline – SNP Re-Gain (by election loss)
    Eastwood – Lab Hold
    Edinburgh Northern & Leith – Labour Hold
    Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire – Con Hold
    Galloway & West Dumfries – Con Hold
    Glasgow Maryhill & Springburn – SNP Gain from Lab
    Glasgow Pollok – SNP Gain from Lab
    Glasgow Provan – SNP Gain from Lab
    Motherwell & Wishaw – SNP Gain from Lab
    Orkney – SNP Gain
    Renfrewshire South – SNP Gain from Lab
    Rutherglen – SNP Gain from Lab
    Shetland – LD Hold
    Uddingston & Bellshill – SNP Gain from Lab

  29. “The most likely Labour hold will be Edinburgh Northern & Leith. I say this because Malcolm Chisholm has defied defeat before, the SNP won the Westminster seat by under 10% and the Holyrood seat has better boundaries for Labour (no Dean Village).”

    Malcolm Chisholm is standing down next year. The SNP should be confident of picking it up. I think it’s more probable for Labour to pick up Edinburgh Southern or Edinburgh Central. The SNP won on 29.4% and 32.7% in these seats, respectively, in 2011 with a 45% share nationally. The tactical Lib Dem vote will plummet from third, and could help Labour.

    Regarding Orkney and Shetland, it’s interesting that Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur are not on the list, with Jamie Stone heading the Highlands and Islands list.

    It will be interesting to see if incumbency plays a bigger factor at Holyrood than Westminster. As you mentioned, it certainly helped Chisholm in 2011, and almost helped Sarah Boyack in Central. Surprise holds next year could include Elaine Smith in Coatbridge, Hugh Henry in Renfrewshire South, and a comfortable win for Ken MacIntosh in Eastwood.

    Interesting that you have the Conservatives holding on in Ayr and Galloway. I think the SNP might pip them.

  30. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the following SNP MSPs will be standing down:

    Dave Thompson – Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch
    Rob Gibson – Caithness, Sutherland & Ross
    Marco Biagi – Edinburgh Central
    Tricia Marwick – Mid Fife & Glenrothes
    Fiona McLeod – Strathkelvin & Bearsden
    Adam Ingram – Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley

    I believe that Alex Salmond hasn’t stated his intention to stand down in Aberdeenshire East.

    Many of the current list will be expected to contest the seats the SNP don’t currently have (Stuart McMillan in Greenock; Humza Yousaf in Pollok; Bob Doris in Maryhill; Stewart Maxwill in Ren South; Chic Brodie in Ayr; Clare Adamson in Motherwell; Richard Lyle in Uddingston; Aileen McLeod in Galloway; Paul Wheelhouse in Ettrick). I would expect Shirley-Anne Somerville to fight Dunfermline again following her by-election defeat, and list MSP Annabelle Ewing may be selected to succeed Tricia Marwick.

    It will be interesting to see whether other seats are filled (or nominated, at least) by candidates who missed out on selection for Westminster, or whether new talent will be found.

  31. Also, Patrick Harvie’s candidacy in Glasgow Kelvin, which surely be the party’s number one target at Holyrood, following a 15.5% list vote in 2011, and a saved deposit in Glasgow North (which is not nearly as Green-friendly as Kelvin), could lead to another Green candidates being announced in Edinburgh seats such as Southern (14.9% in 2011 – Alison Johnstone?), Central (14.4% – Peter McColl) and Northern (12.3% – one of several councillors).

    Whereas the SNP could be expected to hold Glasgow Kelvin (Harvie could even be picked up by Labour voters as the main challenger to the SNP), The presence of Green candidates could have a big effect on the SNP in the Edinburgh seats.

  32. I suspect that we will see the distribution of votes at Holyrood come much more into line with the recent Westminster results. That would mean a smallish swing away from the SNP in much of the North East and the Highlands, an additional and substantial swing from Labour to the SNP in most of central Scotland and the sNP making further progress in the south. I think that post-referendum, most people are very settled in their views and are unlikely to change. The vast majority of Yes voters will vote SNP, at least at constituency level, and fewer anti-independence voters will vote SNP than did so in 2011.

    I don’t see the Greens generally making a huge difference to the constituency voting. I think that, probably everywhere except Glasgow Kelvin, enough people will realise they can’t win to keep them in the 5-8% range, and not all of these people would otherwise vote SNP.

  33. Based on these results I imagine Labour could potentially grab Edinburgh Central…

    I think on a good night Edinburgh Central and Southern could go Labour and Western Liberal Democrat… Pentlands could go Tory, but I strongly doubt it.

  34. @ Dalek –

    I tend to agree slightly with Pie on Ayr and Galloway seats, what makes you think the Tories can hold them with a high turnout?

  35. The Scots must surely realise that, whilst it may be in their interests to have a full slate of SNP MPs at Westminster, it is not in their interests to have a one-party state at Holyrood. In the interest of good governance they need some kind of strong opposition. I’d expect Labour and the Tories to do a bit better in the 2016 elections compared with 2015 for this reason (though perhaps still worse than 2011). Remember also that people have a constituency and list vote, unlike in general elections, so we may see a lot of split voting amongst recent SNP converts.

  36. Fair points Hemmelig but I fear a lot of this analysis may turn out to be academic as it shouldn’t be too difficult for the SNP to win or get very close to 65/73 constituency seats anyway. (I broadly agree with Piemonteis)

    Labour may do alright in the Lothians (at least Edinburgh) and I suspect the Tories will do marginally better in the north east and South of Scotland than 2011 and perhaps the LDs will improve marginally from that nadir on the list in the Highlands but overall SNP support will probably be more evenly spread across Scotland than in 2011 which should still help them.

    Labour won 15/73 constituencies last time and I’m struggling to see them retaining more than half a dozen even if they hang on to the likes of Iain Gray’s seat, Coatbridge and Renfrewshire S

  37. H.Hemmelig

    “The Scots must surely realise that, whilst it may be in their interests to have a full slate of SNP MPs at Westminster, it is not in their interests to have a one-party state at Holyrood.”

    I strongly agree with this, which is why it could be argued as being in the SNP’s interests to implicitly support an SNP/Green split vote. If the SNP were to rely on Green votes to push through legislation, this would go some way to reducing the perception of one-party hegemony, while maintaining a pro-independence majority.

  38. @ A Brown – really? I’m struggling to see them get any seats outside of Lothian, with the exception of Aberdeen Central/Eastwood/Dumfiresshire on a very good night… I have them on three constituency seats currently….

  39. A. Brown

    “I’m struggling to see them retaining more than half a dozen even if they hang on to the likes of Iain Gray’s seat, Coatbridge and Renfrewshire S”

    I would take note of Simon’s comment above:
    “I suspect that we will see the distribution of votes at Holyrood come much more into line with the recent Westminster results.”

    Unless there is a significant incumbent factor that did not come into play in this year’s elections (which I would not rule out), many of Labour’s holds from 2011 are destined to go, including East Lothian and Cumbernauld.

    I’m beginning to think we should start from the supposition that the SNP will win every constituency, and then work backwards.

    I’m thinking:
    Lib Dem (2) – Orkney and Shetland
    Conservative (1) – Ettrick, R&B
    Labour (3) – Edinburgh S., Cowdenbeath, Eastwood.

    I’m waiting to see what kind of head of steam Harvie builds up in Kelvin.
    I would also not be surprised to see Coatbridge and Dumfriesshire stay Labour due to popular incumbents.
    The Edinburgh Central result will depend on whether the Greens stand. Could go Labour.

  40. @NTYUK

    I think those seats I mentioned will go SNP but they’re the most likely surprise holds (looking at Lab’s best case scenario).

    I’m only really confident of Labour retaining Eastwood and perhaps taking Edinburgh Southern. Dumfriesshire is more likely to go Tory than stay Labour (or even go SNP).

    I think we’re looking at this overall:

    SNP 72 (+3) 67/5
    Lab 30 (-7) 2/28
    Con 17 (+2) 2/15
    LD 5 (-) 2/3
    Grn 5 (+3) 0/5

    This seems like almost a foregone conclusion at this stage.

  41. @ A Brown –

    I have them taking Edinburgh Central too – but I’m not very confident about this.

    My prediction for the constituency section being:

    Lib Dems 1 (Orkney)
    Conservatives 2 (Ettrick, Dumfriesshire)
    Labour 3 (Edinburgh Southern, Eastwood, Edinburgh Central)

    I think Ayr is too close to call between the SNP and Tories, but I have it going SNP due to a high turnout (while the area has a high Tory presence around suburban/middle class areas it also has a very strong working class vote – estimated No vote of 62%).

    I have Galloway leaning SNP seat based on the results of the General Election – the SNP performed pretty strongly in the Dumfries and Galloway seat and the area has a smaller Tory presence than in Ettrick or Ayr.

    I wouldn’t be so confident with Eastwood however: I think it could go SNP, Tory or Labour depending on the night, but ultimately I think Labour have a minuscule lead here: I am not confident enough to say that this will be the case on the night of the election.

    I think Dumfriesshire will go Tory based on the election (2015), stronger unionist vote and proximity to England.

    I’m not too sure about East Lothian and Aberdeen Central, I think they could go either way (Labour or SNP) but I have the SNP as the favourites currently. Aberdeen Central is similar in nature to Edinburgh Central and I imagine Labour performed well here in the General Election, yet it’s quite a hard one to call.

  42. “I wouldn’t be so confident with Eastwood however: I think it could go SNP, Tory or Labour depending on the night, but ultimately I think Labour have a minuscule lead here”.

    We’re in a strange situation where, the more middle class, the better the chances for Labour, and Eastwood is even more middle class than the East Renfrewshire Westminster constituency.

    Regarding Aberdeen Central, this is one of the few seats where Labour have a list MSP formerly representing the constituency, who will be challenging for the seat in Lewis MacDonals. Sarah Boyack is the other notable example in Edinburgh Central. The fact they were placed on the list as well as contesting their constituencies in 2011 was of course due to having lost their notional majorities due to boundary changes.

  43. A Brown –

    How confident are you with your regional figures?
    I on the whole agree with most of what you have said in relation to the constituency vote (as set out above).

    Just for interest, and please correct me if I am wrong, here is my estimates for the referendum results in the seats I have mentioned above –

    Orkney / 67% No
    Shetland / 64% No

    Ettrick / 69% No
    Dumfiresshire / 68% No
    Ayr / 62% No
    Galloway / 64% No

    Edinburgh Southern / 67% No
    Edinburgh Central / 64% No (?)
    Eastwood / 66% No
    Aberdeen Central / ? 63% No ?
    East Lothian / 62% No

  44. “We’re in a strange situation where, the more middle class, the better the chances for Labour, and Eastwood is even more middle class than the East Renfrewshire Westminster constituency.”

    Eastwood is such an unusual constituency however… If the seat were outside of the Glasgow conurbation I imagine it would be a ‘safe’ Scottish Conservative seat (by their own standards), however I imagine that the population of the area has closer ties to the City of Glasgow – Labour’s support in the area is not so much derived from the tactical voting middle class or a ‘unionist’ working class vote (if their ever is such a thing any more?) but more as a consequence of the background and relation it’s residents have to the city of Glasgow (possibly more likely to come from working class backgrounds and experience poverty? The one example I have of this – and I mean this is a completely not bigoted way – is that the area has a relatively high Catholic population similar to other authorities in the Greater Glasgow area.

    The seat has always had a large Conservative vote given that it is perhaps the most “middle class” constituency in Scotland and was once the Tory ‘heartland’ of their safest Scottish seat (East Renfrewshire). With the vote so close between the Tories and Labour it leaves the SNP with room to take the constituency – so for me the area is a three-way marginal which is perhaps the most uncertain seat in Scotland.

  45. It should be noted that Neil Hay actually ran about 1.5% behind the Yes vote in Edinburgh South this year, which was pretty unusual. I’d anticipate that this is unlikely to be repeated in 2016, assuming nobody says anything stupid. I’d make the SNP favourites in all Edinburgh seats, although certainly Southern and Central are likely to be closest.

    I suspect your referendum guesses are a point or two too high for No, although it’s very difficult to tell given the lack of alignment between ward and parliamentary boundaries. Some of the areas that lie in the Edinburgh South Westminster seat but not the Holyrood one are very good for the Tories and will have been extremely heavily No-voting last year.

  46. @ Simon – that’s fair: they aren’t ideal but I think they are overall in the right ball park. Ayr’s result was around 61.5% No.

    Edinburgh South did have a higher combined SNP/Green % compared to the referendum result of 65% No in the constituency: however, I believe Ian Murray ran an effective campaign against the SNP candidate. I disagree that the SNP are the favourites in Edinburgh Southern given their RELATIVE poor performance in the Edinburgh South constituency: the Edinburgh Southern constituency is a more middle class/affluent seat with – what I imagine to be – a higher concentration of Labour voters compared to elsewhere in the constituency due to the fact that Scottish Labour’s new demographic appears to be affluent unionist middle class voters…

    I’m unsure about Edinburgh Central, and agree with your conclusion for this seat…

  47. I think that with a standard non-offensive SNP candidate, they would have taken Edinburgh South. I understand that it’s a difficult seat but they did well in other relatively similar parts of the world – most affluent, urban unionist seats now have SNP MPs. I’m thinking of seats like Aberdeen South, East Renfrewshire, and to varying degrees the other Edinburgh seats. For example, the differences between South West and South are not sufficient to explain the SNP winning one seat by 8000+ and losing the other by nearly three thousand. The referendum results were 38% yes in South west and 35% yes in South.

  48. @ Simon – it certainly would be a much more favourable result for the SNP. What won Labour the seat was ultimately tactical voting, the Liberal Democrat vote in the South constituency collapsed – I believe as a result of tactical voting. The same was not as true for the Labour vote in, say, the Edinburgh West constituency (which was Liberal Democrat). The Greens also have an impact on this seat in the Scottish Parliament – as it is a marginal seat 4% of the vote can make the difference… It certainly would have in Berwickshire or East Dunbartonshire.

    I’m not sure how big an impact the SNP candidate had on the constituency – and I personally do not believe it was enough to lose the SNP the seat given that Labour had a lead of 5.3% in the seat – but it might have done, and I do believe it had some effect on the SNP vote (just not significant enough to lose the constituency for the SNP)

    In saying that, Labour performed suprising well in the Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency – no doubt as a result of the toxic Mhairi Black.

  49. I think you underestimate the difference that good and bad candidates can make. I think that Labour probably did less poorly in Paisley and Renfrewshire South because Douglas Alexander was clearly of a higher calibre than most of the rest of Labour’s incumbents. Also, i think some people would be concerned about electing a 20 year old, regardless of what her views were. I think most of the controversy around her was manufactured and wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but it won’t have helped.

    Also, incumbency will help the SNP in Southern next year. There is a measurable impact of incumbency, and I suspect that, plus the fact that Jim Eadie has not, to my knowledge, done anything stupid while in office, would make them favourites.

    There are a lot of factors to take into account though. The SNP will very likely poll significantly above the 29.4% they got last time, and the Lib Dem vote will collapse, as it did across the city with the exception of Edinburgh West. It’s hard to know the impact of the boundary differences as the seat is significantly different from the Westminster seat, and we don’t know if the Greens will stand or not (although I think the impact of that is overstated, as they draw support from people who would otherwise vote SNP, Labour or Lib Dem, and many people will see the seat as a two way Lab/SNP marginal).

    It may also depend who Labour put up here. Edinburgh Labour have a habit of nominating councillors, which is probably not the best strategy, given public opinion on the Council.

  50. On the other hand, today’s TNS poll for the constituency vote has the SNP on 60%, compared to Labour on 19% and the Tories on 15%. The Lib Dems get 3%.

    For the list, the SNP are on 50%, Labour 19%, Conservatives 14%, Greens 10%, Lib Dems 5% and UKIP 2%.

    That would suggest that Labour are unlikely to make any gains from the SNP at all.

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