Edinburgh South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8626 (17.5%)
Labour: 19293 (39.1%)
Lib Dem: 1823 (3.7%)
SNP: 16656 (33.8%)
Green: 2090 (4.2%)
UKIP: 601 (1.2%)
Others: 197 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 2637 (5.4%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

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

Main population centres: Edinburgh.

Profile: Residential suburbs to the south of Edinburgh, set around the Braid hills. It includes traditionally well-to-do neighbourhoods like Morningside as well as student areas like Newington.

Politics: Consistently held by the Conservatives in 1987 Edinburgh South fell to Labour in 1987, later becoming a Labour vs Liberal Democrat marginal. In the 2015 SNP landslide it was the only Labour to withstand the SNP tide, leaving Ian Murray as Scottish Labour`s only MP.

Current MP
IAN MURRAY (Labour) Born 1976, Edinburgh. Educated at Edinburgh University. Former events manager. Edinburgh councillor 2003-2010. First elected as MP for Edinburgh South in 2010. Shadow Scottish Secretary since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 9452 (22%)
Lab: 15215 (35%)
LDem: 14899 (34%)
SNP: 3354 (8%)
Oth: 881 (2%)
MAJ: 316 (1%)
Con: 10291 (24%)
Lab: 14188 (33%)
LDem: 13783 (32%)
SNP: 2635 (6%)
Oth: 1801 (4%)
MAJ: 405 (1%)
Con: 6172 (17%)
Lab: 15671 (42%)
LDem: 10172 (27%)
SNP: 3683 (10%)
Oth: 1468 (4%)
MAJ: 5499 (15%)
Con: 9541 (21%)
Lab: 20993 (47%)
LDem: 7911 (18%)
SNP: 5791 (13%)
Oth: 602 (1%)
MAJ: 11452 (26%)

2015 Candidates
MILES BRIGGS (Conservative) Educated at Perth Grammar School and Robert Gordon University. Political advisor. Contested North East Fife 2010.
IAN MURRAY (Labour) See above.
PRAMOD SUBBARAMAN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at National English School Bangalore and Bangalore Institute of Dental Sciences. Dentist.
PHYL MEYER (Green) Driving instructor and consultant.
COLIN FOX (Scottish Socialist Party (SSP)) Born 1959, Motherwell. Educated at Our Ladys High School and Strathclyde University. Contested Edinburgh South West 2010. MSP for Lothian 2003-2007.
Comments - 598 Responses on “Edinburgh South”
  1. NTY

    Fair enough. Thanks for replying. Yes, each election between now and 2020 will give a few more indications in this new epoch that we are in – and no doubt the odd red herring or two as well!

  2. Given the recent polling, the electorate may be in two minds about who is best placed to beat the SNP here (if that is the predominant aim).

    There may therefore be an SNP gain here if they field a good candidate.

  3. Stephanie Smith has been selected for the Conservatives. She also happens to be standing for the Liberton/Gilmerton ward at next weeks council election.

  4. Does that mean a by election for the council seat if she is elected to parliament?

  5. LAB 39.2
    SNP 32.7
    CON 25.8
    LDEM 4.3

  6. The Greens look to be standing aside here for the SNP. The SNP had a poor candidate here last time around as well, and this constituency had a massive Remain vote.

    At the very least I would expect the SNP vote to increase slightly, probably to the 2014 referendum Yes vote of 35% here.

    A Conservative gain here is unrealistic right now I would say: Labour are well-organised in this part of Edinburgh and have developed as the clear anti-SNP favourites in this constituency.

    The Edinburgh South Westminster boundaries are also not comparable with the Edinburgh Southern Holyrood boundaries as the Holyrood seat omits the most of the SNP’s best ward of Liberton/Gilmerton, where the Conservatives are weakest.

  7. I suspect that this will be a tight Labour-SNP marginal where the result will very much depend on how much of the Labour vote breaks over to the Conservatives, and whether or not the SNP gain votes from disgruntled No/Remain voters here.

    I would put the SNP as the favourites. The Conservatives don’t really stand a chance.

  8. If you’ve nowt t’seh, seh nowt!

    LAB 39.2
    SNP 32.7
    CON 25.8
    LDEM 4.3
    April 27th, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Based on 102% which I have just made up as a guess on the back of my fag packet.

  10. Ian Murray has done an incredible job two elections in a row. Hats off to him if he can hold on again.

  11. He has done well but the main reason he won last time was that the SNP selected a complete clown as a candidate.

  12. No, not really.

    There was a swing to Labour in Scotland in 2010, it occurred not just in seats like Edinburgh South, but also other affluent suburban seas like Edinburgh South West, Aberdeen South, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire. In fact, the swing here was smaller than the swings in those seats, so 2010 was a ‘so so’ result in the context of a pro-Labour swing.

    As for 2015, Murray had the benefit of a hapless SNP candidate and a large CON-LDEM vote to squeeze.

    So he’s not “impressive” by any definition imho. He just happens to be the beneficiary of tactical voting, ditto David Mundell.

  13. Scottyboy’s right, in theory this seat should be similar/slightly better for Labour over East Renfrewshire.

    Ian Murray just got lucky in 2015 with the perfect storm of anti-SNP tactical votes from the Lib Dems and Tories in Edinburgh South alongside a questionable SNP candidate and a poorly managed SNP campaign around Morningside and Newington.

  14. The Conservatives had a considerable stronger notional vote in 2001 on the new boundaries (effectively bringing them to a competitive third place). Tactical voting against Labour in 2005 and 2010 and then for Labour in 2015 has greatly suppressed the potential Conservative vote.

    Without the Neil Hay factor Murray may have suffered the same fate as Russell Brown in Dumfries & Galloway of not only losing his seat but also being beaten into third place by the Conservatives.

    I agree that Ian Murray was certainly a lucky man.

  15. 2016 notional (I’m very surprised by this one?)-

    LAB 37
    SNP 33
    CON 25
    LD 5

  16. Apologies I noticed an error in my figures (I knew they didn’t look right)

    The actual figures:

    LAB 35
    SNP 35
    CON 25
    LD 5

  17. This is turning into one of the best battles of the campaign. Labour up compared to recent Scottish crossbreaks in that Yougov Scottish poll and up again in that opinion poll just released.

  18. Is anyone else getting the feeling that Labour may have reached rock bottom and are very slowly moving in the correct direction?

  19. Labour haven’t hit the floor yet. I think they will lose this constituency to the SNP as anti-SNP tactical voters who voted Labour last time switch over to the Tories.

    Nevertheless I would not rule out a Labour hold here as tactical voting is often unpredictable, and they are well-organised here.

  20. IS Paco McSheepie standing again?

  21. SNP are apparently going to select Alex Eddie…former SNP MSP for Edinburgh Southern. He lost last year despite a rise in his vote…the Unionist vote consolidated around Labour. A resplitting here of the unionist vote due to the strong Conservative performance could allow the SNP to gain here.

    Eddie would become a reverse John Mason who lost his Westminster (by Election gain) seat and then gained the equivalent Holyrood constituency on a large swing the following year.

  22. Who is Alex Eddie?

    I thought Jim Eadie was the former MSP for Southern.

  23. “Is anyone else getting the feeling that Labour may have reached rock bottom and are very slowly moving in the correct direction?”


  24. Survation poll here:

    Labour 40%
    SNP 30%
    Conservative 20%

  25. Are the Greens having any pacts ie standing down for the SNP or is it just their MSPs that work together?

    They used to have a few joint PPCs with Plaid.

  26. Yes, they’re not standing in Aberdeenshire or Highlands. Only standing in 9 seats in fact.

  27. The Survation poll is very good news for Labour if correct as it would appear to offset the unwinding of the anti-Hay vote and the Scottish Tory surge.

  28. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/labour-hopeful-of-clinging-on-with-win-in-edinburgh-7km02rf37

    The poll was a private poll conducted by Labour but the fieldwork was conducted before the local elections where the Conservatives and the SNP took leads in all the wards within the constituency. Perhaps Labour could come second to the Tories in Morningside and second to the SNP in Gilmerton and still win.

  29. That poll looks about right to me. In a PR election, as shown by the locals, this would be Tory at the moment, but the dynamics of FPTP and anti-nat voting mean Ian Murray is very likely to win at the GE. If you don’t believe such tactical voting happens look at the difference between the list and constituency votes in the Edinburgh seats at last year’s SP election.

  30. LAB 37
    SNP 30
    CON 20

    I reckon

  31. Yes, rightly or wrongly the narrative will be so blatantly that only Lab can beat SNP here that they will win in spite of the possibility that voters’ first preferences here would give Cons the win (and we will never know).

  32. The Conservatives did get 24% here in 2005 (where they generally did badly across Scotland) so they ought to be able to break 30% if their star is in the ascendant but alas no.

  33. If people voted in accordance with previous election bar charts Labour would never have gained Hastings & Rye in 1997 which had been a close Con/ LD Marginal with Labour on about 12%.

    Murray could actually gain anti-SNP unionist tactical votes and anti Tory SNP votes. Anti-Tory literature in Morningside may not work and neither would anti-SNP literature in Gilmerton.

  34. Rumours are that Labour are going for a very left-wing manifesto. Not good news for Labour’s prospects with tactical voting unionists, even in Red Morningside…

  35. Red Morningside would be like Red Kelvinside in Glasgow. Both once solid Tory areas now with a strange mix of Conservatives and Greens. Consider Partick East/ Kelvindale (that is Kelvinside)…its councillors are now
    Con 1/ SNP 1/ Green 1/ Lab 1.

  36. The Greens are standing in just 3 seats across all of Scotland. They’ve basically quit and become cheerleaders for the SNP.

  37. I really don’t think that’s a good strategic move, but I suspect the Greens simply don’t have the money to stand 59 candidates at short notice, especially when most of them would lose their deposits.

  38. Let’s be reasonable here – the Greens are far more interested in Holyrood because:

    1) They want it to be Scotland’s national, rather than regional, parliament.
    2) The AMS means they can actually win seats there. They didn’t stand in more than a handful of constituencies last time, preferring to focus on the list.

  39. True, I hadn’t really considered those Scotland-specific factors. I do suspect money is a contributing factor to their desire for stand-down pacts in England though.

  40. I think Morningside is very much divided at the old Morninside station clock.

    The former South Morningside ward area still very much has an air of the stereotypical ‘Morningside Lady’ character about it. The former North Morningside/Grange ward area is very much a different beast. It definitely has a mix of Greens (formerly Lib Dems) and a splash of Tories.

    Looking at he Lib Dems. At the last election it’s clear the Lib Dem vote split heavily towards the SNP. I wonder now, with their (slight) recovery in the locals, they’ll hold onto their deposit this time. A pretty incredible change in fortune after the nail-biting elections of 2005 & 2010 coming within literally HUNDREDS of votes of winning this seat.

  41. Newington and Morningside very much carry the Labour vote in this constituency Woof: these are very affluent urban areas predominantly composed of leafy Victorian townhousing, with a significant yuppie unionist population in areas, ideally suited for Labour as most are prepared to vote tactically for Labour here to prevent the SNP from taking the seat, including a significant minority of would-be Green voters and a good proportion of would-be Conservatives and would-be Liberal Democrats.

    Contrasting this is the depressed council estates to the south-east of the constituency, places like Gracemount and Insch, which are mixed in with some more affluent areas such as Liberton: this best part of the constituency for the SNP but with a significant Labour presence too.

    To the south-west Fairmilehead is more traditional stone villa suburbia, Conservatives are strong there but at the locals it was Labour, and not the SNP, who came second here: clearly a willingness to vote tactically for Labour in that area as well.

  42. Regarding the aforementioned Survation constituency poll here, here are the full details:

    Lab 40%
    SNP 30%
    Con 20%
    Grn 7% (not standing)
    LD 3%
    Oth 1%

    On independence:
    Don’t Know included-
    No 55%
    Yes 34%
    DK 10%

    Don’t Know removed-
    No 62%
    Yes 38%

    This constituency was 65% No in 2014 and 78% Remain in 2016.

  43. Important to keep in mind that the Greens aren’t standing here: most Green votes did transfer over to the SNP on second preferences here, but that was a plurality. A significant minority also went to Labour, suggesting that Labour would still be comfortably ahead in Edinburgh South even without a Green candidate here to split the nationalist vote, probably with a majority of 8-9% based on this constituency poll alone.

  44. Yes that’s a good point — I’ve seen somewhere that tthere is a very significant minority of unionists who vote Green.

    I think the importance of the Greens standing down is exaggerated.

  45. I hear the Conservatives have been relatively quiet on the ground. Maybe they want to give Labour a free run against the SNP?

  46. Based on a tacit understanding that LAB are soft-pedalling in Edinburgh South West.

  47. It may have more to do with people power (politically correct term for manpower) than a politically motivated tactic.

    Labour may be thin on the ground in SW because they are concentrating in South as the Liberals traditionally would do.

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)