Edinburgh South West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 10444 (20.2%)
Labour: 14033 (27.2%)
Lib Dem: 1920 (3.7%)
SNP: 22168 (43%)
Green: 1965 (3.8%)
UKIP: 1072 (2.1%)
MAJORITY: 8135 (15.8%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

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

Main population centres: Edinburgh.

Profile: The south west segment of Edinburgh, running from Fountainbridge near the city centre out along the A70 and the Water of Leith to the villages of the Pentland hills like Balerno and Currie. It includes Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Napier Universities.

Politics: This is the successor seat to Edinburgh Pentlands, once a safe Conservative seat. The then Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind was defeated here in 1997 and the seat was held by Alistair Darling between 2005 and 2015 when it fell to the SNP.

Current MP
JOANNA CHERRY (SNP) Former advocate. First elected as MP for Edinburgh South West in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 11026 (24%)
Lab: 19473 (43%)
LDem: 8194 (18%)
SNP: 5530 (12%)
Oth: 1239 (3%)
MAJ: 8447 (19%)
Con: 10234 (23%)
Lab: 17476 (40%)
LDem: 9252 (21%)
SNP: 4654 (11%)
Oth: 2310 (5%)
MAJ: 7242 (16%)
Con: 14055 (36%)
Lab: 15797 (41%)
LDem: 4210 (11%)
SNP: 4210 (11%)
Oth: 660 (2%)
MAJ: 1742 (4%)
Con: 14813 (32%)
Lab: 19675 (43%)
LDem: 4575 (10%)
SNP: 5952 (13%)
Oth: 727 (2%)
MAJ: 4862 (11%)

2015 Candidates
GORDON LINDHURST (Conservative) Educated at Edinburgh University. Advocate. Contested Linlithgow 1999, 2003 Scottish election, Linlithgow and Falkirk East 2001, Livingston by-election 2005, Edinburgh Western 2011 Scottish election.
RICKY HENDERSON (Labour) Edinburgh councillor.
DANIEL FARTHING-SYKES (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Lancaster University. CEO of Haemophilia Scotland.
RICHARD DOHERTY (Green) Born 1983, Glasgow.
Comments - 190 Responses on “Edinburgh South West”
  1. I do think that this is possible for the Conservatives, but I think we should err on the side of caution and wait and see how the polls react as we move into this general election campaign.

  2. The Conservatives have selected candidates for all the Edinburgh seats:

    East – Katie Mackie
    North and Leith – Iain McGill
    South – Steph Smith
    South West – Miles Briggs (sitting list MSP)
    West – Sandy Batho

  3. The Conservatives have a wee chance here but the concern is that there isn’t enough LibDem unionist voters that could vote tactically for them.

  4. Sorry to be lazy and not do this myself, but what was the first pref breakdown here?

  5. Plopwellian Tory

    “I believe the Conservatives carried Edinburgh South and Edinburgh South West quite comfortably?”

    That may be so, but they actually went backwards in their strongest ward, Colinton and Fairmilehead. Yes, they still comfortably won two of the four seats, but the vote share went down from 52% in 2012 to 49% on Thursday. They also declined somewhat in Morningside. At the same time, they strengthened in Corstophine and Murrayfield, which presumably won’t do them any good, as Edinburgh West looks a good seat for the Liberal Democrats (I think just about the only seat they did well in, wasn’t it?)

  6. Any reasons on the ground as to why they didn’t do quite so well there? Diluting resources elsewhere perhaps?

  7. Estimate of first preference votes across Edinburgh South West – difficult as large ward boundaries tend to be split between multiple constituencies – I’ve taken all of Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart, Pentland Hills, Sighthill/Gorgie and an estimated 50% of Fairmilehead/Colinton – this would give estimated figures of Con 35%, SNP 28%, Lab 19%, Grn 13%, LD 5%

  8. Whether or not the Greens put up a candidate could be a factor

  9. Actually, although on the surface putting up a candidate in Ed C looked like a disaster from a nationalist viewpoint, the Greens ended up doing rather well out of it. By allowing the Conservatives to win the seat, it meant there was one less top-up seat for the Tories on the list, and the last list seat instead went to the Green Party.

    Just a bizarre quirk of the additional member system I guess.

  10. This won’t help Joanna Cherry’s campaign!


  11. The SNP’s handling over that situation was just awful. One of the SNP’s local constituency parties Twitter profile suggested the nurse should I quote “consider perhaps I dunno tightening her belt more?” and was rightly slaughtered for coming from the supposedly deeply compassionate, socialist SNP.

  12. ”and was rightly slaughtered for coming from the supposedly deeply compassionate, socialist SNP.”

    This was a complete debacle from the SNP and I think comes from the attitude that anyone who dares to question us is an evil, nasty Tory in disguise (something much of the Labour left is guilty of too). As for the Labour in Scotland if they are to become relevant again it is pretty clear that they will have to convincingly challenge the SNP from the left, as the Tories clearly have the ‘die in the ditch’ unionist vote locked up, which might help them gain back some of the more ‘soft nat’ vote in the central belt. The SNP likes to pretend to be solidly left wing though based on their record in government it is rather difficult to argue that they’re anything more than centre-left and perhaps even centrist on some issues.

  13. Whilst I don’t think this strategy would be a road to win Holyrood it would be a way to rebuild in their old heartlands in the central belt and break the SNP hegemony as when Labour does next form a government they probably will need a decent showing in Scotland to get a majority. On the flip side of this it may well cost them Tory/LD tactical votes in the more middle class areas of East Lothian and Edinburgh South.

  14. In this very Remainy city they didn’t surge quite as much as elsewhere… a minor disappointment on an otherwise great night for Ruth Davidson, who had been campaigning hard in this seat and in North and Leith

    Incidentally, Jo Cherry is reportedly considering running for SNP Westminster Leader. Will be a frontrunner if she goes for it.

  15. I always suspected this would be the most difficult of the Tories’ 14 primary targets due to the inner city left liberal demographic and their low ceiling in Wester Hailes etc. The Labour vote also held up surprisingly well (aided the most by the lack of a Green candidate like in East and North and Leith I suspect)

    Edinburgh Pentlands however based on the local election results is virtually certain to go Conservative at Holyrood though next time IMO.

  16. Is Westminster leader a position elected by members or appointed by the leader?

    Presumably they will also need a new deputy leader since Angus Robertson filled that role too – and that is a role elected by the membership.

  17. Since 2011 the Conservatives have consistently under-performed in this constituency.

    As others have said there was a big Remain vote here.

    The seat is also very polarised between the southern stone villa suburbs of Colinton, Currie and Balerno which are traditionally solid areas for the Conservatives, the more urban parts of the seat around Fountainbridge where Labour are resilient and the council estates of Wester Hailes and Sighthill which are solidly SNP.

    Perhaps the Conservatives have simply milked all they can from this seat?

    Its an area where you would expect the Conservatives to be competitive on universal swing, but in practice its probably quite unlikely that Edinburgh Pentlands will go Conservative without major boundary changes removing the Sighthill/Gorgie ward from the seat.

  18. Elected by MPs, I think. I imagine quite a few will fancy it.

  19. Joanna Cherry has confirmed she is running for SNP Westminster Leader

  20. The Labour vote held up well in this seat.

  21. If Ruth Davidson had stood here in June she would almost certainly have one and in going to The Commons would not be the runaway odds on favourite to be the next Tory leader.

  22. No, she would not almost certainly have won here.

  23. Ruth Davidson has ruled out ever running for leadership of the nationwide Conservative Party, citing her history of depression. (Interview in tomorrow’s Sunday Times.) Also looks increasingly unlikely she’ll even go for a Westminster seat – from a personal point of view, it would mean long weeks away from the family she’s starting, and career-wise it’s not a good look for Scottish unionism for its principle advocate to trade leading the opposition at Holyrood to be a backbencher down south.

    So who do the Tory moderates pin their forlorn hopes on now? The current Conservative Party just doesn’t seem to have any viable candidates from that particular faction.

  24. Sajid Jarvid? Not hugely popular with the public and even fallen amongst the members.

    Jeremy Hunt? Even more unpopular

    Liz Truss? Inexperienced maybe too early for her

    Penny Mordaunt? Steely but maybe too brexity but better than most

    Gavin Williamson? More of a Varys than Jon Snow and possibly over reaching as even Defence Sec

    Philip Hammond? My runner up in the sweepstake surely never leader tho far too remainy

    Amber Rudd? Same problem + Windrush and marginal seat

  25. Most of those people are not really moderates, they’re the “soft right” I guess, they’re the middle of the Conservative Party rather than its left flank. It’s depressing that they are considered moderates because they voted to remain in the EU (often doing so against their consciences for career reasons).

    Some of them are not even middle-of-the-road Tories. You see the way Liz Truss gushes over the upsides of the gig economy – hardly a fashionable sentiment – I mean it’s a long way from “burning injustices”, isn’t it?

  26. POLLTROLL: “Ruth Davidson has ruled out ever running for leadership…” 

    Labour must be relieved!

  27. Who you hoping for?

    Kenneth Clarke, Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen?

  28. I’m not hoping for anyone – I gave up hope some while ago. Perhaps someone like Rory Stewart might stand as the obligatory one-nation flagbearer, but he wouldn’t get that far I think – it would be more to lay down a marker for next time. I feel he’s the sort of figure who could win it when the Tories are in opposition and watching from behind the sofa as Corbyn nationalises everything in sight.

    But the contest for the next Tory leadership, which is likely going to happen within twelve months, will be between a Tory establishment pandering to its members’ prejudices, and the ideologues who don’t need to pander. No room for an “eat-your-greens” candidate – nobody wants to be the Tory equivalent of Liz Kendall.

  29. Rory Stewart seems alright but yes wouldnt get very far.

    I don’t think there is a tory that could pull off a masterpiece in how not to be a candidate like Liz Kendall

  30. I think Davidson was pretty brave being open about this subject. I do admire her straightforwardness, even if I do think she is rather overrated by the media.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, the clear frontrunner for next PM is Javid in my opinion. I think a few posters here are forgetting that their isn’t a clear hard right/ right wing candidate either. I would probably put Hunt as second favourite at present.

  31. I really can’t both Jarvid & Hunt getting into the final 2. If they both stood they would be looking to be winning over the same sort of supporters and either one of them most likely Jarvid would be successful or they would both bomb out. It might be they team up but that could only hurt sajid jarvid

  32. Yes, agree that they won’t be the final two. It will have to be one or the other.

  33. I would say D Raab, if he performs well in the next few months, might be in with a decent chance.

  34. Raab is the frontrunner inmy sweepstake

  35. The funny thing about Raab is that, from a career perspective, he needs to mess up. That is, if Britain leaves the EU with any kind of deal, he will have committed an unforgivable betrayal as far as the members are concerned. Only a catastrophic no-deal could keep his hopes alive.

  36. If Britain were to leave at all before he becomes leader. It’s more likely A50 is postponed than we leave with no deal

  37. I weep hearing some of the names being thrown around to be next Tory leader, I weep even more when some of them are referred to as “moderates”

  38. Angus Robertson is running to be the SNP candidate for Edinburgh Central in next year’s Holyrood election.

    Can’t see him failing to secure either the nomination or the seat, if I’m honest.

  39. Joanna Cherry also seeking Ed Central selection.

    (More generally she also seems to be trying to establish herself as the de facto leader of the SNP’s accelerationist wing, and is making a lot of noise about the possiblility of going down the UDI route if Westminster continues to withhold consent. Sturgeon, who for a long time now has been equivocating between her own belief in a gradualist approach and rhe more radical stance of her members, seems to be under unusual pressure…)

  40. Joanna Cherry has been sacked from the SNP front bench. A fairly minor event by itself, but inevitably it will be seen as another power play in a proxy war over the SNP’s future.

    The SNP is in a weird position now where the party’s top brass largely represent the gradualist wing, as the membership, goaded on by favourable opinion polling and stuck in a self-radicalising echo chamber, grows ever more accelerationist. How stable is this arrangement?

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