Edinburgh West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 6732 (12.3%)
Labour: 6425 (11.7%)
Lib Dem: 18168 (33.1%)
SNP: 21378 (39%)
Green: 1140 (2.1%)
UKIP: 1015 (1.9%)
MAJORITY: 3210 (5.9%)

Category: Marginal SNP seat

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

Main population centres: Edinburgh, Queensferry.

Profile: Edinburgh West is largely suburban, consisting mainly of villages like Corstorphine and Davidsons Mains that have grown into suburbs of Scotlands capital. It also includes the town of Queensferry to the West, the site of the Forth road and rail bridge. The constituency includes Edinburgh airport, Murrayfield stadium and Edinburgh Zoo.

Politics: This used to be a safe Conservative seat. It returned Conservative MPs from 1931 until 1997, finishing with James Douglas-Hamilton, the heir to the Earl of Selkirk who disclaimed his peerage to protect the ailing Conservative government`s wafer thin majority. The Liberal Democrats won the seat in 1997 and held it until 2015, with Labour and the Conservatives battling for second place. The equivalent Scottish Parliament seat, Edinburgh Western, was won by the SNP in 2011, and this seat followed in the 2015 landslide.

Current MP
MICHELLE THOMSON (SNP) Former businessman. First elected as MP for Edinburgh West in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 10767 (23%)
Lab: 12881 (28%)
LDem: 16684 (36%)
SNP: 6115 (13%)
MAJ: 3803 (8%)
Con: 8817 (19%)
Lab: 8433 (19%)
LDem: 22417 (50%)
SNP: 4124 (9%)
Oth: 1474 (3%)
MAJ: 13600 (30%)
Con: 8894 (23%)
Lab: 9130 (23%)
LDem: 16719 (42%)
SNP: 4047 (10%)
Oth: 688 (2%)
MAJ: 7589 (19%)
Con: 13325 (28%)
Lab: 8948 (19%)
LDem: 20578 (43%)
SNP: 4210 (9%)
Oth: 570 (1%)
MAJ: 7253 (15%)

2015 Candidates
LINDSAY PATERSON (Conservative) Educated at St Andrews University. Policy manager. Edinburgh councillor. Contested Livingston 2003, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 2005, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath 2010.
CAMMY DAY (Labour) Born Edinburgh. Edinburgh councillor since 2008. Contested Edinburgh West 2010.
MICHAEL CROCKART (Liberal Democrat) Born 1966, Perth. Educated at Perth High School and Edinburgh University. Policeman and systems developer. Contested Edinburgh North and Leith 2005. MP for Edinburgh West 2010 to 2015. PPS to Michael Moore 2010. Resigned as PPS over opposition to the rise in tuition fees.
OTTO INGLIS (UKIP) Contested Aberdeen Donside 2013 Holyrood by-election, Scotland region 2009 European election.
MICHELLE THOMSON (SNP) Runs a property management company.
Comments - 535 Responses on “Edinburgh West”
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  1. This has historically been Labour’s weakest seat in Edinburgh (although they did win it once albeit briefly back in 1929!) but with the unpopularity of LD’s Labour must be looking at putting a serious effort at taking the seat in 2015.

  2. I think this will be an interesting seat to watch in 2010. On paper it should be a top Labour target, and looking at the polls an easy gain.

    But its important to remember that Labour had a massive swing towards them in 2010, well above the Scotland average, which was down to local issues to do with Edinburgh City Council, and probably the unwinding of the previous MPs personal vote. I’m not sure we can expect another large swing on top of that.

    Also, at Holyrood, despite 2011 being a disaster for the Lib Dems they managed to get 25%+ of the vote and held second place.

    The third factor i think should be considered is the large Conservative vote, which is surely there for the squeezing for the Lib Dems.

    i’m not sure these ramblings are leading to anything, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see a Lib Dem hold in 2015 with a collapse of the Conservative vote

  3. I would imagine there would be more of a collapse of the LD vote than the Conservatives surely as most of their support is from their core supporters (which is slowly dying off!).

  4. I don’t think that the Lib Dems are as vulnerable here as the figures would suggest.

    The loss of Lord James Douglas Hamilton incumbency in 2001 will also have been offset by the retirement of Don Gorrie in 2001, hence the substantial increase in the Lib Dem majority in 2005 – which was the first time a sitting Lib Dem MP had held Edinburgh West.

    2010 saw the retirement of a Lib Dem MP and the consequent fall in their majority.

    Crockart will have incumbency in 2015 and the Lib Dems were not beaten into third place by Labour in Edinburgh Western in 2011.

    I think there will be a close contest here and Crockarts majority may be less than it was in 2010 but I think the main contest will be that for second place between Labour and the SNP.

  5. It will be interesting to see if the Tory vote holds up or tactically goes for the LD’s to prevent Lab. from potentialy winning the seat.

  6. Edinburgh West Locals Results 2012
    (Edinburgh City Council wards of Almond, Drum Brae and Corstorphine/ Murrayfield)

    SNP 6775
    Con 5445
    Lab 4908
    Lib Dem 4522

    The constituency also takes in smaller parts of Gorgie/ Sighthill (mostly in Edinburgh SW) and Forth (mostly in Edinburgh North & Leith) which are more Lab/ SNP.

    Considering these areas, Labour would be likely to be slightly ahead of the Conservatives, but the SNP would still be in front.

    Considering the local election results, and other recent elections, its likely that all 4 major parties will take over 20% of the vote and this constituency could (next to Argyll & Bute) be the UK’s second 4-way marginal.

  7. Cammy Day selected by Labour.

  8. From a historical perspective, I would say that the Lib Dems held up pretty well here when the tide was going against them in Scotland- In fact despite virtually nominal changes in vote share Gorrie actually cut Lord James Douglas-Hamilton’s majority very slightly- indeed on the BBC’s 1992 election night coverage, Dimbleby when he showed this very result humorously called him ‘Lucky Jimmy’ because he ‘always manages to hold on there’.

  9. Labour are targetting this one but I believe they will be second to LD but very close.

  10. Crockart does have a very difficult majority to defend against them though, I can see Crockart coming 3rd with a similar level of support as the Conservative candidate in 2010.

  11. For someone who isn’t a Labour supporter (or SNP voting tactically at Westminster) Scottish politics (inside the UK anyway) have become so boring and futile that I admit I’m beginning to switch off from it completely.

  12. Just looking at past results for this seat, I’d actually be sort of surprised to see it switch to Labour. I’d agree with those who said that Labour’s 2010 surge is more attributable to Barrett’s retirement than to anything else (remember that Edinburgh West and Cambridge were the only two seats that the Lib Dems held with incumbents stepping down, which is another discussion entirely). I actually wouldn’t be at all surprised if Crockart’s vote essentially holds up.

    Really, the swing away from the Lib Dems in 2010 seems to have been more of an incumbency thing. Look at the results in 2005: the Lib Dems had a 30% majority. If they had replicated that in 2010, it’d have been their third safest seat. Honestly, Labour’s vote may very well have capped out in 2010, and I think the SNP could drain as much, if not more, from them than from Crockart. It could end up as a four way marginal, though. I’d tend to expect something like 35 LD/28 Lab/23 SNP/14 Con, though, with the idea that Tories will tactically vote for Crockart. I’d tend to think a lot of Edinburgh West voters would rather see anyone who wasn’t Labour win the seat, given its history, and it seems like a stretch to think that the Tories or the SNP could come from so far back to win it.

  13. No Brown bounce in Scotland in 2015 and Miliband may go down like a lead balloon. ..:-)

  14. Labour will win more seats in Scotland in 2015 than in 2010 – that’s pretty much a certainty.

  15. If they’re part of the UK, yes probably.
    There’s not much left to gain – Dunbartonshire E, and possibly 1 – 2 gains from the SNP depending on how that party does.

    I think a sharp fall in LD support except in the rural areas will provide a fair chunk of extra Labour and SNP votes, and hopefully an extra point or so on the Con share.

  16. I think the main swing in 2015 will be from LD to SNP. Labour may benefit indirectly from it, but I’d be surprised if their share of the vote increases much, mainly because there must have been a bonus for at he party last time with a Scottish Labour PM.

  17. I expect dreadful results in the Central Belt for the Lib Dems – 4-6% in lots of seats, the Cumbernaulds etc,
    but I’m not entirely sure where it will go. You may be right about the SNP rather than Labour.

    But the Lib Dems may not lose many seats as most of them are rural or personal votes.

    Of course none of this may happen anway but it highly probably will.

  18. “Labour will win more seats in Scotland in 2015 than in 2010 – that’s pretty much a certainty”

    Hardly a certainty. Only East Dunbartonshire is a likely gain, and they’re vulnerable in Falkirk and Ochil. Can’t see them losing both, and they could well hold both and increase their total in Scotland, but I’d say the chances of them at least not making any net gains are easily 20-25%.

  19. I think that’s a fair analysis. Labour OUGHT to challenge in Dundee E but even if Scotland votes No it would be a tough gain as currently drawn. I still think Labour will prevail in Edinburgh W.

  20. I think a lot of people make 2 very unsafe assumptions. Firstly that the referendum in September will inevitably result on a No vote – I expect it to be pretty close, and although I expect a victory for No, it is absolutely not a foregone conclusion (I’ve already made contingency plans to move to England before I might need a Visa). Secondly, many assume that the SNP will suffer following a No vote. This is not necessarily the case. Even if Yes lose quite heavily (e.g. in the region of 60-40), I think the SNP vote will hold up pretty well.

  21. it will hold up, but not as much as if there is a Yes vote when the party will surge hugely at least in the short term.

  22. I actually think the SNP will be a loser either way. In an independent Scotland, they’d have a pretty shaky future. The SNP is a broad coalition, and that’d crumble once it loses its raison d’etre. If it’s a no vote, then they’ll lose some (although I agree, not much) support at first, but I’d think that, with hopes for independence pretty much squashed for a good long while, they’d slowly start to wane as a political force.

    As for Edinburgh West: Labour is definitely in striking distance, but my perception is that they’ve hit their peak, pretty much. I can’t see them going up by that much more, and I think the Lib Dems can squeeze the Conservative vote possibly more here than anywhere else. This could be one of the few seats where we see a rise in the Lib Dem vote share. I think it’ll be something like LD 39, Lab 31, Con 15, SNP 15.

  23. I really don’t think that’s even slightly likely. The LDs may be able to squeeze the Tory bit but they are surely bound to lose percentage share, mainly to Labour but also in some cases to the SNP & other parties. An argument can be made that the LDs could hold Labour off, but not with an increased share of the vote.

  24. That’s twice tonight I’ve left words out (it should have said “squeeze the Tory vote a bit”). Getting a little concerned. Please tell me if I do it again!

  25. Not to worry, Barnaby. It happens to us all.

    And I have to disagree. Yes, the Lib Dems certainly could (and very likely will) lose percentage share, but if they go up anywhere, I think it’ll be here. For one, Crockart has first-time incumbency. Also, look at the drop in their vote last time around. 50 down to 36? I think their natural level of support is higher than 36 here. Labour did very well in Scotland in 2010, and aren’t likely to be quite as solid this time around. Also, they did far better here than they have in living memory, which tends to make me think it’s an aberration. Then, on top of that, remember that the Lib Dems will this year be focusing almost all of their resources in this entire swath of Scotland into this seat. No more Dumfermline West. No more Edinburgh North. No more Edinburgh South. They won’t win those. They’ll concentrate on West, most likely. I think this will be a surprisingly robust Lib Dem hold. I know that’s not a very popular opinion, and it’s fairly likely I’ll be proved wrong, but that’s my hunch, for what it’s worth.

  26. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t think you’ll find many to agree with the proposition that the LDs’ share of the vote will go up in what is essentially a straight fight with Labour. A Lib Dem hold, that’s within the bounds of possibility. A robust one? With all due respect, I don’t think so for one minute.

  27. Fair enough, fair enough. I know my position isn’t a popular one on this. It’s essentially built around the proposition that Labour has gone essentially as high as they can for the time being in this seat. I guess we’ll find out in 367 days!

  28. One thing we can agree on, though, Barnaby: if John Barrett were still the MP, there’s a good chance we’d never be having this conversation. That 30% majority in 2005 is still sort of unbelievable.

  29. The LDs cost themselves a lot of votes and sometimes seats because their MPs seem not to stay as long as those of other parties. They make a virtue of it sometimes, but there’s no doubt it costs them strong positions.

  30. Very true. It does seem like it goes back and forth, though. Either you have Charles Kennedy and Simon Hughes and Alan Beith, who stay basically until the ends of the earth, or you have those who leave after a term or two. Certain Lib Dems do seem to place ideals over politics, although that’s become less true (it does shine through in their seemingly cheerful march into (at least temporary) martyrdom, though).

  31. Edinburgh councillors:

    Cammy Day (Lab)
    Lyndsay Patterson (Con)

    have been selected here apparently.

  32. Edinburgh has been a place where Lib Dem support has completely collapsed since 2010. In the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, the Lib Dems lost all of their seats in the Lothian region; not even retaining one through the top-up system. This trend was repeated in the 2012 Edinburgh Council election, for the Lib Dem vote share plummeted around 60% from their 2007 performance, costing them 14 of their 17 seats.

    My prediction for this seat:

    CON: 26%
    LD: 25%
    LAB: 21%
    SNP: 19%
    GRN: 5%
    UKIP: 3%
    OTH: 1%

    Needless to say, I think that this seat will be VERY tight. I think that I have been quite generous on the Lib Dem vote share, but that is because I want to account for any personal vote for Crockart.

  33. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Crockart’s vote was ridiculously low in 2010 because of Barrett’s retirement. I think he’ll hold out stronger than expected, and Labour won’t rise all that much, since they should be going down in Scotland overall, and since they’re probably topping out here.

  34. It’ll be between LD and Lab IMO. I can see quite a few Tories voting LD in this constituency which is why I think the yellows are slight favourites to hold.

  35. Agree with the analysis about Tories switching in an effort to keep Labour out, but the crucial thing is how split those turning away from the LIb Dems are, and indeed how many of them vote for anyone. Should they turn out in force and predominantly vote Labour then they would have to be favourites to gain. On the other hand, the SNP and/or apathy could save Crockart

  36. I would predominantly agree with that assessment. I do definitely think Crockart will hold, though.

  37. I think that Labour and the Conservatives have helped themselves by selecting 2 local councillors to contest this seat.

    I’m inclined to agree that with the previous comments that there is going to be a lot of tactical voting from Conservative voters going LD to stop Labour and a lot of LD’s annoyed with the coalition switching to Labour.

    This is one of the few parts of Edinburgh where the LD’s weren’t totally decimated in the local elections. All 3 council seats they held onto are in this constituency.

    It’ll certainly be an interesting seat to watch on election night.

  38. Yes, it will. Plus, Crockart will have some bonus from first-time incumbency.

  39. This seat will be very interesting.
    On the face of it this should be a Labour gain, but demographics, and the history of the seat, have held people back from being certain.

    Why it should be a Labour gain:
    It only needs a 4% swing
    The Lib Dems have seemingly collapsed in Edinburgh
    Labour easily outpolled the Lib Dems in council elections
    Similar demographics have not held them back in other areas of Scotland (East Renfrewshire, the old Pentlands)
    They have established themselves as the main challengers to the Lib Dems

    Why it shouldn’t be a Labour gain:
    The Lib Dems held second here (ahead of Labour) even in the rout of 2011
    Mike Crockart will have first time incumbency
    The huge swing last time will mean that this time it will be smaller (plus Labour no longer have a Scottish leader)
    Left wing voters in the habit of voting tactically may still back the Lib Dems (it can be hard to break such a cycle)
    Tories may swing behind the Lib Dems if they are worried that Labour will win
    Labour haven’t won here in yonks (1920s?) and the demographics make this an unlikely gain

  40. Labour gain I think.

  41. This is another Lib Dem seat like Hornsey and Wood Green/Southwark where I think the outcome over who wins will have a lot to do with who those Tory voters choose to vote for, whether they will stick with the party or vote tactically for the Lib Dems. In this seat there is a larger vote for the Conservatives than in the mentioned London seats so if a sizeable chunk of those people vote Lib Dem then they should hold.

    However the flip side to this is how many former Lib Dem supporters will now back Labour.

  42. LD far more likely to hold here than Hornsey & WG, a fairly recent gain.

    Also, in the two London seats there’s no doubt at all who the challenger is, whereas here it’s more murky.

    Given the different nature of Scottish attitudes to politics v RUK, Tories may even come closer to LD as ABT Lab voters are not worried that Tories will get in (now they are starting in 3rd place). Also strengthening the case for a Labour gain of course.

  43. regarding GE2015 and “history”, I am with Henry Ford. History is bunk….there’ll be all sorts of surprises.

  44. I lived and campaigned here during the 2005 election and would never have dreamed that Labour could come close to taking the seat and still have my doubts but I live in hope and will be delighted if they do.

  45. I find it very odd that labour have overtaken the tories in 2010 despite not doing so in ’97 and 2001 landslides AND the rapid growth of the liberal democrats in the area.

    Has this been caused by major changes in the demographics of the area? Because apparently that data isn’t shown for Scottish areas.

  46. Labour had a Scottish leader in 2010. Maybe that’s the simple explanation.

  47. One advantage of elections with transfers is that it is possible to see where electors second choice votes go. The evidence in some recent Scottish elections is that the Lib Dem vote second preferences spread between Conservative, SNP and Labour. In regions where the Conservatives are stronger – some Edinburgh and rural wards, the transfers run strongly against Labour and favour the Conservatives. This may suggest in a single vote election, there are Lib Dem votes for the Conservatives to attract and a squeeze could help the Conservatives. If independence is still an issue this may be more so, as Lib Dems may resist switching to the SNP .

    In many Lib Dem seats in England, the choice for former Lib Dem voters will be heavily Labour or Green.

    Whether this is enough to get the Conservatives seats remains to be seen, but I could see their vote share rising in Edinburgh West, Aberdeenshire and maybe Perth.

  48. GT, the third place party is not going to squeeze the first place party. No way. That’s not really how squeezes work.

  49. The Lib Dems are currently fourth in Edinburgh West!

  50. No, they hold the seat. Not sure if you noticed that, but it’s Lib Dems, then Labour, then Tories, then SNP. Scroll to the top of the page.

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