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”
  1. I think there would be intense pressure on Sturgeon to go for a second referendum in the event of a leave vote, assuming Scotland is reasonably solidly in favour of remain, to the extent of splits/resignations if she decided not to push ahead. I suspect that such a referendum would start from a position of being genuinely too close to call. If there isn’t a referendum post-Europe, and the UK Government doesn’t do anything daft enough to compel one before 2020, then I think it’s likely that the SNP manifesto in 2021 will include a pledge for another referendum, unless there’s a big pro-union shift in opinion between now and then. By then, it will be the best part of a decade since the first vote, and revisiting the issue will sound much more reasonable.

    In terms of having another referendum, I’m surprised by how much enthusiasm there is amongst relatively normal Yes voters – not the sort of people who spend their lives sharing stuff on social media. Obviously, the vast majority of No voters are not in favour of revisiting the issue any time soon, but you don’t seem to be getting the middle ground people emerging at this stage – the “maybe one day but not any time soon” sorts that you have in places like Quebec and Flanders and used to have in Catalonia.

  2. HH – yes indeed. All predictions are ultimately guesswork (if fun and occasionally educated) but when they are about an changing and unpredictable polity 400 miles away concerning a campaign that has not yet begun, then it’s really best to refrain…

  3. Likewise I wasn’t being personal.

    I don’t know Scotland that well but when I have “set foot in it” in recent years it has felt much more like a foreign country than it did when I visited 30 years ago as a child. It is impossible for the English, especially the southern English, to understand the mood on the ground in Scotland these days IMO.

  4. Gloy Plopwell is widely reckoned to be someone in disguise, but my view is that he’s a real person who sometimes pretends to be a moderately right-wing conservative and posts under a different name.

    I don’t live in Scotland any more but I do still have many contacts north of the border and I like to think that it informs my opinion on Scottish politics and my reading of how things are likely to develop. I tend towards the view that the SNP won’t call a second referendum unless and until the polls show that they stand a good chance of winning it – which would probably mean consistent polls forecasting a 60% Yes vote. Hence my hope that it will never happen.

  5. “I hope I learn more when I join the Oxford University Conservative Association and see more of the world.”

    There was a very funny documentary about OUCA a few years ago and the odd young fogey types who are its leading lights….I think it was called “Young Bright and on the Right”. Though produced with a predictable BBC bias it nevertheless looked like the kind of organisation a vaguely normal person would run a mile from. If I were you I’d take Dr John’s advice about enjoying your time as a student and give the political oddballs a wide berth….wishing you all the best.

  6. Student politics on all sides tends to be pretty much avoided by most sensible people. See more of the world first, and then decide where that leaves your politics.

  7. Indeed.

    It’s pretty subjective to even say you are “familiar” with a constituency: familiar to what extent? Obviously you can’t know every elector and it’s more than likely you haven’t seen the constituency in it’s full extent.

    I could argue through the use of SIMD and OAC data that I am very familiar with constituencies such as Eastwood or Aberdeenshire West: places I have barely visited in person.

  8. Or even by simply looking on google maps or the census…

  9. The Edinburgh Western Scottish Parliament constituency has been profiled in today’s Herald – http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14453644.Welcome_to_Edinburgh_Western__home_of_the_dirtiest_election_fight_in_Scotland/?ref=rl&lp=2

  10. Slightly wishful thinking to suggest that Alex Cole-Hamilton will come anywhere other than a distant second in Edinburgh Western; without the benefit of incumbency you would expect the Lib Dems to fall back compared to where they were in 2011, especially given that the party is still unplopular nationally.

    I saw ACH on George Square a few days after the 2011 election (he was the candidate for Edinburgh Central), taking down Lib Dem placards – on his own. It had been a bruising election for most participants, but especially for him.

  11. ACH was of course also the lead list candidate for Central Scotland in 2007, and it was expected that he would have entered parliament, but the Lib Dems ended up having a surprise win in the Dunfermline constituency which saw Jim Tolson head to Holyrood instead.

  12. Can’t see this being anything other than a comfortable SNP hold.

  13. Easy SNP hold.

  14. I expect the majority to stay about the same. I think the SNP vote will probably be around the 40% mark, and I expect the Lib Dems to be higher due to greater tactical voting amongst unionists. I think there is more of a feeling that the SNP need to be fought amongst unionists than was the case in 2011, when few people actually thought they would win a majority or actually force a referendum.

  15. This seat and North East Fife will probably have the two largest Lib Dem vote shares in the upcoming Scottish election. But it doesn’t seem likely they will win either.

    Alex Cole-Hamilton is more likely to enter Holyrood through the Lothian list. This is probably the only possibility for a Lib Dem gain. But a gain here might well be offset by losses elsewhere, such as the South Scotland regional list.

  16. Sorry, I meant to write mainland Scotland. The Lib Dem vote shares should be higher in Orkney and Shetlands, even if they don’t hold the seats (and I have no sense at all whether they will do so).

    Today’s poll gives the Lib Dems 7% on the regional lists, compared to the 5.2% they had in 2011. But even if they get 7%, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get more seats, as they may lose out to the Greens, who unlike in 2011 are ahead of them, when seats are allocated.

  17. Strong TNS poll for unionists-

    Constituency: SNP 52% (-4), Lab 22% (+3), Con 17% (+2) LD 7% (+1)
    Region: SNP 45% (-2), Lab 22% (+1), Con 18% (+3), LD 5% (-1) Grn 8% (0)

    TNS are typically good for SNP, rubbish for Tories compared with other pollsters.

  18. This poll brings TNS largely into line with the other pollsters:
    SNP at around 51-53% in constituencies, mid 40s on the list;
    Conservatives upper teens on the list, and a point or two further down in the constituencies;
    Labour hovering around 20% on the list and no lower than that in the constituencies;
    Greens within the 7-10% range.

    The fieldwork was carried out between 1-24 April, and so much of it will have been conducted after the Survation and Ipsos Mori polls, and it’s therefore possible that Labour have fallen from the earlier 20s to the upper teens since the beginning of the month (Survation & IM have them at 17% in the region).

    The fact that the TNS fieldwork period is so protracted also suggests that this could be TNS’s final poll of the campaign.

    I’m minded to think the Conservatives will indeed beat Labour into second place, due to the difference in second-vote strategies adopted.

    The Conservatives, to their credit, have been clear in communicating that only by voting for the party on the list will they be able to put up effective opposition to the SNP. The strong unionist element of their campaign is also likely to bear fruit, as in addition to attracting NO voters, it may also have the unintented(?) consequence of drawing some of the orange vote away from Labour.

    By contrast, Labour’s second-vote strategy has been non-existent. They have toyed with the phrase Both Votes Labour, but it simply hasn’t stuck, and the importance of the second vote to the party hasn’t been hammered in to audiences in anything like the same way Ruth Davidson has done. Labour have had since 2007 to come up with some kind of second-vote strategy that might help them to return to government, and I wonder if pride might be playing a role in preventing them from adopting such a strategy, as the party’s perceived sense of entitlement in the constituency vote prevents them from concentrating on the list vote (which they seem to regard as a runner-up list, as is clear from their stance up to 2007 on candidates standing both in the constituencies and on the list).

  19. I would eat my hat if the Tories came second.

  20. At the moment I’ll say:

    Scottish National – 53.4%
    Labour – 20.4%
    Conservative – 16.7%
    Liberal Democrat – 6.3%
    Other – 3.2%

    Scottish National – 47.3%
    Labour – 19.3%
    Conservative – 16.1%
    Liberal Democrat – 6.1%
    Green – 7.3%
    UK Independence Party – 2.9%
    Other – 1.0%

    Scottish National – 74
    Labour – 25
    Conservative – 17
    Liberal Democrat – 5
    Green – 8

  21. It’s a guesstimate, not finalised.

  22. I’m beginning to think that this will be a Lib Dem gain. They did very well against the SNP last year and since then there’s been a lot of dissatisfaction over the local SNP. The odds in this seat have tightened hugely

  23. Good thing I placed my bet early 🙂

  24. Well, it’s a bold call. Last year the people who made bold calls often ended up looking good so I won’t shoot you down for it, though I think it unlikely.

  25. Pentlands is unwinnable. Central is unwinnable. Eastern is winnable. Northern & Leith is unwinnable. Western is just about unwinnable. Southern is vaguely winnable if Labour can garner enough tactical votes to oust the SNP: not entirely convinced though. I wouldn’t rule it out.

  26. 2015 Notional for Edinburgh Western –

    Scottish National – 40%
    Liberal Democrat – 32%
    Labour – 12%
    Conservative – 12%
    Other – 4%

    I have Western as having a notional NO vote of 64% at the Scottish Independence Referendum.

    I have Labour ahead by 2% in Edinburgh Southern, which I have as going NO at 66% in 2014.

  27. Eastern is unwinnable* whoops

  28. People keep referring to Edinburgh Southern as being more winnable (or less unwinnable) for Labour than the other Edinburgh seats. The boundaries are different to Edinburgh South and Jim Eadie does not have the massive negative personal vote that Neil Hay had.

    I don’t see why the Hay factor will have any impact here?

  29. I think they will miss out by a reasonable margin, but the fact is that it is the only constituency in Edinburgh (and indeed the only constituency in mainland Scotland other than Dumfries and Ettrick) where a party who isn’t the SNP topped the poll last May.

    The vote in Central and Pentlands is far too split to make either constituency serious Conservative/Labour gains. The vote in Eastern is far too good for the SNP to put Labour in serious contention. The only Edinburgh constituency which comes close to being “winnable” is Western, but the boundaries there are less favourable compared to the equivalent Edinburgh West seat at Westminster… For the Lib Dems to take Western they will need additional Conservative-Labour tactical votes here in addition to gains from the SNP (or for their vote to stand up strong on a lower turnout).

  30. I may have won £55 on this seat.

  31. LD Gain

  32. The Labour vote collapsed:

    Lib Dem 41.9 (+14.1)
    SNP 34.4 (-1.4)
    Con 14.3 (-0.8)
    Lab 9.4 (-10)

  33. James, I take my hat off to you for calling this one.

  34. Ladbrokes has frozen my account. V.Upset with that.

    I thought there could be clear tactical voting and counted on a slight negative vote due to Michelle Thompson.

    It appear Michelle Thompson may have a limited effect but we continue to benefit from tactical voting.

  35. Yas! For once my Lib Dem optimism was actually real!

  36. JR: they shouldn’t freeze your account, they should offer you a job as a political advisor!

  37. Bring on the by-election…

  38. I suspect the Greens standing in Central probably made the difference, given that they got around 13% and Ruth Davidson’s majority was 610. The absence of the Greens, the loss of David McLetchie’s personal vote and an unusually solid Labour vote probably explain the SNP holding on to Pentlands.

  39. I just stumbled upon a spreadsheet of the 2011 Holyrood campaign expenses per candidate, and the candidate who spent the most money by far (£27,877) was Alex Cole-Hamilton, then contesting Edinburgh Central.

    He managed to receive more than £42,000 in short donations, which is more than double that of any other candidate (next is Dave Thompson on £20,000).

    He came third in the seat.

    His spending was, at least, within the spending limits, unlike Jim Tolson in 2007, who went marginally above the spending limit while gaining Dunfermline for the Lib Dems.

  40. There does seem to be some controversy over Cole-Hamilton’s campaign expenses this time around.


    He’s either been very clever or very daft. I would suspect the former, given that any repercussions are likely to be relatively minor.

  41. The initial proposed boundaries have very little changes here: if anything the proposed boundary changes in Edinburgh West actually benefit the Lib Dems! The Liberal Democrats gained the Edinburgh Western constituency in the Scottish Parliment from the SNP last May, which occupies a similar area to the proposed Edinburgh West constituency. If the proposed constituency were to be used at the 2020 UK general election there’s a real chance of a Liberal Democrat gain…

  42. The SNP may want to counter the proposals by suggesting that Almond and Sighthill/ Gorgie wards are swapped to make Edinburgh West unwinnable for the Lib Dems.

  43. You’d have to imagine the Lib Dems will be the party who like these the most. They’ll fancy their chances here and with the proposed NE Fife.

  44. I wonder if the boundaries in Edinburgh will survive: frankly they’re decent though they could be improved. They are just about as good as it can get for the unionists.

  45. I suspect they will largely survive now. I thought they would have Almond as the ward that went in with West Lothian, as, with the exception of Cramond, it isn’t really part of the city. I’d argue that is the best option, but to do that now would mean reworking almost everything. Given that they choose to move Pentland Hills instead, almost everything else follows on from that. I don’t like the proposed South West & Central seat, but there isn’t really an obvious alternative.

  46. Also, @NTYUK, while scrolling down this thread, I noticed a suggestion that you would eat your hat if the Tories finished second. Was it tasty?

  47. Why it tasted very woollen thank you 🙂 !

  48. “I wonder if the boundaries in Edinburgh will survive: frankly they’re decent though they could be improved. They are just about as good as it can get for the unionists.”

    The SNP may want to counter the proposals by suggesting that Almond and Sighthill/ Gorgie wards are swapped to make Edinburgh West unwinnable for the Lib Dems.

  49. @ Dalek – that is more impractical though?

  50. Michelle Thomson speaks out about being a rape victim: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38250541

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)