Glasgow Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 2359 (6%)
Labour: 12996 (33.1%)
Lib Dem: 612 (1.6%)
SNP: 20658 (52.5%)
Green: 1559 (4%)
UKIP: 786 (2%)
TUSC: 119 (0.3%)
Others: 229 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 7662 (19.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Glasgow. Part of the Glasgow council area.

Main population centres: Glasgow.

Profile: Covers the city centre itself and the main commercial and shopping areas of Glasgow, plus the two city centre university campuses, Glasgow Caledonian and the University of Strathclyde. The economic renewal of Glasgow since the 1990s has led to rapidly rising property prices and some gentrification, especially in the areas closest to the city centre, Merchant City and Glasgow Green - this makes this the most educated and affluent of the Glasgow seats, even though much of it remains deep in poverty. North of the Clyde the Calton area suffers severe deprivation with major problems of unemployment, crime, drug abuse and prostitution. Life expectancy here in the low 50s, below that in much of the third world. It has been troubled with sectarian and gang violence. Across the river the Gorbals have as bad a reputation, though of some of the most decayed tower blocks and worst slums were cleared in the 1990s. Further south Pollokshields, once a Victorian garden city development, is the heart of the city`s Muslim community, home to a large Pakistani population that provided the constituency with its last two MPs, Mohammed Sarwar and his son Anas.

Politics: Like most of the Glasgow seats, this was a safe Labour seat until the 2015 SNP landslide.

Current MP
ALISON THEWLISS (SNP) Former Parliamentary assistant. Glasgow councillor. First elected as MP for Glasgow Central in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 2158 (7%)
Lab: 15908 (52%)
LDem: 5010 (16%)
SNP: 5357 (18%)
Oth: 2147 (7%)
MAJ: 10551 (35%)
Con: 1757 (6%)
Lab: 13518 (48%)
LDem: 4987 (18%)
SNP: 4148 (15%)
Oth: 3627 (13%)
MAJ: 8531 (30%)
Con: 1082 (5%)
Lab: 13235 (65%)
LDem: 1105 (5%)
SNP: 3417 (17%)
Oth: 1626 (8%)
MAJ: 9818 (48%)
Con: 1484 (6%)
Lab: 19616 (73%)
LDem: 1061 (4%)
SNP: 3748 (14%)
Oth: 904 (3%)
MAJ: 15868 (59%)

2015 Candidates
SIMON BONE (Conservative)
ANAS SARWAR (Labour) Born 1983, son of Mohammed Sarwar, former MP for Glasgow Central. Educated at Hutchesons Grammar. Dentist. Contested Glasgow region in the 2007 Scottish elections. MP for Glasgow Central 2010 to 2015.
CHRIS YOUNG (Liberal Democrat) Educated at St Andrews University. Student. Contested Glasgow Govan 2007, Glasgow Central 2010.
ALISON THEWLISS (SNP) Parliamentary assistant. Glasgow councillor.
KATIE RHODES (Socialist Equality)
Comments - 138 Responses on “Glasgow Central”
  1. Labour retained Glasgow in 2012 after the SNP had won 5 of the cities 8 constituencies at the Holyrood elections the year before.

    Now the SNP have all 8 of the Holyrood constituencies with comfortable margins.

    It would be a major watershed for Labour to retain Glasgow next year but quite unlikely.

  2. The Greens would require a swing of 7.1% from the SNP in Glasgow Kelvin to gain it in 2021. Is this plausible?

  3. That’s pretty hilarious.

  4. It’s good to see that you’re finally adhering to the non-partisan comments policy. Your made-up “prediction” of 2021 is completely meaningless – it has no bearing on the opinion polls. 2021 is 5 years away.

  5. Obviously they’ll win the Witney by-election in the south east of England, and they’ll probably do very well at the locals. That doesn’t necessarily reflect how they will do in Scotland in the 2020 general election, which is 4 years away

  6. Patrick Harvie was up against Sandra White who has stood in Glasgow Kelvin at every Holyrood election before being elected in 2011. She has previously fought that seat and it’s predecessor at every Westminster election from 1992. If Sandra White retires in 2021 Harvie will be in with a much better chance. If the Greens outpoll the SNP in the new Partick East/ Kelvindale and Hillhead wards next May then they could be on course to take Glasgow Kelvin.

  7. Partick East/ Kelvindale is a recreation of the old ultra safe Conservative Ward on Glasgow Corporation where the Conservatives once had over 80% of the vote.

    This became the Kelvinside/ Kelvindale Strathclyde Regional Council division and fell to the Liberals in 1982. Conservative councillors dominated this area until 1995 when they lost 2 of the 3 wards within the regional division. They then lost the final ward in 1999.

    When the multi member STV wards were created each of the three respective wards were combined with three separate wards, each of which included 2 safe Labour wards.

    The re-unification of this historic ward will create a STV ward where the Conservatives are certain to take over 20% of the vote and therefore one of the 4 seats.

    There is also a large Green vote and SNP vote.

    I would imagine that there are certain to be 1 Conservative, 1 Green and 1 SNP with the 4th seat being hotly contested between the Greens and the SNP. Had this ward existed in 2012 I think the result would have been SNP 1, Green 1, Lab 1 and Con 1 with the Conservatives gaining a seat from the Lib Dems. Next May, there should be either an SNP or Green gain from Labour.

  8. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with posting forecasts and discussing them, because they can be a way of thinking through predicted trends.

    However, I have no idea what evidence there that the Greens might get just 2.6% in 2021.

  9. I have been looking at Glasgow.

    Labour’s majority was based on them winning 3 of 4 seats in a large number of 4 member wards. In many of these wards they had over 60% of the vote. They are not going to get 60% in these wards now. If they get 40% they will lose at least 1 seat perhaps 2.

    If Labour lose a seat in every one of the new 23 wards in the city they lose 23 seats therefore fall back from 44 to 21 seats. The SNP would increase from 27 to 48 and the Tories would gain perhaps 2 seats to become 3. The Tories are certain to hold their seat in Pollokshields, win a seat in the new West End ward of Partick East/ Kelvindale (that is greater Kelvinside) and come through in another longshot ward like Linn, Langside, Victoria Park or Newlands.

    In Linn the Lib Dems took 12% and won one of the 4 seats (Con 7%). If the Conservatives come third in this 4 member ward they could win a seat.

    In Langside the Greens took 8.5% and took 1 of the 3 seats (Con 7.3%). If the Conservatives take 15% in the new 4 member ward they could win a seat.

    In Partick West the Greens took 14.7% and took 1 of the 4 seats (Con 10.3%). If the Conservatives take 18% in the new 3 member ward now called Victoria Park, they could win a seat.

    In Newlands/ Auldburn the Conservatives took 10.5%. If the Conservative vote doubles they could win one of the three seats with 20%.

    I predict that the SNP will win a majority of seats. Labour will lose 15 to 25 seats (more or less a seat in every ward) and the Tories will gain 2 or 3 seats (ending up with 3 or 4).

    The Greens will lose 1 seat but gain a seat in the new Partick East/ Kelvindale, ending up with no change at 5.

    The Lib Dems may lose their only seat.

    Verdict: SNP Gain from Labour

    Its ironic that the two majority Labour councils in Scotland in 2012 were The City of Glasgow and North Lanarkshire. Two of the four councils in Scotland that voted YES in September 2014.

  10. Interesting analysis, thanks.

    Is the sole Tory Cllr here still with the Ind SNP MP?

    Re your last para, I think the SNP just played Labour at their old game. We know that for years Labour scooped up the largely tribal Irish RC, ‘rebel vote’ in these parts.

    The SNP just extended/reinforced that to be an anti-Unionist London vote for them and added Labour to the Tories of people this type of Scottish person should hate.

  11. Except there’s no evidence to support anything you’ve said in the last two paragraphs.

  12. The Lib Dem retention of a seat in Linn Ward was quite remarkable in the context of the May 2012 Scottish Unitary Elections. For one, it is an area that they are not traditionally strong and it is dominated by the whole of the Castlemilk Council estate (which along with Pollok, Drumchaple and Easterhouse is one of Glasgow’s four major periferal housing estates). Give they took 12% in Linn Ward as a whole, their vote must have been significantly larger in Simshill (South Cathcart), Croftfoot (South Kings Park) and Carmunock.

  13. I would expect most – if not all – 4 member wards with a good tradition of voting Labour to return 2 SNP 2 LAB, the real contest is in the 3 member wards!

  14. Most of Labour’s seats are in four member wards with 3 of the 4 councillors.

    That scenario would where Lab 3/ SNP 1 wards became SNP 2/ Lab 2 would still cost Labour many seats.

    In 2012 there were many safe Labour with 20% plus leads, then a number of closer marginals with either Labour or the SNP just ahead.

    The only exception was Pollokshields where the SNP had a commanding lead and the Tories had over 20%, and were quite close to Labour. Labour would have come third in Pollokshields in 2015 and 2016.

  15. Glasgow’s Subway/ Underground which comprises of a single circle and 15 stations is practically entirely within the new boundaries. The only exception is Bridge Street Station (in Gorbals) which entrance is the opposite side of the road to the constituency boundary.

    I quite like the new Glasgow Central Constituency.

    The new boundaries divide Cathcart so that it is no longer completely within one constituency. It is now divided between SE and SW.

    The change of name from Glasgow South to Glasgow SE is odd because Glasgow does not have a South East. The South East is part of South Lanarkshire,

    The new Glasgow North is really the old North East (North is abolished). It is quite odd because it is a long thin constituency stretching from North Kelvinside (for Glasgow’s outsiders this is part of Maryhill and not part of Kelvinside) to Easterhouse.

  16. The proposed Glasgow North seat basically covers the poorest parts of Glasgow. Probably the most deprived proposed constituency in the UK.

  17. Yes….Dennistoun, North Kelvinside and parts of Riddrie are the only districts in the new North constituency which are not totally deprived.

    I have noticed that the new Central is a bit of a patchwork quilt.

    At first sight I thought Alison Thewlis was certain to have this but most of its electors come from Glasgow North so perhaps Patrick McGrady will be selected here. Parts of Thewlis’s old Central join East so perhaps she will stand there.

  18. Glendale and Briarcroft aren’t that deprived either.

  19. I have always found it ironic that if the same criteria has been applied to the EU Referendum as to the 1970s Scottish Devolution referendum that Leave could not have achieved 40% of the electorate. It would seem that Scotland has actually far more to complain regarding the fixing of the original devolution referendum than Brexiteers have about the recent High Court decision. Can you imagine the outrage if the criteria set for Scotland in 1978 was applied to the UK in 2016?

    Had the devolved Scottish Parliament been established in 1978 can you imagine how do you think Scottish politics would be today. 20 years more advanced? Or would the Tories have been able to resist their defeat in 1987 by having a Ruth Davidson? I think Scottish politics would have elboved more to its current state at an earlier stage but the process would be slower because Labour would have been assisted by the retention of FPTP stopping regional list SNP MSPs using regional incumbency to win constituency seats.

  20. 2021 could see the Scottish Greens gain their first ever First Past the Post constituency seat in Scotland in the Glasgow Kelvin constituency of the Scottish Parliament. Certainly would be a very interesting result.

  21. Simon – only just spotted your comment. It’s a widely accepted fact (admitted by Labour politicians in Scotland and England).

    Re Glasgow Kelvin, I see that Ruth Davidson stood there previously.

    Amusing that the Cons are only 9% behind Labour there when they were almost 40% behind them previously.

  22. 2014 independence referendum notional results for Scotland’s 30 largest towns and cities ranked by population:
    1. Glasgow – 599,650 (53% YES)
    2. Edinburgh – 464,990 (61% NO)
    3. Aberdeen – 196,670 (59% NO)
    4. Dundee – 147,710 (57% YES)
    5. Paisley – 76,220 (50% YES)
    6. East Kilbride – 74,740 (54% NO)
    7. Livingston – 56,570 (55% NO)
    8. Hamilton – 53,200 (53% NO)
    9. Cumbernauld – 51,610 (52% YES)
    10. Dunfermline – 50,380 (59% NO)
    11. Kirkcaldy – 49,460 (51% NO)
    12. Ayr – 47,190 (58% NO)
    13. Perth – 47,180 (53% NO)
    14. Inverness – 46,870 (53% YES)
    15. Kilmarnock – 46,350 (50% YES)
    16. Coatbridge – 43,970 (55% YES)
    17. Greenock – 43,690 (53% YES)
    18. Glenrothes – 39,100 (51% YES)
    19. Airdrie – 37,130 (52% YES)
    20. Stirling – 36,440 (56% NO)
    21. Falkirk – 35,310 (50% NO)
    22. Irvine – 33,740 (51% YES)
    23. Dumfries – 33,280 (61% NO)
    24. Motherwell – 32,120 (51% YES)
    25. Rutherglen – 31,180 (51% NO)
    26. Wishaw – 30,510 (52% YES)
    27. Cambuslang – 27,610 (56% NO)
    28. Bearsden – 27,340 (73% NO)
    29. Clydebank – 26,640 (60% YES)
    30. Newton Mearns – 24,650 (72% NO)

    No (16):
    Bearsden – 73% No
    Newton Mearns – 72% No
    Dumfries – 61% No
    Edinburgh – 61% No
    Dunfermline – 59% No
    Aberdeen – 59% No
    Ayr – 58% No
    Stirling – 56% No
    Cambuslang – 56% No
    Livingston – 55% No
    East Kilbride – 54% No
    Hamilton – 53% No
    Perth – 53% No
    Kirkcaldy – 51% No
    Rutherglen – 51% No
    Falkirk – 50% No

    Yes (14):
    Kilmarnock – 50% Yes
    Paisley – 50% Yes
    Motherwell – 51% Yes
    Irvine – 51% Yes
    Glenrothes – 51% Yes
    Wishaw – 52% Yes
    Cumbernauld – 52% Yes
    Airdrie – 52% Yes
    Greenock – 53% Yes
    Inverness – 53% Yes
    Glasgow – 53% Yes
    Coatbridge – 55% Yes
    Dundee – 57% Yes
    Clydebank – 60% Yes

    At the 2016 Scottish Parliament election Bearsden and Newton Mearns were the only towns on the list not to vote SNP (both going Conservative): Ayr and Dumfries are both situated in Conservative Holyrood constituencies and Edinburgh has a Labour MP and MSP, a Conservative MSP and a Liberal Democrat MSP.

    At the next UK general election, if opinion polling is to be believed, the Conservatives could poll ahead in the following towns and in their respective constituencies:
    – Ayr (Ayr and Carrick)
    – Dumfries (Dumfries and Galloway)
    – Newton Mearns (Eastwood and Loudoun)

    They could also poll ahead in Bearsden but are unlikely to gain either of the proposed constituencies which would cover the town.

    One out of two constituencies in Aberdeen (Aberdeen South) could go Conservative, alongside one out of four constituencies in Edinburgh (Edinburgh South West & Central), with a second constituency in Edinburgh being a major target for the Liberal Democrats (Edinburgh West).

    It’s interesting that two (semi?) working class towns could potentially vote Conservative at a UK general election. The biggest factor I can think of is the large Church of Scotland presence in both towns.

  23. Yes as I’ve said they should all go Tory… Can’t see Edinburgh going Conservative in 2020 though.

  24. I have been looking at the nominations for Glasgow. Labour are not standing as the Scottish Labour Party but as Glasgow Labour. Would they have to register as an independent political party to do so?

    Also, Labour are only fielding 2 candidates in 4 seat wards and 1 candidate in 3 seat wards when they won all but 1 of the seats in many of these wards 5 years ago. By contrast the SNP are fielding 2 candidates in every ward and 3 candidates in some of the 4 member wards.

    The Conservatives are playing it safe in Pollokshields despite it now being enlarged from being a 3 member ward to being a 4 member ward instead of contesting 2 seats while for some odd reason Labour are fielding 2 candidates in that seat.

    My prediction is that the SNP will win overall control and the Conservatives will gain seats in addition to their seat in Pollokshields in places like Partick East/ Kelvindale, Langside, Linn, Newlands and Victoria Park.

    For example, I could see Partick East/ Kelvindale going SNP 2/ Green 1/ Con 1.

  25. What time do the Glasgow results come in?

  26. I don’t think most Scottish Councils begin counting ’til the morning ie 9am onwards so results by noon I’d hope.

  27. The Conservatives have won a seat in Calton Ward. The new Conservatives councillor was apparently too shocked to speak to the media.

  28. Something I think everyone here will be pleased about – Professor John Curtice has been awarded a knighthood.

  29. Is it just me, or does he look like John Major?

  30. Does anyone have sufficient knowledge of this seat to explain why Labour did significantly worse here than other Glasgow seats? (although still enjoying a significant swing)

  31. Glasgow Central has the largest non-white electorate in Scotland and it is also becoming (other than Govanhill) increasingly gentrified.

    Glasgow Central was statistically Labour best prospect in Glasgow in 2017 but is now the second least marginal SNP constituency in the city following Glasgow North West.

  32. Labour performed best in Glasgows most pro-Leave constituencies gaining NE and SNP photofinishes in East and SW.

    Leave recorded over 40% in these constituencies where as the SNP held on better in the four strongest Remain constituencies.

  33. Thanks Peter. Any speculation as to why Labour are stronger in Glasgow S than NW? That seems slightly surprising too.

  34. “Glasgow Central was statistically Labour best prospect in Glasgow in 2017 but is now the second least marginal SNP constituency in the city following Glasgow North West.”

    Hardly. The constituency has a significant EU and non-white population, high deprivation outside of the City Centre and a fairly high student population. Demographically it is probably the most SNP-inclined seat in Glasgow.

    It also had a high Yes vote of 55% at the 2014 independence referendum, which was the highest Yes vote share in Scotland behind only Dundee West (58% Yes) and Glasgow North East (57% Yes).

  35. ^ my mistake I misread Dalek’s comments as him suggesting this constituency was demographically Labour’s most likely prospect in Glasgow.

  36. “Thanks Peter. Any speculation as to why Labour are stronger in Glasgow S than NW? That seems slightly surprising too.”

    Glasgow North West use to be Garscadden (dominated by Drumchaple and the less socially deprived Knightswood) but has since expanded to include more middle class areas like Anniesland, Jordanhill and Broomhill previously in Hillhead with lots of academic types.

    Glasgow South extends from Cathcart to include large council estates in Castlemilk and Carnwadric although it has also gained the most affluent part of Pollokshields.

    While Glasgow South is more affluent generally than Glasgow North West I think it has a large lower middle class population that is more pro-Brexit while Glasgow North West has a smaller very middle class population that is solidly Remain concentrated in the former Hillhead part of that constituency (Anniesland, Jordanhill and Broomhill).

    “^ my mistake I misread Dalek’s comments as him suggesting this constituency was demographically Labour’s most likely prospect in Glasgow.”

    Glasgow Central has moved from being Labour’s best prospect in Glasgow to their second worst prospect (after NW).

    In 2015 Anas Sarwar may have had a strong support in the Scotland’s largest Asian constituency (Glasgow Central) and it has to be remembered that Monklands West (now Coatbridge) and Glasgow Springburn (now Glasgow North East) were some of the safest Labour seats and both fell on record swings to the SNP. Previously the 1935 Liverpool Wavertree recorded the largest swing ever 35% Con to Lab. That record was beaten by swings of 36.3% and 39.3% in these constituencies and there seems to be a strong unwinding effect is these areas.

  37. SNP Cllr Russell Robertson, 59, has been charged with criminal offences aggravated by sectarianism, as has his partner David, 28.

    RR was originally elected as a Labour Cllr.

  38. The Conservatives have suspended their candidate here over “alleged use of anti-Muslim language”.

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