2015 Result:
Conservative: 4446 (10%)
Labour: 13522 (30.3%)
Lib Dem: 1106 (2.5%)
SNP: 24585 (55.1%)
UKIP: 715 (1.6%)
Others: 233 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 11063 (24.8%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, West Scotland. The whole of the Inverclyde council area.

Main population centres: Port Glasgow, Greenock, Grurock.

Profile: The southern bank of the Clyde estuary, the seat includes the moorland of the interior of Inverclyde, but the electorate is concentrated in the towns that run along the bank of the Clyde, Grurock, Greenock, Port Glasgow. These were once shipbuilding towns, but the industry has all but disappeared in the area, being replaced by shipping and call centres.

Politics: This was formerly an extremely safe Labour seat until it was won by the SNP in 2015. The MP from 2001 until his death in 2011 was David Cairns, a former Catholic Priest. His selection as Labour candidate for the seat required a change in the law to allow him to stand, as at the time the House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification) Act and Catholic Relief Act still barred former priests from sitting in the Commons. The necessary Act of Parliament, House of Commons (Removal of Clergy Disqualification) Act, was passed shortly before the dissolution of Parliament and Cairn`s election.

By-Election: There was a by-election in this seat in SNP GAIN FROM LAB. For full details see here.

Current MP
RONNIE COWAN (SNP) Born Greenock. Former IT consultant. First elected as MP for Inverclyde in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 4502 (12%)
Lab: 20993 (56%)
LDem: 5007 (13%)
SNP: 6577 (18%)
Oth: 433 (1%)
MAJ: 14416 (38%)
Con: 3692 (10%)
Lab: 18318 (51%)
LDem: 6123 (17%)
SNP: 7059 (20%)
Oth: 906 (3%)
MAJ: 11259 (31%)
Con: 3000 (11%)
Lab: 14929 (53%)
LDem: 5039 (18%)
SNP: 4248 (15%)
Oth: 1203 (4%)
MAJ: 9890 (35%)
Con: 3976 (11%)
Lab: 19480 (56%)
LDem: 4791 (14%)
SNP: 6440 (19%)
MAJ: 13040 (38%)

2015 Candidates
GEORGE JABBOUR (Conservative) Born Syria. Engineer.
IAIN MCKENZIE (Labour) Born 1959, Greenock. MP for Inverclyde 2011 by-election to 2015.
JOHN WATSON (Liberal Democrat)
RONNIE COWAN (SNP) Born Greenock. IT consultant.
Comments - 26 Responses on “Inverclyde”
  1. Prediction for 2015-
    McKenzie (Labour)- 54%
    SNP- 25%
    Conservative- 8.5%
    Liberal Democrat- 8%
    UKIP- 3%
    Others- 1.5%

  2. Frankly this seat is needing reconsidered as Iain McKenzie couldn’t tell a bumble bee from Stirling Castle. This area has been one of major neglect. I think there need to be severe change with regards to leadership and I think that someone like Captain Haddock needs to come in and change the constituency on its head and start to form a more democratic dictatorship in this area.

    Predictions are : 94% BNP, 6%Democrats.

  3. Captain Haddock is a BNP supporter?

  4. Given how close this was in the referendum, the SNP might take this too. The reason? The three way split with the unionist parties in terms of the vote.

  5. This seat exemplifies the problem facing the SNP in trying to gain seats. Inverclyde was a dead heat in the referendum: 50/50. Ought to be a great prospect for the SNP. But the problem is that the best Yes areas are in the strongest Labour seats requiring the biggest swings. They may well get a very big swing here but it is unlikely to be enough. In closer seats the Yes vote was weaker thereby generating a smaller swing to the SNP – so they miss out there as well. This non-uniform swing is likely to cause a lot of frustration to the SNP in May.

  6. Port Glasgow is generally extremely deprived while Greenock is a mixture of deprived peripheral housing estates and more up market housing next to Gourock which is very pleasant too and Wemyss Bay and Inverkip are hardly poverty stricken ever. Kilmacolm is the richest town in Scotland.

    Labour actually do very well here to maintain a majority of nearly 40%.

    For years Greenock (and then Greenock & Port Glasgow) was a Lab/ Lib marginal before a massive 18% swing from Lib to Lab in 1987.

    Given that the Labour majority in Greenock & Port Glasgow in 1983 was around 4000 you would have through the addition of rural Inverclyde (Gourock, Kilmacolm, Wemyss Bay and Inverkip) would have made this into the kind of constituency the Lid Dems could have been competitive again in 2005 and 2010.

    When you consider the 1983 result in Greenock & Port Glasgow the Liberals would surely have been ahead in the current Inverclyde boundaries –

    Labour 20,650 46.8
    Liberal 16,025 36.3
    Conservative 4,314 9.8
    SNP 2,989 6.8

    Majority 4,625 10.5

    Not a constituency that you would expect Labour to lead by nearly 40% in 2010!

  7. This is one of those areas where I simply fail to understand why the Lib Dems have been so strong and the only challengers to Labour in the seat.

    Even before Dickson Mabon’s defection in the early ’80s, the Liberals were polling relatively strongly in the area, with Menzies Campbell standing twice in the ’70s and scoring around 20% both times.

  8. Greenock had very strong Liberal traditions and in 1970 the came within 3234 due to remaining strong in local government since losing the seat in a 1936 by election.

    They remained strong in Inverclyde Council that include the Labour town of Port Glasgow and affluent Firth of Clyde hinterland wards that cancelled out Labours Port Glasgow advantage.

    Greenock is a very socially divided town with the Western wards adjacent to Gourock being very Liberal and the Eastern wards next to Port Glasgow being very Labour.

  9. Obviously that has all changed with the collapse of the Lib Dems and the rise of the SNP.

  10. I think the way things are looking, Ronnie Cowan is going to take this seat but with a small majority. I predict an SNP majority of around 2,000 votes or less. Personally, I hope the career politician that is Iain McKenzie is ousted just to see the look on his face and many other Scottish Labour MPs on May 7th.

  11. I’m a bit mystified as to how the poll predicts McKenzie to get 54% when there has been a steady decline in the Labour vote in the past several elections – not to mention how the SNP vote share could have *fallen* since the 2011 by-election (33%), unless we’re to assume the SNP vote has remained more or less static. Even more amazing is the Liberal Democrats & Conservatives recovering votes they positively haemorraged (9% and 2% in the 2011 by-election respectively).

    Not that I want to tempt fate, but I see this seat going very differently from the account on the site.

    “This seat exemplifies the problem facing the SNP in trying to gain seats. Inverclyde was a dead heat in the referendum: 50/50. Ought to be a great prospect for the SNP. But the problem is that the best Yes areas are in the strongest Labour seats requiring the biggest swings. They may well get a very big swing here but it is unlikely to be enough.”

    The direction of travel has been from Labour to SNP for a number of years now: the Labour vote share falling, the SNP vote share rising. It’ll require a hell of a leap, but before the referendum Inverclyde was predicted to have a 70%+ No result, certainly not a difference of 86 votes.

  12. Looking at the polling done of Scottish Labour seats, there are two things that strike me when we compare them to the Ashcroft constituency polls.

    First of all, the results for the +40% seats are strikingly similar to the Ashcroft polls. The average of the 8 seats in this category polled by Ashcroft (out of 10 – only Glenrothes and Rutherglen not polled) gives us SNP 43%, Labour 39%, Con 9%, LD 2%, Green 2%, Ukip 4% (general VI). This compares to the Comres figures of 45-39-10-2-1-2.

    On the other hand, the Ashcroft figures for the 30%-40% range are 43-34-11-3-4-3 (9 out of 12 polled). This compares to Comres’ 39-39-13-2-3-1. Given that the three seats not polled by Ashcroft are not likely to differ from the trend shown in the rest of the seats [1], I find this difference surprising.[2]

    Given that the Scottish polling has remained largely unchanged over recent months, I don’t think this difference can be attributed to VI shifts, but rather there seems to be a big difference in the two samples.

    Given the general 16-20% SNP lead regularly shown in Scotland-wide polls, and the fact that many of the Labour/SNP battlegrounds are bound to be where we see the highest SNP (and Labour) vote shares, I would hazard a guess that the ComRes figures for the 30-40% group are less than accurate.

    Another couple of things to take note of if we compare the two polling sets.:

    Conservatives seem to be slightly higher with ComRes. If this is accurate, it could make a big difference to the picture in D&G and DCT, where the Tories could actually be in front.

    Greens and UKIP are polling one or two points worse with ComRes. This could be down to methodology or sampling, or could mirror a similar trend that seems that it may be occurring in UK-wide polls.

    [1] Paisley and Renfrewshire North could be expected to behave in a similar way to Paisley and Renfrewshire South. Inverclyde could be expected to behave like West Dunbartonshire or Paisley South. My only uncertainty is Dunfermline, which we have no referent for, although even if Labour were ahead, this wouldn’t change the average significantly.

    [2] It’s worth pointing out that the figures for the -30% seats were 43-35-14-3-2-3, although this cannot be compared to the Ashcroft figures, since only Dundee West and Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock were polled in this range.

  13. Labour Hold

  14. @AW

    Could we try and make sure that, in the the spelling of ‘Gourock’ is correct, please?

    As for ‘Labour hold’ only time will tell…….

    Oh.. it did! And Labour didn’t.

    Inverclyde is now ‘a safe SNP seat’. I still can’t get my head round that. three weeks on….

  15. What is happening about the SNP’s plans to build two new car ferries for thire Scottish isalnd routes?

    I find it difficult to understand what Scottish island needs a ferry with a capacity of 127 cars.

  16. SNP Gain Greenock by over 8000

  17. On a 50;50 referendum result on independence in Scotland I believe that the councils would divide as such:

    Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
    Dundee City
    East Ayrshire
    Glasgow City
    North Ayrshire
    North Lanarkshire
    South Lanarkshire
    West Dunbartonshire
    West Lothian


    Aberdeen City
    Argyll and Bute
    City of Edinburgh
    Dumfries and Galloway
    East Dunbartonshire
    East Lothian
    East Renfrewshire
    Orkney Islands
    Perth and Kinross
    Scottish Borders
    Shetland Islands
    South Ayrshire

    I would lean towards NO for the three bell-curve council areas.

  18. Lab still the largest party on the council here, surprisinhly

  19. Given the indyref result (50-50) Labour remaining the biggest party here is arguably their most impressive result in Scotland.

    Shows how far they’ve fallen.

  20. Council results:

    Lab: 8 (- 3)
    SNP: 7 (n/c)
    Ind: 4 (+ 3)
    Con: 2 (+ 1)
    Lib Dem: 1 (- 1)

    Any idea if there were any particular local issues that allowed Labour hang onto first place?

  21. Just watched Gordon Brown giving a powerful speech in Greenock supporting the local Lab candidate.

    Didn’t think BBC could give such coverage to a single candidate, but I guess this performance was worth showing.

    Not sure whether it will make enough difference to recover the seat, but if SLab were to deploy GB in more seats, they could make some gains.

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