Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey

2015 Result:
Conservative: 3410 (5.9%)
Labour: 4311 (7.5%)
Lib Dem: 18029 (31.3%)
SNP: 28838 (50.1%)
Green: 1367 (2.4%)
UKIP: 1236 (2.1%)
Christian: 422 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 10809 (18.8%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat


Main population centres:



Current MP
DREW HENDRY (SNP) Highland councillor since 2007. First elected as MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 6278 (13%)
Lab: 10407 (22%)
LDem: 19172 (41%)
SNP: 8803 (19%)
Oth: 2426 (5%)
MAJ: 8765 (19%)
Con: 4579 (10%)
Lab: 13682 (31%)
LDem: 17830 (40%)
SNP: 5992 (14%)
Oth: 2172 (5%)
MAJ: 4148 (9%)
Con: 5653 (13%)
Lab: 15605 (37%)
LDem: 9420 (22%)
SNP: 10889 (26%)
Oth: 894 (2%)
MAJ: 4716 (11%)
Con: 8355 (17%)
Lab: 16187 (34%)
LDem: 8364 (18%)
SNP: 13848 (29%)
Oth: 1014 (2%)
MAJ: 2339 (5%)

2015 Candidates
EDWARD MOUNTAIN (Conservative) Farmer, surveyor and former serviceman. Contested Caithness Sutherland and Ross 2011 Scottish election.
MIKE ROBB (Labour) Contested Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 2010.
DANNY ALEXANDER (Liberal Democrat) Born 1972, Edinburgh. Educated at Lochaber High School and Oxford University. Press officer. MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 2005 to 2015. Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg 2008-2010, Secretary of State for Scotland 2010. Chief Secretary since 2010. A key figure in the coalition, Danny Alexander was a member of the Lib Dem negotiating team who agreed the coalition deal with the Conservatives, and since then has been a member of the "quad" - the group of four senior ministers (the others being Clegg, Cameron and Osborne) that negotiate disagreements between the coalition partners.
LES DURANCE (UKIP) Born Bishopton. Company director.
ISLA O`REILLY (Green) Educated at Inverness Royal Academy and Napier University. Pilates teacher.
DREW HENDRY (SNP) Highland councillor since 2007.
DONALD BOYD (Christian) Medical doctor and church minister. Contested Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 2010.
Comments - 337 Responses on “Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey”
  1. I think there is a chance Clegg could lose Hallam (simply because there has been so much visceral criticism directed at him personally) but I have always thought DA could hang on here.

    Firstly he is very much at the right of the LDs and secondly as CStT he has been at the forefront of the Coalitions economic policy. Both factors should help him in being able to squeeze the Con vote.

    Thirdly the opposition out against him is divided with both Lab and SNP likely to take significant votes that if just there was just one of them might see DA defeated.

  2. Alexander has also quietly shovelled significant amounts of Treasury pork into Inverness, funding brand new carriages for the Inverness-London sleeper train being one good example (it’s also one of the very first things that will be cancelled if the Scots vote Yes). I don’t see him losing here, especially as the SNP seem to have stopped sweeping all before them.

  3. I entirely agree with Barnaby and H Hemmelig. We need to take a step back for a minute and consider how the Lib Dems have done since 2010 and what this indicates. Although they have had some terrible local election results, their vote has held up sufficiently well sufficient numbers of their seats to suppose that they will avoid oblivion in 2015 by some margin. And it’s not just in places like Westmorland and Lonsdale and Hallam. It’s also in ostensibly marginal constituencies such as Cheadle, Sutton, and Eastbourne. The Lib Dems will sustain losses both to Labour and the Tories but I don’t see evidence for catastrophic losses based on evidence from people actually voting in local elections.

  4. I have no doubt that DA has been trying hard to bolster his position, but there is also a self-fulfilling quality of constituency polls: they give the party in the best position to unseat the current occupant with near-perfect ammunition (as a Green, I remember this well in Brighton Pavilion before the last General Election) (hardly surprising, therefore, that Oakeshott was facing disciplinary action from the LDs). If I have read the poll right, then SNP should be able to make use of the ammunition they have been handed, to unify a high proportion of the anti-coalition vote behind their candidate.

    Add to that the hit that the LDs will take in the opinion polls just for the bad publicity around the Euros, and the additional hit for the attempted coup against Clegg and the impression voters get that the LDs are in chaos, and constituencies that normally would be safe LD holds are in play.

  5. What s the latest view on this seat at the next general election? Bookies all over the place. It was seen as a solid ld hold until the last few months’ lib dem poll dip…now paddy power have labour 5/4. Lib dem 6/4… Ladbrokes, by contrast have lib dems on 11/10 snp 13/8 and labour 7/2… This is a rare instance of a case in which different bookies are showing very different odds on various outcomes….

  6. Ladbrokes had it right and Paddy Power wrong by the sounds of it. Not surprised that the latter appear to have made their market no longer available according to oddschecker. 6-4 the Lib Dems here is absurd. Alexander has a big majority, a Tory vote to squeeze and a seat in a region that arguably tends to vote for people rather than parties. His chances of holding on are no worse than 50-50.

  7. I think that Alexander will keep his seat no bother

  8. If either the SNP vote of the Labour vote were to collapse Alexander could be in trouble. I don’t think that this would happen as each has their core vote here.

    With an equally divided SNP / Labour vote here Alexander could afford to lose up to 10% of the share of the vote here and still hold on.

    Why did Russell Johnston popularity here declined towards his last years as MP here? In 1992 he won with only 26% of the vote and a majority of just 458.

  9. It’s reasonable to think that the Tories, Labour, and the minor parties could all make gains, some substantial, but that Alexander could hold on. Nowhere is it more possible to hold a seat on a tiny fraction of the vote than in the Highlands (as was the case with Johnston in ’92, or Reid in ’10).

    Now, I’d be rather pleased to see Alexander go (as someone who thinks the Lib Dems are a valuable part of British politics, I’d rather they had a better economic spokesperson), but I think he’ll win simply because of a split opposition. Something like this (although obviously predicting Highland seats is touch-and-go at best):

    LD 30%
    Lab 25%
    SNP 24%
    Con 16%
    UKIP 2%
    Green 2%
    Other 1%

  10. The Labour candidate for Mid Sussex is Greg Mountain, the Tory candidate for Inverness is Edward Mountain.

  11. are there any Streams or Byways standing anywhere?
    I did once canvass a voter whose surname was Stream. Possibly the most beautiful woman I have ever canvassed, and she & her husband were voting for me, too.

  12. prediction for 2015-

    Lib- 31%
    SNP- 25%
    Lab- 24%
    con- 11%
    UKIP- 4%
    Green- 3%
    Christian- 1%
    TUSC- 1%

  13. I now anticipate an SNP gain here for a number of reasons:

    The SNP hold the Holyrood seat with 51.5% of the vote.
    The Lib Dems polled only 11.5%.

    Even though this represents only part of the Westminster constituency, that is a massive difference in support.

    I have not been able to formally verify this, but Inverness is reputed to have voted Yes on 18 September.

    Previously a vote for the Lib Dems was seen as an anti-Tory vote. The Lib Dem vote has collapsed and will substantially move to the SNP.

    All in all, I think this is the likeliest SNP gain in May 2015.

  14. This will be a very hard fought seat. The SNP – who hold the equivalent seat at Holyrood quite comfortably – will challenge closely. Overall Highland Council area broke 53/47 for No but that also includes Charles Kennedy’s seat and John Thurso’s. How the votes differed from constituency to constituency I don’t know but there have been reports that Inverness itself voted Yes. Not sure how reliable that is but there are certainly some relatively deprived Labour-voting areas such as Merkinch that might well have gone that way. If the Yes-voting Labour element transfer to SNP and the latter runs a high-profile “Get Alexander Out” campaign it could get interesting. On the other hand the not insignificant Conservative vote may well consolidate behind Danny. But it will be between him and the SNP whatever. Labour are out of this.

  15. Lib dem 32%

    Snp 27 %

    Labour 21%

    Conservative 8 %

  16. Recent Ashcroft Poll –

    SNP 32% (+13)
    Labour 25% (+3)
    Liberal Democrats 16% (-25)
    Conservatives 12% (-1)
    UKIP 7% (+6)
    Greens 4% (+2)
    Others 3% (+1)

    The Ashcroft poll would suggest that the Lib Dems could collapse here as they did in 1997. The Monklands East By Election Stephen Gallagher Lib Dem candidate lost the seat by nearly 8000 and the Conservative came within 10 votes of pushing him into third place.

    One scenario is that Alexander’s 2010 majority should withstand a large swing but the Ashcroft poll suggests that he is in real danger in a constituency which has swing massively away from the Lib Dems before.

    His victory in 2005 was helped by the boundary changes that removed the Labour inclined Lochaber and the addition the Western part of the former Inverness District Council area.

  17. This is quite serious for danny boy…looks like he’ll be out come 2015, either to Labour or more likely SNP

  18. This was not an Ashcroft poll, it was done by ICM. It had a sample size of only 309. It did not use a ‘constituency’ voting sample, as used by Ashcroft, rather using the generalised question which has, in all cases, shown very poor Lib Dem results. Furthermore, the usual ICM methodology was not used.

    What does Monklands East have to do with anything? If you mean the by-election in 1994, the LDs dropped from 4.6% to 2.6%, but climbed from third to fourth, overtaking the Tories. But this obviously has no relevance to any seat in 2015.

  19. From Survation:

    SNP 29.8% LAB 24.4% LD 20.2% UKIP 6.5% GRE 3.7% Others 4%

  20. It’s a small sample size & I’d like to see a poll with a more satisfactory one before I change my mind about the possible destiny of this seat. Personally, I’d love to see Alexander lose, but am not yet convinced it will happen.

  21. Stephen Gallagher was nominated for Inverness East, Nairn & Lochaber following his out polling of the Conservatives in Monklands East that was perceived to be a success.

    Few would have expected him to retain Sir Russell Johnson’s constituency but yet again….few still would have expected him to come within 10 votes of 4th place and lose by nearly 8000.

    The scale of his defeat may have ended his political career.

  22. so both survation and icm have danny alexander in 3rd place here…ladbrokes have snp at 5/4 and LD at 11/8, labour at 7/2….so the betting at Ladbrokes follows the polling in thinking that the SNP will win it, but disagrees in so far as it thinks the lib dems will recover sufficiently to beat labour into 2nd place….

    is there any reason to disagree with this assessment?

  23. “is there any reason to disagree with this assessment?”

    Yes. Although the Lib Dems will shed a lot of votes in Scotland, they are likely to do a lot better in seats they currently hold. They also have a lead of 22 points over the SNP. It will be fairly close, but Alexander will hold here.

  24. Survation have not polled the seat, they merely showed the result of the ICM poll had ICM used their usual methodology, rather than the Oakeshott special.

  25. Neil,

    That’s exactly the opposite of what happened to the Lib Dems in Scotland in 2011 – the biggest backlash against them was in the seats they held. Floor effects are at play here too, given that they are already next to non-existent in parts of the central belt.

  26. Actively popular incumbents should help the LDs buck that trend to a certain extent Andy, particularly in their other highland and island seats. Dont think that’ll be the case here though.

  27. With the SNP’s rise, I’ve decided that I would predict a gain for them here. Something like:

    SNP 30
    LD 26
    Lab 24
    Con 14
    UKIP 4
    Oth 2

  28. Pull the other one. No way the SNP can take this with a base of just 19%

  29. I gather he isn’t particularly well-liked, though. And the Highlands is quite capable of switching from one party to another

  30. Andy, you certainly have a point regarding the floor effect – that being said, the Lib Dems are not quite non existent in the Central Belt, I think they held all their deposits in 2010, they’ll be lucky to hold half their Scottish deposits in 2015, and could be below 2% in quite a few.

    Comparisons with 2011, though, are essentially meaningless. The SNP may be riding high now, but come polling day, the Scottish electorate will be going to vote for Westminster MPs, and while the SNP will make a handful of gains, I can’t see this being one of them.

  31. I do think this could well be one of them. I just don’t think Labour can pull this out.

    And that’s the thing with the Lib Dems in Scotland: they could well get absolutely decimated in the central belt and in much of the south, yet still hold up better than expected in their northern strongholds. The crash in vote share in Edinburgh and Glasgow North alone should account for a large bit of their swing against, plus West Dumfermline and Aberdeen South. There is a chance they could actually hold the bulk of their seats.

    There is not a single Scottish seat where this site has complete consensus that a loss will be had. I’ll summarize the general opinions I’ve seen:

    Orkney & Shetland: 99.999999% think Lib Dem hold
    Ross, Skye, & Lochaber: 95% think Lib Dem hold
    Fife NE: 90% think Lib Dem hold
    Caithness: 80% think Lib Dem hold
    Berwickshire: 70% think Lib Dem hold
    W Aberdeenshire: 50% think Lib Dem hold
    Inverness: 40% think Lib Dem hold
    Argyll & Bute: 20% think Lib Dem hold
    Edinburgh W: 10% think Lib Dem hold
    E Dunbartonshire: 5% think Lib Dem hold
    Gordon: 5% think Lib Dem hold

    I’ve actually heard people argue for a hold in all of them, and I’ve seen arguments that they’d lose in all but Orkney. All told, I think we can assume that we really, really need polls up north.

    I would expect that they would hold the top five on that list and lose the others.

  32. 2015 is a potentially tricky one for the nationalists, because in the context of how they have responded to the referendum, it’s difficult to see how they would work with Labour even if the HOC arithmetic opened up the possibility.

    If we’re on course for a hung parliament and they are perceived as going to Westminster to be a pain in the backside to all in equal measure, rather than to argue for particular things that the other parties aren’t offering, then they could yet again face a GE squeeze of proportions which other results would suggest is absurd.

    By the way, I’m not suggesting for a second that the SNSWP can’t make significant gains, indeed it’s quite likely. I’m just saying that there are pitfalls out there, and I’m yet to be convinced that the party can see them on the horizon and will do something about them. If they manage to juggle being the real alternative to the Westminster parties with working constructively with the “enemy” when it’s in Scotland’s interests to do so, this is a seat I think they’ll take.

    Notwithstandign that, for the record my current view is identical to Barnaby’s, and I’m actually going to be voting Lib Dem!

  33. PT Richards – Aberdeen South actually hasn’t been too bad for the LDs post 2010

  34. Really?

  35. 2012 Council:
    Labour – 6,188 – 24.90%
    SNP – 5,992 – 24.11%
    Liberal Democrats – 5,509 – 22.17%
    Independents – 3,455 – 13.90%
    Conservatives – 3,137 – 12.62%
    Greens – 508 – 2.04%
    National Front – 42 – 0.17%
    UKIP – 18 – 0.07%

  36. Huh. That’s not bad at all. Thanks!

  37. Mike Smithson claims Alex Salmond is set to stand here for the SNP.

    Possible effect on result?

  38. If Salmond stands I think it would be a cake walk for him, but I know many Tories (like me) and labour voters would vote LD tactically against Salmond. I certainly would…

  39. If Salmond stands, Alexander is a dead duck.

  40. Is Salmond really that popular at present among highland voters? I can see him winning it, but more because it would make the SNP the obvious opposition and lead Labour voters to break in his direction than because he’d bring a vast personal vote.

  41. Farage, Salmond and Johnson in the house of commons next year? that would certainly be an improvement on this parliament. love or hate them they are probably the three best politicians at “connecting” with swathes of the electorate in the uk right now… it was always rather bizarre that none of them were MPs.

    I think it’s good for the house of commons and democracy for such figures to be MPs.

  42. The Daily Mail story referenced by Smithson seems to be saying: “Everything points to Salmond standing in Gordon, but some Nat in the pub told me he was going to Inverness.” I’ve heard nothing to day he’s going to stand down from Aberdeenshire East in 2016. In fact, what he repeatedly said after relinquishing the leadership was, “I’ll continue to serve Aberdeenshire East as long as the people continue to elect me.

    That suggests he’s looking at representing either Gordon or Aberdeenshire East in the foreseeable future. And representing both Aberdeenshire East and Inverness simultaneously for a sustained period would be ludicrous.

    I also fail to see him standing in the Central Belt. He’s spent his entire political career representing the north east, and I think his appeal is stronger there than in Lanarkshire or the Lothians, where he’d be like a fish out of water. Maybe Linlithgow though…

    But I’m sure it will be Gordon.

  43. It would seem silly if it weren’t Gordon, assuming he wants an easy run.

  44. I’m also unsure of the claim made in the Daily Mail that Salmond wants to take a “scalp”. On his return to Holyrood un 2007, instead of taking on the more popular Mike Rumbles in West Aberdeenshire, he took on the lesser known Nora Radcliffe, presumably because he knew his personality would take the seat. I’m not sure a clash with Alexander, where he will surely come out as more aggressive, would do him good.

  45. Salmond’s certainly a marmite figure. I expected the cybernats to go ape when they burnt an effigy of Salmond in Lewes, but I was amused that quite a lot of Scots online hate him too now. He could have gone gracefully, but talk of UDI etc just make him seem a bad loser. Sturgeon as well as the new Green and Plaid Leaders seem so far Left that I wonder if they’d take the Sinn Fein line on the Oath of Allegiance?

  46. Lancs: when I read that the police were investigating a complaint about the effigies, I assumed it related to an allegation of wasting police time.

    Not so. Someone in the Scottish SSR is so against political freedom of expression that they actually consider what happened to be a crime.

    As for the Oath of Allegiance, I highly doubt it. The last thing in the world the SNP want to do is give previous Red Nats a damn good reason to continue voting SNP at Holyrood but Labour at Westminster, given that for the first time they have the potential to convince them to stay SNP at all elections.

    Besides which, I think Sturgeon’s view is that another referendum is on the cards once the EU issue comes to a head. But bearing in mind that the UK government could (and in the circumstances probably would) say “too soon”, I think that on top of a game-changing issue such as a different relationship with the EU, the SNP would also need to be the largest Scottish party in the Commons by MP count, and make full use of that strength.

  47. odds on this seat have shifted decidedly against danny boy since the summer:

    ladbrokes have snp 4/9 to win; lib dem 2/1; paddy power 1/3 snp lib dem 5/2; william hill 2/5 snp and lib dem 11/5

    all three are quite consistent with each other, which wasn’t the case in the summer.

    I suspect, labour will give the snp a free run here, as they would like to claim danny’s scalp by whatever means.

  48. I wonder what the impact would be if Alex Salmond stood in East Renfrewshire, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath or Dumfriesshire Clydesdale & Tweeddale?

  49. Some months ago I had expected Alexander to hold, but increasingly I suspect your view is correct. This is the kind of seat where the Lib Dems polling at 8% instead of 12% will make a decisive difference. I also suspect the referendum will have boosted the SNP here. Anecdotally, Inverness town was very strong for Yes, though the surrounding rural area wasn’t.

  50. Was replying to Peter Crawford.

    I can’t see Salmond standing outside of a northern Scotland seat.

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