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. The SNP are massively odds-on favourites to win at least half a dozen seats. This is one of them.

    I expect Nats will find Lib dem gains easier than labour ones.

  2. Hemmelig

    Do you have any data on that? Or is it more a guessing thing from the count?

  3. No data. I just picked it up from scanning a few blogs. I’ve stayed in Inverness a few times in the past few years and it does seem to chime with the mood of the place.

    As I’ve posted before, Alexander has assiduously stuffed Inverness with Treasury pork….the new London to Inverness sleeper trains being a prime example. No private company in their right mind would have found it viable to buy new trains for such a loss making route. If Inverness votes SNP I wonder if the order will be mysteriously cancelled? Voting Lib Dem in this kind of seat is a good way of ensuring a goodly flow of pork in either a Tory or Labour coalition government.

  4. Yes, and Alexander could talk that up. This and Caithness are almost complete mysteries to me – indeed, Gordon and W Aberdeenshire are also oddities. The Scottish seats held by the Lib Dems are a strange group, and it’s very hard to say what will happen to them.

  5. Its been proven in Scottish elections that former Lib Dem seats can go to the SNP. Following a poll earlier in the year, that put the SNP in front on 32%, The SNP will likely take this seat.

  6. Drew Hendry, the leader of Highland Council, has been selected by the SNP to stand against Danny Alexander. It shows that they are taking this seriously. Ironically the SNP are in coalition with the Lib Dems and Labour in a three-party coalition on the council. The independents are in opposition.

  7. Incorrect. He has not been selected, he is seeking selection.

  8. Must have misread the article. Would be a real surprise if he isn’t selected though. I would have thought you take it as read.

  9. Seems to be one of four nominees for candidature.

    He has to be favourite though.

  10. A boost to Danny Alexander’s campaign

    £50,00 from Orion Engineering Services (boss is former Callie Thistle chairman)
    £10,000 from Ministry of Sound
    £3,750 from Joseph Rowntree foundation

  11. The 1997 to 2005 permutation of this constituency was called Inverness East Nairn & Lochaber.

    I always thought that this because the rural western part of the former Inverness Council was transferred to Charles Kennedys constituency now I think that this also included the entire West Bank of the River Ness…..meaning that the town and not just the former district council area was split between two constituencies.

  12. For the first set of revisions for Holyrood 2 constituencies were created entirely within Perthshire & Kinross council. Rather than recreating the old compact Perth & East Perthshire and massive Kinross & West Perthshire the BC created Northern and Southern (and Kinross) divisions of largely equal geographical size that splits Perth in two along the River Tay.

    I felt that a compact Perth constituency with Scoone and Blairgowrie would have been more sensible. At least there would be 1 MSP for Perth. I also don’t think a recreated Kinross & West Perthshire would be difficult to represent.

  13. Town-splitting seems to have become all too common in recent years. As well as Perth and Inverness in the past, Paisley, Hamilton, Dumfries and, to an extent, Falkirk are all currently split.

    I find the case of Falkirk particularly idiosyncratic. In a way, Linlithgow and Grangemouth seem worlds apart (despite the views of the latter from the former) and yet are merged into a Linlithgow and Falkirk East constituency. It would have made much more sense to me to have given Falkirk and Grangemouth a seat of their own and for Polmont to have passed to Linlithgow.

    I understand the difficulties in terms of calculating electorates, but to divvy up what are essentially small towns seems a bit mad.

  14. Technically Paisley & Renfrewshire North and Paisley & Renfrewshire South covered the North and South of both Paisley and the Renfrewshire Council area.

    I would have called them Paisley North and Paisley South (after the smaller 1983 to 2005 constituencies or Renfrewshire North and Renfrewshire South that would reflect the council.

    I don’t see why Paisley and Linnwood could not form a single Paisley constituency and Bishopton, Bridge of Wear, Johnston, Renfrew and Erskine form a Renfrewshire Mid constituency (respecting Inverclyde as West Renfrewshire).

  15. Generally speaking, the Scottish Boundary Commission seems to be making a lot of odd decisions lately. The list names are absurd, for instance.

  16. I thought applying compass point names to the 7 Glasgow constituencies was ridiculous. It’s OK when a city has 4 or 5 MP’S but not 7.

    Normally Glasgow North means Springburn not Maryhill and the West End.

    There is no tradition of Glasgow being compass points. There was no reason why Glasgow could not have had independent names…say…

    Crookston for SW, Langside for S, Scotstoun for NW, Woodside for N, Denniston for NE and Calmachie for East.

    It would be like calling Brighton Pavilion….Brighton West…

  17. I’ll pre-empt H. Hemelig here, if only because my remarks are likely to be gentler.
    It used to be said that John Home had a Single Transferable speech – Dalek has a Single Transferable post and the above is the latest version of it. It never changes much although I think SW Glasgow usually gets renamed as Craigton.
    I totally agree with the sentiments of course, but it doesn’t bear repeating quite so often as it is

  18. H.Hemmelig seems to be in one of his many exiles from this site.
    I wonder if Dalek misses his native Scotland.

  19. SNP select Highland Council leader Drew Hendry.

  20. Panelbase gives –

    SNP 35 Lab 20 Con 2 LD 2

    Survation gives –

    SNP 52 Lab 6 LD 1 Con 0

  21. Drew Hendry will certainly give Danny Alexander a run for his money!

    The Inverness and Badenoch SNP branches now have closing in on 2,000 members and Danny Alexander has for many become the key target in Scotland being seen as Osbornes hatch man.

    Like him or not Alexander seems to have divided opinion right down the middle but where as the anti vote looks like massing around the SNP I suspect few Labour or Tory supporters are going to rally to save a LibDem.

    It will be close but I think the SNP will pip this one.


  22. I think I prefer hatch man to hatchet man.

  23. I would be surprised if this was close. I would expect the SNP to breach 40%, perhaps knocking on the door of 50%.

    At Holyrood, the SNP were already at 41% in Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber in 2007. Considering Lochaber is traditionally strongly Lib Dem and is not in the Westminster seat, and the only other real difference is the inclusion of Inverness West, I would expect this SNP rise to merely have been postponed past 2010.

    Or looking at it another way, the SNP got 51.5% at Holyrood in Inverness and Nairn in 2011. If we then consider the 34.5% the SNP got in Badenoch and Strathspey at the 2012 Council elections (which is pretty big for a Highland seat, considering the Independent won with 24.5%), it should be quite straightforward. Is Danny Alexander’s personal vote actually meaningful?

  24. Cute fact: this seat (or rather its forerunner Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber) holds the record for the lowest ever winning vote share in a general election, at 26% for the Lib Dems in 1992.

  25. I don’t think that’s very new news on here

  26. Dalek – are those numbers polls of this seat?

    What are those figures?

  27. I think it’s just recent Scotland-wide polls for this seat. Or rather, the number of seats they would give each party.

  28. The Westminster projection of the two latest Scottish polls.

  29. Gotcha. Thanks.

  30. Labour won’t of course end up with 6 to 20 seats but they also won’t come anywhere close to meeting Murphy’s expectations of 41 seats.

  31. Matt,

    That’s iPads for you!

    How about Hutch man if you think he’ll need to pull a Rabbit out of a hat to win!



    Normally I’d be cautious of using Holyrood to predict Westminster as since devolution the voting patterns have been very different but since September the polls do seem to be suggesting that in May Scots look to be intending to vote far closer to voting on Holyrood lines.

    However I think it will be close because although disgruntled LibDems might switch to the SNP I am not sure who Tories will back and if Labour voters will go SNP to get back at the coalition.

    Having said that it does open the prospects of a narrow SNP win and Danny coming third!!!


  33. ASHCROFT Scotland constituency polls due out today or tomorrow – from what can be gathered, it looks like good news for SNP as their VI is predicted to be holding up.

    This seat is looking like the closest we’ll get to a ‘Portillo moment’ – the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on course to lose.

    BBC…20/1/15:”…The SNP have chosen the leader of the Highland Council as their candidate to stand against Danny Alexander in the general election….Drew Hendry”

  34. i think danny boy is truly a gonner here. the snp got 19% last time, and should double that, which makes 38%. The lib dems presumably won’t get anything near the 41% they got last time. This looks like a simple SNP gain, if the SNP surge is real.

  35. To suggest that Danny Alexander losing will be anything like a Portillo Moment is utterly absurd.

    If there were one overused term I wish we could ban from the site, my choice would be Portillo Moment.

  36. My vote would go to IMHO. A little bit like the phrase ‘with the greatest respect’ it’s use usually signals the exact opposite.

  37. My vote would go to any word with with the suffix ‘gate’ at the end, apart from Watergate itself.
    It’s lazy, tedious and usually sounds ridiculous.

  38. equating danny boy to portillo is laughable. Portillo was widely known and reviled. he was also terribly gracious in his speech on the night of his defeat, which added to the sense of occasion. More than any other single event, Portillo’s shock defeat marked then end of 18 years of tory rule which was unprecedented in its length and the way, for good or ill, it changed the country.

    Danny’s defeat would have nothing like the resonance or symbolism. Danny seems to me a classic “here today, gone tomorrow” politician. In five years, miost will struggle to remember his name, if they ever knew it.

  39. … Well that very quickly went off topic.

  40. Thinning out the people who can’t separate their own political views from their analysis would help a lot.

  41. “Thinning out the people who can’t separate their own political views from their analysis would help a lot.”

    It’s impossible to separate personal views from political analysis, as to some degree one drives the other. We can of course do our best but prejudices always inevitably shine through.

    Completely agree with Peter on Portillo. Do you think Danny Alexander will still be a household name 20 odd years after his defeat, appearing on TV every week giving well-paid views on the political issues of the day? Of course he won’t. He’ll disappear off back into some obscure charity or NGO, never to be heard of again until he gets a two paragraph obituary in the Times.

  42. “It’s impossible to separate personal views from political analysis, as to some degree one drives the other. We can of course do our best but prejudices always inevitably shine through.”

    True enough, but it’s a matter of degree. There are some that don’t even try.

  43. The thought of someone born in 1972 getting an obituary in the Times is a bit sobering.

  44. With regards to the phrase ‘Portillo moment’, to be fair to Deepthroat all he said was
    ‘This seat is looking like the closest we’ll get to a ‘Portillo moment’

    He didn’t say it’ll have the same resonance or significannce as the original. However Danny Alexander is, I think, the most high profile Cabinet minister who has a realistic chance of losing their seat.
    He is personally tied in with the very existence of the Coalition, having been part of the Lib Dem negotiating team, and as Chief Secretary he’s played a central role in overseeing the cuts to departmental budgets.

    Obviously part of the reason why Alexander losing his seat would not equate to Portillo’s loss, is that people didn’t expect the latter to lose.
    I suppose George Osborne losing Tatton or Michael Gove losing Surrey Heath would have the shock value.

  45. Do you know, reading Alexander’s bio at the top of this page, I had completely forgotten that he was originally Scottish Secretary (albeit for less than a month).

  46. Over the years the Inverness seat, albeit there have been major changes in its boundaries to the point of unrecognisability, has been won by just about everybody other than the SNP. It was fairly recently a four-way marginal.

    The LibDems currently have a substantial majority, particularly in the context of electoral history in these parts, However, particularly given the recent decline in LIbDem fortunes, if this seat changed hands it would be an interesting event but not a major shock.

    Don’t forget that the personal identity of the candidates is still a significant factor in the North of Scotland.

  47. Although it’s off-topic, can I just totally agree with John D about the “-gate” suffix. It’s particularly pathetic if it refers to something inconsequential. Watergate was a direct attack on American democracy & if it’s just something mildly salacious it’s a very inappropriate comparison.

  48. Theres not many seats on here where a 19% majority is described as “Semi Marginal” but even before the SNP advance, it was probably valid.

    Though the boundaries have been chopped and changed with bewildering frequency, the seat with Inverness included in its title has often seen large swings in support for the Liberals / Liberal Democrats. Russell Johnston increased his vote by (a notional) 17.2% in 1983 , only for it to fall by 9.2% in 1987 and 10.8% in the celebrated 1992 contest. Alexander’s virtually unchanged % of the vote in 2010 was very much the exception rather than the rule.

    His survival probably depended on a split opposition, mainly between Labour and SNP. With the current Scottish opinion polls giving a very clear indication of who will be the main contender, its looks unlikely that he will have that luxury.

  49. The SNP have never won here but have come very close in Oct 1974 (1134 votes short), 1992 and 1997.

    “Don’t forget that the personal identity of the candidates is still a significant factor in the North of Scotland.”

    Most of the electors in the Inverness constituency live in an area the size of Paisley. The massive bulk of the geographical landmass of this constituency is not so much as rural but total wilderness. My point is that the other Highland and Island seats can have huge personal factors that could aid Thurso and Kennedy but not Ginger Nut.

    Inverness by contrast has a much more transient population.

  50. I was agreeing with you until the last sentence. Why on earth would anybody want to transiently move to Inverness?

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