2015 Result:
Conservative: 5760 (11.9%)
Labour: 14594 (30.2%)
Lib Dem: 1132 (2.3%)
SNP: 24453 (50.6%)
Green: 1219 (2.5%)
UKIP: 1173 (2.4%)
MAJORITY: 9859 (20.4%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Lothian. The whole of the Midlothian council area.

Main population centres: Bonnyrigg, Loanhead, Dalkeith, Penicuik.

Profile: This is the rural area to the south of Edinburgh. It consists of largely working class towns, many with a history of mining like Loanhead and Gorebridge. With the mining industry gone, they are gradually becoming commuter towns for Edinburgh, though there is also an important biotechnology industry here. The Easter Bush Campus near Roslin is the souther point of the "Edinburgh Science Triangle" and includes the Scottish Agricultural College, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Stuides, the Moredun institute and the Roslin Institute (famous for cloning Dolly the sheep in 1996). Penicuik was added to the seat in 2005, a planned town built in the 18th century to house workers for the growing papermaking industry and now the location of the Glencorse Barracks, home to the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

Politics: This was previously a safe Labour seat, held by the party since its creation in 1955, but like many Labour bastions fell to the SNP in their 2015 landslide . Historically its most famous Member of Parliament was William Gladstone, whose victorious 1880 Midlothian campaign is sometimes cited as the first modern political campaign.

Current MP
OWEN THOMPSON (SNP) Educated at Beeslack High School and Napier University. Midlothian councillor since 2005. First elected as MP for Midlothian in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 4661 (12%)
Lab: 18449 (47%)
LDem: 6711 (17%)
SNP: 8100 (21%)
Oth: 1321 (3%)
MAJ: 10349 (26%)
Con: 3537 (9%)
Lab: 17153 (45%)
LDem: 9888 (26%)
SNP: 6400 (17%)
Oth: 726 (2%)
MAJ: 7265 (19%)
Con: 2748 (10%)
Lab: 15145 (53%)
LDem: 3686 (13%)
SNP: 6131 (21%)
Oth: 1014 (4%)
MAJ: 9014 (31%)
Con: 3842 (11%)
Lab: 18861 (54%)
LDem: 3235 (9%)
SNP: 8991 (26%)
Oth: 320 (1%)
MAJ: 9870 (28%)

2015 Candidates
MICHELLE BALLANTYNE (Conservative) Scottish Borders councillor.
KENNY YOUNG (Labour) Midlothian councillor since 2014.
AISHA MIR (Liberal Democrat)
IAN BAXTER (Green) Educated at St Francis Xavier College and Edinburgh University. Bookkeeper. Midlothian councillor since 2012.
OWEN THOMPSON (SNP) Educated at Beeslack High School and Napier University. Midlothian councillor since 2005.
Comments - 43 Responses on “Midlothian”
  1. Not everything is going completely the SNP’s way – in a council by-election yesterday in the Midlothian East division, Labour rather surprisingly held on to the seat by about 70 votes against a strong SNP challenge. One wonders if perhaps the SNP are going to end up doing disproportionately well in the Glasgow & Dundee areas, and find seats (other than Dundee W, Falkirk & Ochil perhaps) in the east of Scotland rather harder to come by than polls have shown of late.

  2. what makes you say that this was a strong snp challenge Barnaby?

  3. Because they were close behind previously & were only about 70 votes behind!

  4. doesn’t necessarily mean that they launched a strong local challenge, could just be an effect of their general popularity in Scotland at the moment. in my eyes (i only saw it from twitter, so not scientific in any way) it was Labour trying their best to keep face – kezia dugdale campaigning on the day of the election for example.

  5. Oh right, so the SNP lost it just because they didn’t try hard enough. I doubt that very much with their newly-recruited phalanx of party workers.

  6. Well since i don’t live there i wouldn’t make an assumption that they made a strong challenge, and i think it would be unwise to do so without any proof.

  7. First preferences in Midlothian East in 2012

    SNP 1372 + 405
    Lab 1003 + 475
    Ind 461
    Con 379
    TUSC 52

    1 SNP, 1 Lab, 1 Ind elected


    Lab 1294
    SNP 1260
    Ind 780
    Con 331
    Greens 187
    LD 68

  8. Trasnfers

    LD eliminated: 16 to Lab, 13 to Greens, 11 to Con, 10 to SNP, 9 to Ind
    Greens eliminated: 73 to SNP, 42 to Ind, 33 to Lab, 17 to Con (SNP takes the lead by 14 votes)
    Con eliminated: 100 to Lab, 83 to Ind, 27 to SNP
    Ind eliminated: 239 to Lab, 229 to SNP

  9. I know that the SNP threw the kitchen sink at this one – why wouldn’t they, they’re clearly on a high at the moment? Labour worked very hard too. In this instance, it’s a rare disappointment for the SNP. If my assertion is unwise, then so be it, but I have it on pretty good authority & it even makes sense.

  10. I was hearing that the SNP were complacent here, and thought the vote would fall in their lap, whereas the Labour candidate was much more impressive and they ran a better campaign.

    I think Midlothian will largely swing towards the SNP next year, although much of the seat has the seem feel about it as East Lothian, which I expect to be one of the safest Labour seats in Scotland.

  11. The byelection therefore saw a swing to Labour from SNP compared with 2012.

  12. Yes about 4%.

  13. All of the “big” three parties’ share of the vote (1st preference) seems to have gone down in the election:

    Labour from 35.7 to 32.9 (-2.8%)
    SNP from 42.9 to 32.1 (-10.8%)
    Tory from 9.1 to 8.4 (-0.7%)

    And it seems to be the Independent (19.8%) and Greens (5.0%) who benefitted most.

    Also, I’m not sure to what extent swing applies in an STV multi-member by-election. One would suppose that the strategy of voting for three members at a time is quite different from voting for one. There’s also the fact that, in theory, the best two candidates have already been elected.

    The preferences are interesting, in that most of the Tory vote went Labour rather than SNP when they were eliminated, whereas with the elimination of the Greens and LDs, Labour also seemed benefitted more than the SNP. So much for the supposed “Yes alliance”.

  14. I was perplexed as to why there was no Lib Dem candidate for the ward back in 2012 when they were notionally defending. This seems to be because the Lib Dem councillor between 2007-2012 crossed to Labour pre-2010.

    This in fact suggests a stronger result by Labour this time round, as the 32.9% from 2012 presumably includes a large personal vote for the ex-Lib Dem candidate. If those same Lib Dems have stuck with Labour this time round, that suggests an uphill struggle for the SNP next year, as they would need a big portion of that 17% Lib Dem vote.

  15. I of course mean: “the 35.7% from 2012”.

  16. Sitting MP announced retirement today.

    Given the current state of SLAB late retirements aren’t probably so helpful to defend seats.

  17. That is a a surprise. I fancied Hamilton to hold the seat against the swing, but this gives a big chance to the SNP.

  18. 7 of the 41 Scottish Labour MPs elected in 2010 have so far announced their retirement.

  19. What are the 7 constituencies that the Labour MP is standing down?

    I have 4 – Falkirk, Midlothian, Aberdeen North and Stirling.

  20. Oops. ..Edinburgh SW, Kirkcauldy and Glenrothes.

  21. All of these seem to be pension age retirements or statesmen who have passed the ceiling of their career.

    No fearties (at first sight) avoiding defeat by the SNP but I understand that defeated MP’S get better pensions than retiring MP’s

  22. Retiring MPs won’t get the resettlement grant anymore. In terms of pension there is no difference as it is calculated on the lenght of service and contribution rate.

    None of the Scottish MPs retiring are surprising given their age, past service or police problems.

  23. Labour Midlothian shortlist (out of 5 total applications received)

    Kenny Young (worked for EdM, current Midlothian Cllr)
    Olwen Hamer (Stoke Cllr)
    David Smith (charity worker, head of international programme for the Bible Society, now based in Sunderland, grown up in Renfrewshire)

  24. Labour win, in fact Labour will hold most of their existing seats, where more than a 5% swing will be required to lose.

  25. Are you trolling Neil? Or do you genuinely think Labour are going to win in Scotland by 12 points?

  26. Come on Neil, there have been too many polls giving the SNP a truly massive lead for your forecast to be correct.

  27. I’m not trolling…I think that Labour will pick up big votes in Scotland after the final debate on the TV the other night….Many Scots are afraid of a CON government, and I think that Murphy did a good job and for once Nicola Sturgeon stumbled at some of the really tough questions. I am predicting a 5-7% swing from Lab to SNP in Scotland

  28. Labour Hold

  29. SNP win the Midlothian West by election on a 7% swing from Labour. SNP 43% to Labour’s 26%. Tories 3rd and Greens 4th.

  30. Lower swings to the SNP this week than previously. SNP doing less well in their historical areas of strength is an emerging pattern.

  31. Neither Leith nor Midlothian are historic areas of strength for the SNP, and both were actually seats many thought Labour would hold on to in May. Neither were particularly good areas for Yes in the referendum either, so you wouldn’t expect the swings to be as large. That said, it’s pretty clear that Labour support has collapsed most spectacularly in their traditional heartlands and that’s where the huge swings are coming.

  32. Lab still largest party here.

  33. Given their decent result in the locals, I wonder if Labour feel they can stage a comeback here. It was a pretty poor night for the SNP and Greens (who lost their only seat to the Tories!).

  34. *SNP 19,000
    LAB 14,000
    LD 2,000
    GRN 1,400
    UKIP 500

  35. Outside chance of Lab gain here, I’d say.

  36. One of very few Labour gains perhaps?

  37. Interesting local election totals:

    1st Prefs votes as follows:

    SNP 10038 (30.7%)
    Lab 9887 (30.2%)
    Con 7444 (22.7%)
    Ind 2457 (7.5%)
    Green 2250 (6.57%)
    LD 661 (2.0%)

    In the GE both Green and Ind are not standing. Looking at the 2nd Pref vote transfers of those that voted Ind and Green the following breakdown:

    To SNP 534
    To Con 414
    To Lab 400

    So SNP still shading it with Lab snapping at their heels. The local elections may not be an accurate poll of how the voting in a GE would go, but it was a poll of 32737 actual voters, so should give quite a good indication.

  38. SNP have comfortably won a local by election here with Labour finishing third.

  39. Not a huge difference in Lab -> SNP transfers as opposed to Lab -> Con transfers, relative to the past when the Tories tended to suffer a lot at the transfer phase.


  40. From talking to friends from Penicuik, there’s a tendency there for a number of (young) people to think of the town as thoroughly working-class, but it’s actually a prosperous, middle-class town, for the most part.

  41. Yes….more in common with Peebles/ Tweeddale than urban Midlothian

  42. Again – Not my post above – impersonator.
    Posted by
    Real Joe James B

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