2015 Result:
Conservative: 15319 (31.1%)
Labour: 4898 (9.9%)
Lib Dem: 1395 (2.8%)
SNP: 24384 (49.5%)
Green: 1345 (2.7%)
UKIP: 1939 (3.9%)
MAJORITY: 9065 (18.4%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Highlands and islands. The whole of the Moray council area.

Main population centres: Elgin, Forres, Buckie, Keith, Dufftown.

Profile: A rural seat in north east Scotland, stretching down into the Cairngorms National Park. The main centres of population are Forres and the Cathedral Burgh of Elgin. The river Spey runs through the seat and its valley forms a premier area for the distilling of malt whisky, important distilleries here includes the Glenfiddich and Balvenie Distilleries at Dufftown. The RAF are also important local employers, with the only remaining Scottish airforce base RAF Lossiemouth.

Politics: An SNP seat with the Conservatives normally in second place..

Current MP
ANGUS ROBERTSON (Scottish National Party) Born 1969, Wimbledon. Educated at Broughton High School and Aberdeen University. Former journalist. First elected as MP for Moray in 2001.
Past Results
Con: 10683 (26%)
Lab: 7007 (17%)
LDem: 5956 (15%)
SNP: 16273 (40%)
Oth: 1085 (3%)
MAJ: 5590 (14%)
Con: 8520 (22%)
Lab: 7919 (20%)
LDem: 7460 (19%)
SNP: 14196 (37%)
Oth: 698 (2%)
MAJ: 5676 (15%)
Con: 7677 (23%)
Lab: 8332 (25%)
LDem: 5224 (16%)
SNP: 10076 (30%)
Oth: 1914 (6%)
MAJ: 1744 (5%)
Con: 10963 (28%)
Lab: 7886 (20%)
LDem: 3548 (9%)
SNP: 16529 (42%)
Oth: 840 (2%)
MAJ: 5566 (14%)

2015 Candidates
DOUGLAS ROSS (Conservative) Parliamentary researcher. Moray councillor. Contested Moray 2010.
SEAN MORTON (Labour) Educated at Milnes High School and Stirling University. Moray councillor since 2012.
JAMIE PATERSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1972.
JAMES MACKESSACK-LEITCH (Green) Educated at Glasgow University.
Comments - 270 Responses on “Moray”
  1. The result is now officially in & it can be confirmed that the Tories have gained Elgin City N. It was the only seat to change hands in yesterday’s council by-elections.

  2. technically the seat in M&CE was an independent gain from independent

  3. Scotland Goes Pop believes that this is a relatively encouraging result for the SNP on the basis that the Conservatives were likely to win and there has been no further swing greater than a fraction of a percent from SNP to Conservative since May.

    The result does not seem that encouraging for Labour who would have hoped for a post general election bounce in a ward that they once held. Moray was once a tight SNP/ Labour marginal with the Conservatives in third place (Scottish GE – 1999 and Westminster GE – 2001).

    “It always looked fairly predictable that the Tories would win yesterday’s Elgin North by-election. They had won the popular vote in the ward in May, their tails were up after winning the Moray parliamentary constituency in June, the local SNP were presumably a tad demoralised, and of course we know from long and bitter experience that Tory supporters are more likely to make it to the polling stations in low turnout local by-elections than supporters of other parties. Given all of those disadvantages, it’s really quite striking just how close the SNP came to pulling it off…

    Elgin City North by-election result (first preference votes) :

    Conservatives 40.0% (+7.1)
    SNP 38.8% (+6.1)
    Labour 15.8% (+3.9)
    Independent – Monaghan 5.4% (n/a)

    We shouldn’t get carried away by the increase in the SNP’s vote, because like the other parties they benefited from the much reduced vote share for independent candidates. Nevertheless, the closeness of the result gives us a fair bit of reassurance that things have not worsened for the SNP since the general election in areas where the Tories are their main opponents. (For what it’s worth, there’s also no sign of any Tory bandwagon effect in the Scottish subsamples of opinion polls.) It remains to be seen what is happening in the SNP-Labour battleground areas.

    One of the fascinations of local elections conducted under STV is seeing how Labour voters transfer when faced with a choice between SNP and Tory. The answer in this case was pretty evenly : Conservatives 91, SNP 90. If the SNP suffer significantly from unionist tactical voting in the next general election, it’s unlikely to be in Tory-SNP marginals. I have my doubts as to whether it will happen very much even in Labour target seats, because Tory voters will surely feel increasingly conflicted about helping a left-wing Labour leadership into power.”

  4. Pretty clear that Labour have rebounded so far to any extent only in the central industrial belt, including Edinburgh. The party’s comeback hasn’t really started in the more rural traditionally Tory/SNP battleground yet.

  5. @ Dalek – Scotland goes Pop would say that because it’s a pro-independence blog which also predicted that the general election result would be “devasting” for Ruth Davidson and that the exit poll at the general election gave the SNP a “triple lock” mandate on independence (when unionists took 63% of the vote..!)

    It’s important to contextualise the result in Elgin City North: for a start their was a large independent vote in that area last May which collapsed mostly to Labour, but also to the Conservatives and SNP slightly in the by-election, as you would expect. Secondly, this area had a significant Yes vote in favour of Scottish independence back in 2014 relative to the rest of Moray at 56% No compared to a 58% No vote across Moray as a whole.

    Considering the SNP only managed 38.8% of the vote here in the by-election (when they would have taken upwards of 41% at the general election), this is hardly an exciting result for the party or for the Conservatives, who only managed 40% (compared to the 45% they would have taken in the general election). The Independent vote tends to be more Consevative-inclined than SNP, so with that in mind nothing has really changed since the general election.

  6. I really do have to take exception to Dalek’s description that “Moray was once a tight SNP/ Labour marginal” Lab have never been seriously competitive here, indeed the only times they have ever exceed 25% of the vote in either the Westminster seat or the Holyrood seat where the dates he mentioned (1999 Scottish elections and 2001 general election) and the 26.5% managed in 1999 was the best Lab have ever done yet despite that Lab was still 12 points behind the SNP in an election they won decisively and with the Tories less than 1 point behind in the seat. As for the 2001 election that was closer again but it was really down to a collapse in SNP support more than anything else since Lab only managed 25% of the vote. Its really unwise to look at results from seat that are split three ways and from when Lab was at its zenith and conclude they were once marginals, by the same metric seats like Bridgewater and Hexham were “once marginals”

    I don’t think anyone really ever anticipated Lab would or ever could win this seat, its profile is about as “un Labour” as it gets.

  7. My point was that close results for Labour in Ross Skype & Inverness West, Moray, Argyll & Bute and Tweeddale Ettrick & Lauderdale represented a high watermark for Labour in these normally winnable seats.

    Labour have never been able to replicate these results since.

    Surely by anybody book a 1700 SNP majority over Labour was a tight SNP/ Labour marginal?

  8. I’ve read that quite a lot of the Labour votes in Moray in 2001 came from RAF Kinloss, from voters who opposed the SNP’s unilateralist policies and preferred Blair’s anti-unilateralist stance. Firstly that wouldn’t happen now, and haven’t they closed RAF Kinloss since then anyway?

  9. Labour also made major advances in local government in these years when the SNP lost support in local elections. Despite being strong in parliamentary elections the Conservatives had little presence locally due to the dominance of independents.

  10. “I really do have to take exception to Dalek‚Äôs description”

    Well of course you do

  11. NTY UK,

    I agree that there’s nothing to see here.

    Scotland Goes Pop sees 99% of news as doubleplusgood for the SNP. It’s like looking to the Scottish Conservatives’ homepage for analysis of polling. The quality of the reasoning is suggested by the reference to subsamples…

  12. Dalek
    “Surely by anybody book a 1700 SNP majority over Labour was a tight SNP/ Labour marginal?”

    Not when its clearly an anomaly, it was the best Lab had ever done and have ever done since, one close result doesn’t make a marginal, only if it votes that way repeatedly does it indicate competiveness. Take a seat like Hexham for example, in 97 Lab fell short by just 222 votes, that would normally qualify it as an ultra marginal but it was never really seen that way since the seat had always been Tory and consensus is/was that if a seat resisted the Lab wave in 97 it would likely never go red (save big demographic changes) and that’s evidently what’s happened in Hexham with Lab now way out of contention.

    Moray was a close(ish) result where the vote was split three ways, this deceptively made it seem like Lab was in with a shot when they never really were and subsequent results have demonstrated that, its less a case of Lab underperformance as it reversion to the norm..

  13. But by the same logic some people in this site are arguing that Scottish Labour have done extraordinary well by winning what before 2015 were ultra safe Labour seats with tiny majorities.

    By this logic Glasgow North East was still an ultra safe Labour seat because the fact that it had only once not voted Labour would mean that it could not be regarded as a safe SNP seat.

    Personally, I believe that 2001 represented the high water mark for Scottish Labour when they were banging on the doors of many rural constituencies including Moray, Argyll and Tweeddale and 2015 was clearly the high watermark for the SNP. Labour not only lost seats in 2005 but were pushed in seats like this. Apart from the brief Brown bounce in 2010, it has all been downhill for Scottish Labour till 2017.

  14. Dalek
    “By this logic Glasgow North East was still an ultra safe Labour seat”

    Different situation entirely, for one there is obviously a huge difference in coming very close in a seat and actually winning it.

    Most importantly though the colossal swings the SNP enjoyed in 2015 were indicative of a wider change in voting behaviour caused by the Indy ref, a small bump in Labs vote though in 2001 isn’t really indicative of anything.

  15. But there were some huge swings from Con to Lab across Scotland in 2001…not just a small bump.

    Look at the collapse of the Conservative vote in Aberdeen South and Eastwood that also occurred in that year together with further lost ground in places like Stirling.

    The only better results for the Conservatives were Ayr and Edinburgh Pentlands.

  16. The logic that Tories in Lab/SNP marginals will not want to help the Labour Party into power is flawed because the SNP has been completely clear that it would support Labour at Westminster anyway.

    The only reason that there were decent Tory vote shares in a lot of the central belt seats this time round is that they were assumed to be safe SNP seats anyway. If Tory voters in Glasgow East, for example, had known how close it was going to be between the SNP and Labour, they’d probably have backed Labour in sufficient numbers to turn the seat red.

  17. Douglas Ross is supporting Mark Harper.

  18. Moray is the first seat north of the border that the SNP have failed to take.

  19. Fortunately there is no border – let’s hope it stays that way.

  20. Douglas Ross is running for the leadership of the Scottish Tories. Seen as the frontrunner, and he may go uncontested because, frankly, it’s a hopeless task.

    The plan is for him to secure a Holyrood seat at the next election (which should be easy if he just puts himself at the top of a regional list), with Ruth Davidson filling in for him until then. That would also leave the Tories with the impossible-looking task of defending the Westminster seat.

    All sounds like a lot of hassle to be honest. He’d better be good…

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