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 - 262 Responses on “Moray”
  1. “Given that this council area was basically 50/50 in the referendum, which areas would have voted Leave?”

    Fochabers Lhanbryde
    Heldon and Laich
    and possibly Keith and Cullen

  2. Also it’s important to note that the only serious Conservative targets on the existing Westminster boundaries in Scotland which had a No vote of +60% at the 2014 Scottish independence referendum are:
    – Aberdeen South
    – Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
    – Dumfries and Galloway
    – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
    – East Renfrewshire
    – Edinburgh South
    – Edinburgh South West
    – West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

  3. That’s the same as last time.

  4. Well I doubt they’ll manage East Lothian, I personally don’t see them coming ahead in East Dunbartonshire, Angus or Moray either.

  5. It’s possible but very unlikely in my opinion.

    To tie with the SNP in East Lothian the Conservatives will need to take two councillors in Dunbar and East Linton (out of a possible three): something which I strongly doubt is achievable for the time being (they would need to more than double their vote in that area from the 2007 election). The Conservatives would also need to take a councillor in every ward and two in North Berwick and Haddington – I do believe that this is achievable, although gaining a councillor in Tranent could prove challenging. So overall very unlikely there.

    To come first in East Dunbartonshire the Conservatives need to get two councillors elected in both Bearsden wards: they would be challenging the Liberal Democrats and an Independent in Bearsden North and the Liberal Democrats in Bearsden South. Again I’m doubtful as they would need to almost double their vote from 2007 in Bearsden South to do it…

    Moray is more achievable as the vote should fracture off between the SNP, Independents and Conservatives. The Conservatives will need a councillor in every ward to be in with a chance of tying with the Independents and SNP – if they were to take two councillors in Fochabers Lhanbryde then that would push them ahead.

    Angus is unlikely as if the Conservatives are able to tie with the SNP in that area then chances are the Independents would have the most seats. To come first in seat terms they will need to get two councillors elected in Kirriemuir, Monifieth, Forfar and Arbroath West. I don’t even think that they are putting up that many candidates…

  6. Sorry I forgot to mention that Bearsden North and Bearsden South are both three-member wards, Fochabers Lhanbryde is a three-member ward, Kirriemuir & Dean is a three-member ward and Forfar & District, Arbroath West & Friockheim and Monifieth & Sidlaw are all four-member wards.

    I can see the Tories taking two councillors in both Kirriemuir and Monifieth.

  7. On current polling figures I would guess that, at best for the Conservatives, the result in Moray and Nairn would be:

    Scottish National 47%
    Conservative 45%
    Labour 5%
    Liberal Democrat 3%

    2% SNP Majority

  8. I would guess, at best:

    Scottish National 48%
    Conservative 44%
    Labour 4%
    Liberal Democrats 4%

  9. Stirling North and South Perthshire would be a Conservative gain, although that constituency shouldn’t cover any of the city of Perth itself.

  10. In terms of the current boundaries I’d imagine that Moray is just winnable for the Conservatives on the basis of current opinion polling but that Perth & North Perthshire will go SNP.

  11. The parallels are limited at best.

  12. The problem for the Tories is that there’s little evidence of a significant fall off in the SNP vote. Given that Labour and the Lib Dems will take some votes, the Tories need to reduce the SNP share to win seats like this. That said, if there’s a seat where Brexit will help the Tories, it’s probably this one.

    The other thing I think Tories need to be wary of is assuming that their increased support is both permanent and evidence of changing political views. They’ve benefitted from a large vacancy in the centre ground of unionist politics, which won’t last forever, and not all of their new voters are natural Tories.

  13. I would imagine that the Conservative candidate will be Douglas Ross MSP.

    Robertson should hold on though, albeit with a greatly reduced majority.

  14. I am quite convinced that both the Tories and the Lib Dems will have more MPs in Scotland than Labour does after this election. Will that, plus the Tories’ Holyrood victories, mean that Labour has truly become Scotland’s third party? Even fourth? Possibly so.

    If Robertson loses, then it’s a rough night for the SNP and an amazing one for the Tories. I wouldn’t rule it out, though.

  15. Yes Douglas Ross is standing here for the Conservatives again.

  16. Outside of the seats where the Scottish Conservatives already have constituency MSPs, this one seems the most likely to turn blue.

    Remain only won by a margin by 0.2% and Douglas Ross got a swing of 18% at the last Holyrood election. If turnout falls marginally and this swing is repeated it could be the Portillo/Balls moment of this election.

    Perth and North Perthshire could be a posibilty but it produced a stronger Remain majority of 9.8% so is less vulnerable.

  17. Tories quietly confident of pulling off an upset here:

    Personally I don’t see it happening. But I suspect Angus Robertson might be spending a fair bit of his time on his home patch rather than travelling around Scotland.

  18. What does a Tory victory look like here? Eat up the UKIP vote, get a large number of SNP switchers who aren’t pro-independence, maybe take a bit off Labour (if that’s possible), and hope any bounce back to the LDs is well contained?

    Labour came second in ’01 and it was a close threeway for second place in ’05.

    Maybe the Tories can hope that the Scottish Greens take a bit of support from the SNP? I don’t know. I just can’t see this as possible unless a bunch of voters go straight from the SNP to the Tories, and that’s a rather odd transition.

    Maybe something like this, if it happens (not a prediction, just throwing a scenario out there):

    CON 42
    SNP 41
    LAB 8
    LD 5
    GRN 4

  19. Banff and Buchan is never going to happen. That constituency voted Yes to independence.

    I can’t really see Perth or Stirling as viable targets either if I’m honest.

  20. Agreed on those three.

  21. Looking at the seats the Tories should be picking up (or coming damn close to taking) if Scottish polling is to be believed, I can only come to three conclusions. Either

    1. Traditional and indeed even recent assumptions on voter behavior are horribly wrong, and the polls are right.
    2. Polling methodology for the Tories in Scotland is horribly wrong, and aforementioned assumptions are right.
    3. Both of the above are correct, which suggests that the rise in the Tory vote will be very inefficient in terms of seat pickups.

  22. Yes, this could be one to watch.

    I would have assumed AR’s profile would have benefited him, but it doesn’t seem to have done thus far ie 2015 was the lowest SNP increase here.

    Didn’t he also have a couple of dodgy expense claims only recently. I seem to recall something about a £2k bed and a home cinema system on the taxpayer.

    Amusingly the Tory is actually more Scottish than the SNP MP too. I recall Andrew Neil pointing out that AR was born in England (although presumably he moved to Scotland when he was a toddler as he was schooled up here).

  23. I can see his majority going down to almost nothing….just as David Steels did in 1970 or Malcolm Bruces did in 1992 from previously large majorities….but I dont see him losing.

  24. Mr Pitt
    “unless a bunch of voters go straight from the SNP to the Tories, and that’s a rather odd transition”

    Not hugely odd in a seat like this. We must remember this is very rural, elderly and dare I say it “conservative” territory that started voting for the SNP back in the 80’s cos the Tories trashed their own rep in Scotland and back then the SNP were still deemed the tartan Tories. A lot of voters in seats like this will be elderly, often farmers and a good many will have been pro Brexit and anti independence.

    Now that the SNP have morphed into a wannabe far left party and the Tories have themselves a decent leader in Scotland a great many old school Tories in seats like this will come home as we saw in in the Scottish Parliament elections. Indeed direct SNP to Tory switchers is the only way this seat will be won by the Cons.

  25. With the SNP on 49% then yes it’s direct switchers, stay-at-home Nats or the mother and father of all squeezes on the other parties!

  26. Rivers is right. Don’t forget the part the SNP had in bringing down James Callaghan. That’s the SNP that a lot of people in Moray have voted for over the last thirty years.

  27. Must say I’m a bit surprised to hear him use the phrase “far left” though. What have you done with the real Rivers10? 😉

  28. Polltroll
    “What have you done with the real Rivers10? ”

    Note the word “wannabe” the SNP talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. They’ve brilliantly managed to implement a program not dissimilar to New Labour yet persuaded everyone that Labour abandoned its roots and aren’t left wing enough.

  29. Rivers10 “Indeed direct SNP to Tory switchers is the only way this seat will be won by the Cons”

    The above is only part which is incorrect.

    As Lab > Con and UKIP > Con will play a part and probably more so than SNP > Con given the current state of the polls and above %s in 2015.

  30. “UKIP to Con”. Well, that’s accounted for about three votes.

    “Lab to Con”. Just as much chance Lab to SNP.

  31. ““Lab to Con”. Just as much chance Lab to SNP.”

    Isn’t Scottish Labour mostly Blairite? Lab to Con doesn’t sound so far-fetched especially if saving the union is deemed more important than keeping the Tories out

  32. Scotty – It’s what the polls show. It really doesn’t matter whether or not you believe it.

    UKIP polled 1,939 votes here in 2015.

    Equally the Labour share could also almost halve here.

  33. But even so, of course it will need SNP-Con switchers. And yes they do exist, for various reasons no doubt, but especially remember that about 1/3 of SNP voters voted for Brexit and, with all forms of independence running through their veins, will be among Brexit’s most ardent supporters.

  34. No matter how much the pols are suggesting a huge Conservative surge in Scotland, I find it hard to accept that the Tories could win this seat and a few similar. Snp to Con switchers are very hard to find in Scotland at the best of times and that’s what it’s going to take.

  35. For some soft SNP Brexit voters its “would I rather stay in the UK, or the EU” that’s what it could boil down to.

  36. I know a few SNP voters and none of them some of which are brexiters would vote Tory

  37. Lancs – there’s a difference between putting the polls above politics (which we absolutely must do to have meaningful discussions), and to completely ignore the politics.

    The polls indicate that this seat is in play. But unless there is a suggestion that Labour, LD and UKIP will fail to stand, or that their “core” support is less than 2% of the electorate combined, then even without considering politics then by definition some of the swing must come from direct SNP to Tory switchers.

    Then, and only then, does the political question “what percentage of SNP voters would switch to the Tories here?” come into the equation.

  38. Also, look at the cross-breaks in polls showing where 2015 VI for different parties has gone – Tories have overwhelmingly kept theirs, and although SNP have kept about 85%, so still very good, about 6% of their 2015 voters have gone to Tories. (= about 3% of the electorate)

    Of course, that won’t be spread evenly across the country, and seats with larger Leave votes such as this one would typically be likely to have considerably higher numbers of SNP switchers – whilst eg, Edinburgh seats may not see direct SNP-Con switchers much at all. (though could see SNP-Lib Dem switchers in greater numbers as Edinburgh was very strong for both ‘NO’ and ‘Remain’ – matching Libs’ current profile best out of all the parties.

    Hopefully this simple observation regarding differential swing in different places goes some way to clearing the fog for people struggling to grasp the new reality (I’m only part-way there myself tbh!).

  39. The notional Conservative majority in Perth & North Perthshire in 2001 was around 1500. I recall that the old Perth constituency had a SNP majority of around 20 that year.

    The 3 to 6 seats the SNP won in the 80s and 90s should be Tory heartlands anyway. They are England’s equivalent of Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire or Cheshire.

    For the Conservatives to regain these seats it only illustrates what a dire position the Scottish have been in for the past 30 oflr 40 years.

  40. The notional Conservative majority in Perth & North Perthshire in 2001 was around 1500. I recall that the old Perth constituency had a SNP majority of around 20 that year.

    The 3 to 6 seats the SNP won in the 80s and 90s should be Tory heartlands anyway. They are England’s equivalent of Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire or Cheshire.

    For the Conservatives to regain these seats it only illustrates what a dire position the Scottish have been in for the past 30 or 40 years.

    I know a few SNP voters and none of them some of which are brexiters would vote Tory
    April 24th, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I fall into this category as do many of my friends and family. Please also remember that Ruth Davidson is a fervent remainer and campaigned in live debates for that option.

  42. Prediction as of 25th April 2017

    If we assume national vote shares of 45% SNP, 29% Cons, 15% Lab, 5.5% LibDem, 2.25% Green…(these are the averages of the 4 polls since Jan listed on electoral calc)

    SNP: 44% (-5)
    Con 45.1% (+14.1%)
    Lab 1% (-9)
    UKIP 0 (-4)

    Predicted majority of 1.15 Conservative GAIN.

    UKIP & Labour voters will most likely fall in behind the Cons here, ‘cos of indyref2 issue & brexit (remember 49.9% of this constituency voted BREXIT, that changes things meaning we can expect SNP-to-Tory switchers here too). Angus Robertson is in deep trouble it seems.

  43. If Labour and UKIP cease to exist, and for the sake of making our argument more likely we ignore the LDs and Greens (whose 2015 share and increase/decrease since is relevant given the tightness of the race those predicting a Tory gain are projecting), then yes, he should be very worried.

    If not, then as I said before, there needs to be some evidence of a good proportion of this swing to be direct SNP to Tory switchers.

  44. I was looking at the last Holyrood result for Moray. The SNP majority of nearly 11000 (38%) fell to just under 3000 (8%) on a sing of 15% from SNP to Conservative. With an 18% majority Robertson could not survive a repeat of this swing.

    There has been a clear further swing from SNP to Conservative since last year and the Holyrood constituency excludes some costal communities that are likely to be very Pro-Brexit.

    The Leave vote here was nearly 50% and this constituency looks increasingly like something between a Conservative Gain or and SNP photofinish hold.

  45. Exiled Voter – untrue.

    It’s not ‘by definition’ at all that there needs to be substantial SNP > Con swings to win this. That would only be true if the SNP had achieved 60% of the vote and not less than half.

    I expect there’ll be a few SNP > Con, but even without any if you eg:

    (i) halve the UKIP vote and add it to the Tory column;

    (ii) 1 or 2000 Labour voters vote Con (either due to national swing or due to tactical Unionist votes);

    (iii) 1000 more turnout to vote than last time,

    Then the SNP majority is only 5000 even without a single SNP > Con switcher, of which I’d expect at least 500 given May, Davidson v Sturgeon as opposed to DC v Salmond in 2015.

    That makes it an SNP majority of 4000 even without any local campaigning or any SNP votes staying at home compared with 2015 and as they did in the EU Ref.

    As I indicated, I’d still make it more than likely the SNP will hold this, but I could well see the Tories coming within 2,000 votes of taking it.

  46. People always forget turnout.

    If SNP supporters stay home moreso than in 2015 and Tory voters turn out in increased numbers, then you could see an “SNP to Tory swing” on paper, without any switchers at all!

  47. At the moment I believe that this will be a Conservative gain.

    I suspect that they could manage to poll ahead in all wards except Buckie.

  48. Ruth Davidson says the Conservatives have a really good chance of gaining this constituency, and has tooted the same for Perth & North Perthshire. They must have solid canvass returns here, and must be very confident of a gaining the seat.

  49. Whoever wins, the Moray result will be one of the most exciting parts of June 8th.

  50. Scottish Greens announce that they will not be contesting Moray or any other Highland seat.

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