Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles)

2015 Result:
Conservative: 1215 (7.6%)
Labour: 4560 (28.6%)
Lib Dem: 456 (2.9%)
SNP: 8662 (54.3%)
Christian: 1045 (6.6%)
MAJORITY: 4102 (25.7%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Highlands and islands. The whole of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area.

Main population centres: Stornoway.

Profile: Na h-Eileanan an lar covers the Western Isles (the seat was called Western Isles until 2005). It covers the Outer Hebridies, the further reaches of the archipeligo off the coast of north-western Scotland, including the islands of Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Barra, Benbecula, Scalpay, Great Bernera, Grimsay and the uninhabited St Kilda. The only town on the Outer Hebridies is the fishing port of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, from where ferries sail to the mainland. Stornoway also has an airport with services to the mainland. The seat is socially as well as geographically somewhat isolated: Gaelic is widely spoken, the Western Isles are the only area in Scotland were over 60% of people speak Gaelic. Sunday Observance is also still widely observed on the Islands, particularly in the Northern islands, with a widespread refusal to trade or travel on the Sabbath, due to the continuing strength of the Free Church and Free Presbyterian Church. In 2006 considerable controversey was caused with the opening of a ferry service to Lewis that operated on Sundays.

Politics: Na h-Eileanan an lar has the smallest electorate of any seat in the country with just over 20,000 voters, only a third of the size of most constituencies. Attempts to link the counstituency with others have always foundered on the geographical size of the area and problems of travel and communications for the MP. Politically the seat has been a marginal between the SNP and Labour since the war. In both 2005 and 2010 it was one of only a few seats where the Conservatives failed to retain their deposit. In the 1975 referendum on continued membership of the European Union, the Western Isles and Shetland Isles were the only areas to vote no.


Current MP
ANGUS MACNEIL (Scottish National Party) Born 1970, Barra. Educated at Nicholson Institute, Stornoway and Strathclyde University. Former teacher and BBC worker. Contested Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber 2001. First elected as MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar in 2005. A native speaker of Gaelic. MacNeil brough the original complaint that lead to the police investigation into "loans for peerages".
Past Results
2010
Con: 647 (4%)
Lab: 4838 (33%)
LDem: 1097 (7%)
SNP: 6723 (46%)
Oth: 1412 (10%)
MAJ: 1885 (13%)
2005
Con: 610 (4%)
Lab: 4772 (34%)
LDem: 1096 (8%)
SNP: 6213 (45%)
Oth: 1145 (8%)
MAJ: 1441 (10%)
2001*
Con: 1250 (9%)
Lab: 5924 (45%)
LDem: 849 (6%)
SNP: 4850 (37%)
Oth: 286 (2%)
MAJ: 1074 (8%)
1997
Con: 1071 (7%)
Lab: 8955 (56%)
LDem: 495 (3%)
SNP: 5379 (33%)
Oth: 206 (1%)
MAJ: 3576 (22%)

2015 Candidates
MARK BROWN (Conservative) Financial services manager.
ALASDAIR MORRISON (Labour) Born 1968, Stornoway. Educated at Nicolson Institute. Journalist. Contested MSP for Western Isles 1999-2007.
RUARAIDH FERGUSON (Liberal Democrat)
ANGUS MACNEIL (SNP) See above.
JOHN CORMACK (Christian)
Links
Comments - 369 Responses on “Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles)”
  1. I wonder if the swing in this seat might be higher than average if the ‘Vicar’s daughter’ is regarded favourably. Also not sure if Christian Party (who held their deposit the last two elections) are standing.

    It also appears to be a relatively high swing seat.

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