Ochil & South Perthshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 11987 (20.7%)
Labour: 16452 (28.4%)
Lib Dem: 1481 (2.6%)
SNP: 26620 (46%)
UKIP: 1331 (2.3%)
MAJORITY: 10168 (17.6%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Mid Scotland and Fife. The whole of the Clackmannanshire council area and part of the Perth and Kinross council area.

Main population centres: Kinross, Clackmannan, Alloa, Dollar, Alva, Tillcoultry, Crieff, Auchterarder.

Profile: A large rural seat. The Ochil hills run east-west across the middle of seat, to the north the seat is extremely rural and contains the small towns of Crieff and Auchterarder, home of the luxury Gleneagles hotel and golf course. South of the hills is the far more industrial area of Clackmannanshire, with the brewing, glassmaking, textile and mining towns of Alloa, Dollar and Alva - now all largely disindustrialised and dependent more on retail and services..

Politics: Ochil and South Perthshire was always a battleground between Labour and the SNP - the Perth part of the seat was held by the SNP and they were in a strong second place in the old Ochil seat. In the context of the 2015 SNP landslide it was an easy SNP pickup.

Current MP
TASMINA AHMED-SHEIKH (SNP) Born 1970, Chelsea. Educated at Edinburgh University. Former lawyer and actress. Contested Glasgow Govan 1999 Scottish election for the Conservatives, 2014 European election for the SNP. First elected as MP for Ochil & South Perthshire in 2015. Awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to business and to the Asian community.
Past Results
Con: 10342 (20%)
Lab: 19131 (38%)
LDem: 5754 (11%)
SNP: 13944 (28%)
Oth: 1298 (3%)
MAJ: 5187 (10%)
Con: 10021 (21%)
Lab: 14645 (31%)
LDem: 6218 (13%)
SNP: 13957 (30%)
Oth: 1856 (4%)
MAJ: 688 (1%)
Con: 4235 (12%)
Lab: 16004 (45%)
LDem: 3253 (9%)
SNP: 10655 (30%)
Oth: 1156 (3%)
MAJ: 5349 (15%)
Con: 6383 (15%)
Lab: 19707 (45%)
LDem: 2262 (5%)
SNP: 15055 (34%)
Oth: 379 (1%)
MAJ: 4652 (11%)

2015 Candidates
LUKE GRAHAM (Conservative) Accountant.
GORDON BANKS (Labour) Born 1955, Acomb. Educated at Lornshill Academy and Stirling University. Director of a building supply company. MP for Ochil and South Perthshire 2005 to 2015.
ILIYAN STEFANOV (Liberal Democrat) Student support worker.
TASMINA AHMED-SHEIKH (SNP) Born 1970, Chelsea. Educated at Edinburgh University. Lawyer and actress. Contested Glasgow Govan 1999 Scottish election for the Conservatives, 2014 European election for the SNP. Awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to business and to the Asian community.
Comments - 198 Responses on “Ochil & South Perthshire”
  1. This seat will have been aided by the “Brown Boost” that occurred only in Scotland.

    I expect a close result here again, as per 2005.

  2. I think that if Labour holds this I and other party members will be delighted. If this is held, it would almost certainly mean no SNP gains from Labour at all.

  3. This is the kind of seat that if it were in England, there is no way that the tiny industrial county of Clackmannanshire could out vote Kinross and South Perthshire.

    In fact, this constituency would have been Tory from WW2 to 1997 (perhaps with a break between Feb/ Oct 1974 to 1979 of SNP representation). It now looks hard in the foreseeable future for any other challenge to come to Labour from anybody other than the SNP.

    Conservatives could only have lost here in 1997 and would have come back in 2001.

    It is incredible to imagine Strathearn and Crief having a Labour MP.

    The SNP would have a clear lead on these boundaries at Holyrood elections but Westminter is a different kettle of fish.

  4. Indeed. Many of these areas were in the constituency of Sir Alec Douglas-Home and would have been hugely Tory in those days. Certainly Crieff was.

  5. Southern Perthshire is a very nice part of Scotland, having been on holiday here a few years ago, and I would have thought that parts of it are still Tory voting to this day. Or it least it’s natural Tory voters who tactically vote SNP to keep Labour out.

  6. if you like it there you can have your equal marriage there lol

  7. A closer look at the result in Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire in February 1974-
    Reid (SNP)- 22, 289 (43.46%, +27.98%)
    Douglas (Labour)- 18, 679 (36.42%, -14.29%)
    Lester (Conservative)- 9, 994 (19.49%, -8.67%)
    Bolton (Communist)- 322 (0.63%, N/A)

    Majority- 3, 610 (7.04%)
    Swing- +21.135% From Lab to SNP.

  8. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport/flight-tax-removal-plan-following-yes-vote.22931783

    Interesting remarks by Transport Minister Keith Brown who is MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane:

    ‘Mr Brown said the “unfair” Air Passenger Duty (APD) adds significantly to the price of flying to and from Scotland and costs millions every year in lost tourism. Following a Yes vote in next year’s referendum, the Scottish Government plans to cut APD by 50%, with a view to eventually abolishing the charge.’

    Not surprising that Ex Scottish Green convenor Robin Harper (who lives in a flat in South Morningside) will be voting no then!

  9. How the two pre-1983 Perthshire & Kinross constituencies would have voted in 2010 –

    Perth & East Perthshire

    SNP 15098
    Con 12371
    Lab 7694
    LD 5169
    Others 509

    SNP Maj 2727

    Kinross & West Perthshire

    Con 14916
    SNP 12470
    Lab 10413
    LD 7858
    Others 1471

    Con maj 2446

    The constituencies also included ‘Dunblane and Bridge of Allan’ and ‘Trossachs and Teith’ in Stirling Council (North of the River Forth) but excluded Clackmannanshire.

  10. The relevance of this being?

  11. If recent Scottish Westminster polling is to be believed, this constituency could be very hard for Labour to hold –

    SNP 40% (+20%)
    Lab 32% (-10%)
    Con 15% (-2%)
    LD 5% (-14%)
    Others 8%

    Many believe a No vote will destroy the SNP but I feel that the SNP would only decline if the No vote won by a margin in excess of 20% (which now seems unlikely).

    I think that a close No result in Sept 2014 could see the SNP advancing in May 2015.

    I don’t think the SNP polling 40% is likely though, more like 30 – 35%….say…

    Lab 37% (-5%)
    SNP 32% (+12%)
    Con 19% (+2%)
    LD 9% (-10%)
    Others 5%

    Such a result could see the SNP running Labour fairly close in a number of constituencies.

  12. Scottish Westminster polling is never to be believed further than six weeks out before an election. Similarly Holyrood polling further than three weeks out.

  13. Perhaps I can clarify ECB’s statement: Scottish polling that is not directly on top of the election is bogus. It’s essentially true.

    It wouldn’t shock me at all if the SNP picked up a seat or two from Labour in addition to at least one, and probably more, likely gains from the Lib Dems.

    I think they could or will take:
    Argyll & Bute
    Ochil & South Perthshire
    Dundee West

    Of those, Gordon, Argyll, and Ochil are the only really likely ones.

  14. Falkirk is another possibility.

    I think that the SNP rising to 30% would result in the creation of more Lab/SNP marginals from previously safe Labour seats than actual SNP gains from Lab.

  15. Im sorry but I cant see the SNP gaining any seats next year and could possibly loose 1 or 2.

    The vultures are already hovering over Alex Salmond after his woeful performance in the referendum debate against Alistair Darling and as he is the glue that holds that party together you will see it start to fall apart in the aftermath of their defeat.

    Also they will be skint and any money they do have will be kept back for the 2016 Holyrood election rather than for Westminster.

  16. Even among the nats he’s not universally loved from what I’ve read. That’s partly because there’s a lot of Scottish nationalists who just saw the SNP as a means to getting an independence agenda on the table. These are radical lefties who sometimes behave overzealous. Nothing wrong with believing in Scottish independence, but to behave as if they’re an oppressed group like the East Timorese or Kosovar Albanians is becoming a bit desperate.

    They see the SNP as too right wing for their liking.

  17. “I’m sorry but I cant see the SNP gaining any seats next year and could possibly loose 1 or 2.”

    I don’t see the SNP losing any seats because they polled just 20% in 2010 and it would be impossible for them to poll any less…given that some Westminster polls have shown them at 40%.

    They will benefit from the collapse of the Lib Dems and the unwinding effect of Gordon Brown’s personal support which resulted in a relatively very strong performance for Labour in 2010 (transforming places like Dumfries & Galloway, Edinburgh SW, Stirling and East Renfrewshire into safe Labour seats).

  18. Yes, I quite agree. The SNP is more likely to gain than lose seats. What would they even lose?

  19. It is not impossible that Labour could win back Dundee East.

    I honestly cant see the SNP putting much effort into a UK General Election when they have Holyrood to defend in 2016, they really are spending every bawbee they have on the referendum, this could benefit the Lib Dems in the seats that they are vulnerable to an SNP like Gordon and Inverness…

  20. Gordon is almost definitely going to be an SNP gain. It’s not impossible that Jardine could hold it, but with the flimsy majority, the Lib Dems’ unpopularity, and many other factors, it would be a huge defeat for the SNP if they failed to take it. It is very, very low-hanging fruit.

    Argyll & Bute is also likely to flip SNP, although not certain.

  21. They could realistically, IMO, lose a seat to the Tories. The Tories did very well in 1979 in Wales (they campaigned against the Assembly), and recent elections in Scotland have shown a slight Conservative uptick. Therefore, a gain in, say, Angus, is not beyond the realms of possibility.
    Labour could, I guess, gain the Western Isles, I mean who knows what will happen in such a peculiar place!
    I have grown more optimistic about Argyll and Gordon since the Euros, but I agree that they are, most likely, SNP gains.

  22. Yes, I’m relatively confident they’ll be lost, as will E Dunbartonshire (to Labour), and it wouldn’t shock me to see NE Fife go (although likely not, as the opposition vote is split), but I think the Lib Dems could well hold all their other seats in Scotland.

    Inverness and Caithness could flip, but I doubt it.

  23. I’d be very surprised to lose NE Fife. But I think we’ll lose Edinburgh West (it’s no lost cause but I’m leaning towards a Labour gain)

  24. I see it as the other way around. Lib Dems have a completely awful track record in holding seats being vacated by longtime incumbents. I’m not as optimistic on LD chances in Bath, Hazel Grove, Berwick, or NE Fife as most here seem to be. I think there’s a decent chance the Lib Dems will lose each of those.

  25. I can’t see us losing Bath, though Hazel Grove is a worry

    NE Fife has no real challenger, I see it as essentially safe (at least for now)

  26. I could see you losing Bath. No one thought Harrogate was in any real danger in 2010, or Truro, or any of a number of other incumbent-less seats that were lost, sometimes handedly. Even in seats with incumbents, the Lib Dems saw huge majorities––as large as the one in Bath––toppled: Oxford W, Montgomeryshire, and so on.

  27. I don’t think the LDs will lose Bath for a moment. The Tories are a clear second but are always well behind the LDs locally & will stay so. I remain to be convinced that the Tories have any real chance in Hazel Grove either. If Cheadle stays LD, surely Hazel Grove does too.

  28. My instinct is to agree, Barnaby, but I thought the same thing about Harrogate last time around, and plenty of seats that did/almost did flip when their incumbents retired. I thought the Lib Dems would hold Winchester, Harrogate, Hereford, and Truro last time, and I ended up looking pretty silly. The majority in Harrogate in 2005 wasn’t much smaller than in Bath now, and way larger than Hazel Grove.

  29. It’s worth noting though that if Hazel Grove does hold, it’s quite possible that Lisa Smart will be the one and only female Lib Dem MP.

  30. Or one of three if Lynne Featherstone and Jenny Willott manage to hold their seats against all odds. Possibly four if Layla Moran can somehow win Oxford West & Abingdon back for the party.

  31. …If Sarah Teather and Annette Brooke didn’t stand down they would’ve lost their seats anyway. Tessa Munt doesn’t have a chance and I can’t see Jo Swinson holding either.

  32. @P.T. Richards

    You’re forgetting that there are significant differences in demographics between Bath and Harrogate. Bath has a significant public sector especially with its two universities and the students and academic staff who reside in the constituency. Whereas Harrogate doesn’t really have that at all.

    Bath has more in common with affluent, urban seats like Sheffield Hallam, Leeds North West or nearby Bristol West which all have a strong public sector/university influence. Harrogate is more like places such as Winchester or Ludlow in its demographic composition. That’s why it’s less surprising that Harrogate is now Tory again while Bath is likely to be a LD hold even without Don Foster’s personal vote.

  33. I understand your reasoning, and I tend to think it’ll be correct, but I’m just saying it wouldn’t utterly shock me to see Bath revert back to the Tories.

    I’ve discussed women in LD seats previously, but here’s more or less my thoughts:

    I think that Smart and Willott will be in Parliament. Featherstone, Slade (replacing Brooke), Munt, and Burt should all lose, and I tend to think Featherstone will as well.

    Then they have a few female PPCs (other than Smart) in held seats, who could, theoretically, hold: Jardine, and Pörksen. I don’t think either will, but it’s possible in both cases.

    Moran (Oxford W), Goldsworthy (Camborne), Dodds (Montgomeryshire), Porter (Winchester), Walkington (St Albans), and Hurds (Hereford) could, theoretically, get in, but none is likely to. An upset is possible. Also, if Thornhill stands in Watford, that would be interesting.

    All told, I’ll guess 3-4 female Lib Dem MPs after the election, but no more.

  34. Oh, and I forgot Swinson. She should lose, but there’s a vague chance––albeit a slight one––of a hold there.

  35. The Tory gain in Harrogate was foreshadowed by progress for them in local elections. That hasn’t happened in Bath.

  36. There were also boundary changes in Harrogate before 2010, adding 8,000 rural voters from outside the town – notional estimates were that this reduced the Lib Dem lead from 24% to around 16%. Holding all things equal I reckon the Lib Dems would have held the 2005-version of Harrogate in 2010.

  37. Sandy Walkington is male.

    I think it likely that the LDs would have (just) held H&K without boundary changes but even so, it was a huge swing.
    But Harrogate was gained in a terrible year for the Tories, quite possibly due only to the candidature of Norman Lamont, and was held due to a personal vote.
    Bath was gained in a poor year for the LDs when the Tories won a majority. Bath is near perfect demographically for the LDs, whereas Harrogate is a stereotypical Tory seat.

  38. Sorry, Iain (and Mr Wilkington).

    And you are right, but we shall see.

  39. Does anyone happen to know what’s considered the current successor seat to Kinross and Western Perthshire, Alec Douglas-Home’s constituency as Prime Minister?

    I only ask because I happened to just read up on the 1963 by-election that got him elected, saying how it was the safest Tory seat in Scotland, and just be interesting to see exactly how far Conservative fortunes have dropped.

    Is it this one?

  40. There isn’t a meaningful successor seat. This seat does contain the greater part but thjis constitutes a minoity of that old seat and a minority of this seat. I should say about 26,000 out of 73,000 voters in this seat come from the old Kinross & West Perthshire (these being basically the wards of Kinross, Strathearn and Strathallan. This is still a pretty strong Tory area generally but the constituency is dominated by Clackmannanshire.
    Another 21,000 voters from the old K&WP are in the Stirling seat in the Dunblane & Bridge of Allan and the Trossochs and Teith wards which likewise form some of the remaining Tory strongholds in that seat. Finally there are around another 14,000 voters in Perth & North Pertshire in Strathtay and Highland wards.
    So really it isn’t possible to extrapolate anything very meaningful in terms of how the area votes now.
    Perhaps Dalek could have a go, but H Hemelig won’t thank us for encouraging him

  41. As I think we have said to Dalek numerous times, the fact that the Tories may still be notionally ahead on the Kinross & West Perthshire boundaries doesn’t mean much, because in reality like neighbouring seats its opposition would have coalesced enough around the SNP from 1997 onwards for the Tories to be defeated.

    The weakness of the Yes vote in Perthshire and Angus surprised me. It certainly proves that there is still an enormous Tartan Tory vote for them in their strongholds. These seats will be easy SNP holds in the general election however, with increased majorities probably.

  42. Well that rather depends how far ahead they notionally are doesn’t it? If they are ahead on 31% or something then that is one thing. If on the other hand they are ahead on a notional 45% that is quite another.

    It’s also possible that the seat could have been lost in 1997 and then regained as was the case in Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, depending on the starting position.

  43. I will defer to Dalek and Pete, but I think 31% is probably far closer to the reality than 45%.

  44. Remember also the SNP were only a few hundred behind in K&WP in Oct 1974. In many ways it was only such a super Tory stronghold, latterly, due to Home’s personal vote in such a deferential area.

  45. I’m in the dark on this – but I would note that 1974 was a high-water mark for the SNP; they dropped back sharply in 1979 when the Tories won over 50% in the seat to the SNP’s 29%.

  46. Pete is cottect….Kinross and West Perthshire is now divided between –

    Stirling (north of the Forth).
    Ochil & South Perthshire (Kinross and South Perthshire).
    Perth & North Perthshire (Pitlochry).

    It was not just the new Perthshire parts of ‘Stirling’ North of the Forth the helped Michael Forsyth to win in 1983.

    The addition of the Western rural part of Dennis Canavan’s West Stirlingshire contained solid Tory villages to the North of Glasgow (Blanefield ect and Loch Lomondside).

    He swapped these areas for Falkirk Town Centre and over night Falkirk West (the successor to Stirlingshire West became a much safer Labour constituency).

  47. I am not sure I agree that Kinross and West Perthshire is deferential, or that Scots Tory voters are any more attracted to that kind of politics. It is rural, affluent, and has a proliferation of small businesses and independent schools. It would seem to me that the consumer society, Right to Buy, and an understanding of agricultural issues would all count for more in that seat in the 70s and early 80s. Still now, the modern incarnations of these issues will count positively for a right of centre party.

    While I can see Labour voters in Clackmannanshire switching to the SNP, where would a rise in the SNP vote in PNP come from?

    Their vote in 2010 was artificially boosted by borrowed votes from Labour and the Liberals, and these voters may be less inclined to vote for them again now that the threat of a Conservative gain seems to have abated. The Conservatives fought a dire campaign in that seat, with a weak policy message and a gaffe prone candidate. This time, they will have better national leadership and message. Already, there is evidence that affluent Liberal voters are drifting to the party in the South of Perth. While the SNP vote in the Euro elections was down across the council area. If the Party swings to the left under Sturgeon, as I expect it will, then any number of gains become possible in the Central Belt. Conversely, those areas that voted No by margins of 20%, and that have historically returned Conservative candidates will drift away.

    I doubt the Conservatives can ever win in O&SP, but new boundaries would make this easier. In 2015, I would make a hesitant predication of SNP gain. In PNP, the SNP will hold but the Tory vote will be 3% to 4% higher and the SNP vote 2% to 3% lower. In both constituencies, a result similar to 2005 seems likely.

  48. I serious doubt in al ways that the Labour could even get 11% due to severe heritage problems. I predict that it would be a 33% Green Party, 48 % BNP.

  49. prediction for 2015-

    SNP- 36%
    Lab- 32%
    Con- 21%
    Lib- 4%
    UKIP- 4%
    Green- 3%

  50. i agree that SNP will take this seat but i think it will be closer than you predicted with Labour and SNP.

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