Perth & North Perthshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17738 (32.7%)
Labour: 4413 (8.1%)
Lib Dem: 2059 (3.8%)
SNP: 27379 (50.5%)
Green: 1146 (2.1%)
UKIP: 1110 (2%)
Independent: 355 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 9641 (17.8%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Mid Scotland and Fife. Part of Perth and Kinross council area.

Main population centres: Perth, Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry, Alyth.

Profile: Covers a huge swathe of remote mountains, forest and moorlands in the Scottish highlands, as well as the lowland area around Perth itself. There are a few small towns in the highland part of the seat, including the market town of Aberfeldy and the tourist centre of Pitlochry, but the large majority of the electorate is in the lowland portion of the constituency in the south, especially the city of Perth itself. Perth is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council and a retail and financial centre for the wider area. It has played a prominent role in Scottish history and Scone Abbey to the east of the city was the traditional coronation site for Scottish monarchs.

Politics: There have been various different constituency arrangements covering Perth in the past, sometimes pairing the city with Kinross, sometimes with the highlands of north-eastern Perthshire. Throughout these it has been held by the SNP since the 1995 Perth and Kinross by-election, and has been a marginal between the SNP and Conservatives since the 1970s.


Current MP
PETE WISHART (Scottish National Party) Born 1962, Dunfermline. Educated at Queen Anne High School. Former keyboard player with Celtic rock band Runrig. First elected as MP for Tayside North in 2001.
Past Results
2010
Con: 14739 (31%)
Lab: 7923 (16%)
LDem: 5954 (12%)
SNP: 19118 (40%)
Oth: 534 (1%)
MAJ: 4379 (9%)
2005
Con: 13948 (30%)
Lab: 8601 (19%)
LDem: 7403 (16%)
SNP: 15469 (34%)
Oth: 509 (1%)
MAJ: 1521 (3%)
2001*
Con: 11189 (30%)
Lab: 9638 (25%)
LDem: 4853 (13%)
SNP: 11237 (30%)
Oth: 899 (2%)
MAJ: 48 (0%)
1997
Con: 13068 (29%)
Lab: 11036 (25%)
LDem: 3583 (8%)
SNP: 16209 (36%)
Oth: 655 (1%)
MAJ: 3141 (7%)

2015 Candidates
ALEXANDER STEWART (Conservative) Perth and Kinross councillor since 1999.
SCOTT NICHOLSON (Labour)
PETER BARRETT (Liberal Democrat) Contested Perth and North Perthshire 2010.
JOHN MYLES (UKIP)
LOUISE RAMSAY (Green)
PETE WISHART (SNP) See above.
XANDER MCDADE (Independent)
Links
Comments - 368 Responses on “Perth & North Perthshire”
  1. Agreed, Barnaby, I’d trust the bookies over media pundits who invariably have a skewed London perspective. Usually this assumes that Scots are all socialists crying out for independence, but it can work the other way. Scotland is considerably more complex, and as most posters might agree, much harder to predict than other regions, in part because there are so many regional variations within Scotland, itself.

  2. Marcus- and arguably no newspaper (for that is what it calls itself strangely) has a more London-skewed perspective than the Economist.

  3. Indeed – the Economist is also often suffocatingly smug and self-satisfied

  4. I have to say that the economists prediction is rather more likely as it seems to me that the SNP are growing more and more unpopular. A lot of people in this seat will be affected by scottish stamp duty changes and will not as well as many more left wing SNP decisions. This traditionally right wing seat will not remain as one belonging to a leftist party as far as I can see.

  5. A lot more unpopular in this seat, I mean. Not the rest of Scotland.

  6. With an SNP land bill coming through, we can break up all the farms and big estates here. With new farms dependent on the state, and the old Tory lot sent back down south. Disgrace that this SNP seated voted for Union, and that some ‘tartan tories’ now see themselves more Tory than tartan.

    Soon the SNP won’t need seats like this, so we can stop pandering to the rancid petty bourgeoisie people in Perth. Still, Wishart will always be safe here and should get over 40% even if the Tories up their vote by a few thousand.

  7. That’s very socialist isn’t it – send the rich to England. More seriously, this surely is way against the comments policy.

  8. Ah, a really really unpleasant cybernat.

    Good that you describe constituants of your own seat as the rancid petty bourgoise.

    I would likewise describe you as a bit of a bellend.

  9. Surely a spoof that ‘cybernat’ comment above?

  10. No problems for Mr. Wishart here. My prediction-
    SNP- 47%
    Tory- 29%
    Labour- 15%
    Lib Dem- 6%
    UKIP- 3%

  11. Cllr Stewart announced for the Tories. I wasn’t sure what to make of the decision as I don’t know him well, however, SNP friends reckon he’ll run Pete Wishart very close. They suggest that Perth will therefore get a lot of resources chucked its way by the SNP to ensure a hold. I am not so sure, but I do think it will be tighter. Changes to land taxation and the land reform bill can’t be popular with homeowners or farmers, nor can unpleasant cybernat comments.

  12. I voted in this seat in 1992, for SNP as it happens; tactically – part of the heave to dislodge Bill Walker.

    Honestly can’t see the Tories getting anywhere near these days, although there seems to be some ongoing delusion of a renaissance in Scotland. These Tory vs SNP fights are odd ones though. Some unionists will continue to vote SNP as there is no other viable anti Tory vote, and believe me anti Tory is still a prime motivation for many.

  13. If the SNP are polling twice what they did in 2010, the Tories are not going to be anywhere close to overcoming a 4000 majority.

  14. The Tories could have conceivably taken this in 2010 in the right circumstances, but not when the SNP are on the rise. The Tory revival in Scotland isn’t impossible, but it is in the current party leadership and with its current focus.

  15. Before the Tories can contend anywhere much in Scotland, they need to show they’re capable of getting more than 17-18%. I don’t think they’ve even achieved that in an opinion poll since 1992 or thereabouts.

  16. There seems to be a presumption that because the SNP are rising by huge amounts in Scotland as a whole they must be invincible here. This is simply not true. I have extensive experience in this seat and I believe that it is virtually a foregone conclusion that it will be a tight fight in this constituency. If the Tories can increase their nationwide popularity and it filters down to this seat I think they can win. Once the new austerity plans leave the headlines and the Tory campaign gets on them, I think the Tories will get a boost. A tory win is nothing like an impossibility in this seat.

  17. It’s a very reasonable presumption. Until there’s some evidence which is rather more convincing than local knowledge, anecdotal evidence or Tory canvassing returns, the default position has to be that the SNP will win with a modicum of fuss. Why on earth would the Tories win now when they’ve failed to do so for so long?

  18. Of those people who have predicted a tighter result, or who have personal experience of the seat, from where will the new Conservative votes come?

    Is the general feeling that the Conservatives should try for Unionist LD voters or for centre-right SNP voters?

    Which wards of the seat are most worth renewed effort and targetting?

  19. The Tory vote share is essentially unchanged since 1997 and will doubtless fall if UKIP stand. The SNP is riding high in the polls. Get your money on Wishart!

  20. Agreed…. the strongest Conservative wards in the old Perth constituency were moved to Ochil where they are swapped by Lab/ SNP.

    The current Perth & North Perthshire is Tayside North with Perth swapped for its Angus wards.

  21. Marcus Buist
    Well I think it’s obvious that the vote in this seat is going to have relatively little to do with party allegiances. I think it’s a better idea to go on pro-unionist and pro-seperatists with there being quite a lot who will go on the candidates and party policies. On candidates both the SNP and Tories are strong but I believe that Alexander Stewart is able to communicate better with the local people and may have a small advantage. On policies the Tories very clearly have the advantage with the stamp duty reforms and suchlike putting SNP in a bad light. The fact that the stamp duty changes come a month before polling day will not help the SNP. With a 60-40 pro-union vote in this seat it is obvious who has the advantage here.
    You make a good point, though. Many people in this seat will find it a hard decision and will end up voting for the same people. The fact that the Tory vote was hardly changed between 1997 and 2010 does not affect anything in this election. The referendum has shaken up politics so much that the churn in this seat will be huge regardless of who wine. It will be a close fight, though, and I personally think that the Tories have a jolly good chance.
    Oh, I forgot to mention, a few lads I know told me that they will be voting Tory in the next election simply because their the ‘Blue Team’ and St Johnstone also happen to be ‘blue’!! Perhaps Glasgow will vote green on the same basis – or at least the celtic supporters!

  22. Marcus Buist

    Well I think it’s obvious that the vote in this seat is going to have relatively little to do with party allegiances. I think it’s a better idea to go on pro-unionist and pro-seperatists with there being quite a lot who will go on the candidates and party policies. On candidates both the SNP and Tories are strong but I believe that Alexander Stewart is able to communicate better with the local people and may have a small advantage. On policies the Tories very clearly have the advantage with the stamp duty reforms and suchlike putting SNP in a bad light. The fact that the stamp duty changes come a month before polling day will not help the SNP. With a 60-40 pro-union vote in this seat it is obvious who has the advantage here.

    You make a good point, though. Many people in this seat will find it a hard decision and will end up voting for the same people. The fact that the Tory vote was hardly changed between 1997 and 2010 does not affect anything in this election. The referendum has shaken up politics so much that the churn in this seat will be huge regardless of who wine. It will be a close fight, though, and I personally think that the Tories have a jolly good chance.
    Oh, I forgot to mention, a few lads I know told me that they will be voting Tory in the next election simply because their the ‘Blue Team’ and St Johnstone also happen to be ‘blue’!! Perhaps Glasgow will vote green on the same basis – or at least the celtic supporters!

  23. Scott Nicholson selected as Labour candidate.

  24. This seat is one of the reasons why the swing from Lab to SNP is so huge in Dundee West and Cumbernauld.

    With only 16% vote share there are not enough Labour voters here.

    If Ashcroft had polled seats like these the swing from Labour to SNP ould have been less than 10% and allowing some to argue that this was insufficient to win Dundee West and Ochil less certain.

  25. It would have been interesting if Ashcroft had polled one of the following group of seats…..SNP seats taken from the Tories in 1987 and 1997.

    Angus
    Banff & Buchan
    Moray
    Perth & Kinross

    There is a unionist majority here but I personally think that the SNP will hold on with ease here because the No vote is split.

    If the much of the Labour and SNP vote has gone to the SNP then they would hold on by over 10000.

  26. Reginald: “Oh, I forgot to mention, a few lads I know told me that they will be voting Tory in the next election simply because their the ‘Blue Team’ and St Johnstone also happen to be ‘blue’!! Perhaps Glasgow will vote green on the same basis – or at least the celtic supporters!”

    As a St Johnstone fan, I find this unbelievably unlikely – the St Johnstone supporters’ online forum held a referendum vote on their site and the result was 80% Yes.

  27. I’m sure the SNP will hold the ex-Tory seats, but the swing to them will be much lower (if any at all) than in the rest of Scotland. Essentially what has happened in Scotland is a realignment of the left of centre vote – LD and Labour down, SNP up.

    The Tories will vote as before, particularly where they are strong. In these SNP / Tory battles, the SNP had already done a pretty good job of squeezing the Labour and Lib Dem vote to keep the Tories out. So there are simply fewer Labour and Lib Dems left that can move over to the SNP in these areas.

    If the Tories have chances of gaining seats in Scotland it will be in the 2010 LD seats where the SNP is not as strong (Berwick, Roxburgh & Selkirk; West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the SNP have bigger majorities in some of the seats they gain this time (e.g. Dundee West) than in some of the seats they currently hold.

  28. SaintStevie
    They might possibly have been joking!! 🙂
    I can think of some pretty immature reasons for voting a particular way but I think your local football team colour is taking the biscuit!

  29. Reginald

    Fair point! I have witnessed football affiliation influencing voting intention in the Glasgow area, but I can’t see it happening in Perth somehow!

  30. Only found out recently that Alexander Stewart also stood in the SP Perth seat in 2003. Obviously, that seat included more Conservative friendly areas in southern Perthshire, but equally the most SNP friendly areas in the City of Perth, itself.

    Very close result, only 727 votes in it for the SNP. Although 2003 was a bad election year for the SNP, it was hardly positive for the Scottish Conservatives, either. I suppose the point has to be local experience, and that he seems well liked as a Cllr in his ward.

    Ultimately, post-referendum politics is everything. Whether enough “Tartan Tory” soft-nats will have a change of heart shall be important. More important still is where the reasonably large Lib Dem vote will go. I assume that the Labour vote could never go the Conservatives, even if the party leadership might secretly want that. Door knocking does suggest a lot of people want the SNP out, and are prepared to vote Conservative for the first time to do so. I think it might be close, but I think Pete Wishart will more than probably hold on.

  31. A new cross/non Party campaign, Forward Together gets a mention in the Telegraph today. It advises No voters to vote out the SNP ie Tory here and Labour in Ochil etc.

  32. Where has SNP gone here? I’ve seen Stewart and the Tories all over the place and I haven’t seen any SNP major campaigning or Mr Wishart since last September.
    Don’t tell me the SNP are being complacent!

  33. Where is SNP here? I’ve seen Stewart and the Tories all over the place and I haven’t seen any SNP major campaigning or Mr Wishart since last September.
    Don’t tell me the SNP are being complacent!

  34. SNP Majority 10% over Con

  35. Is the Conservative candidate here any relation of Rory Stewart? I believe he is from around this area.

  36. This seat could swing to the Tories quite easily. This isn’t leftist SNP territory, it’s politically on the right, possibly with the exception of some of Perth itself. SNP have made their drift to the left more and more apparent and I can see that hurting their previous MP base in the long run as they move to try and win in the cities against LAB. It really depends on how the electorate view this. I suspect SNP will maybe hold on unless the Tories get a boost from disaffected LD voters and also some LAB tactical votes to keep out the SNP. It will be close though as I don;t think there will be a huge upsurge in SNP support here as in other parts of Scotland

  37. The main threat to the SNP here is the nationwide call for tactical voting to keep SNP out. Out of all the seats in Scotland this perhaps could have greatest effect here. The people here and not very strongly affiliated and there is a lot of churn but one thing that unites the seat is a strong anti-independence feeling that has, if anything, grown since the indyref. This feeling could lead to significant numbers of labour and libdems to con. I have to say that I doubt whether it will be enough to cause the seat to fall, however. Even so I will not be massively surprised if this seat gets a headline on Friday 8th as an SNP failure in the light of sweeping SNP success.

  38. If the main threat is #SNPout then there is no threat. This is a polling site, what do the polls say? TNS has SNP at 52% today and already hold this seat. Stop kidding yourself!

  39. Steve i’m going to guess that you come from somewhere very far from this seat as it seems that you know very little about this seat. It is by no means a seat to follow trends and especially not in this parliament. The tartan tories that voted this seat snp in 2010 are no longer going to. The swing to SNP from other-party nationalists of 2010 is going to have to overcome this. At present I would say that scenario is likely in which case the overall vote shares in this seat are not going to be much different although the underlying churn will be huge.

  40. the amount of ramping from Scottish Tories is hard to credit. They’re all going to have egg on their faces. The idea that the SNP will hugely increase their Scotland-wide vote and yet lose seats to the Tories is patently ridiculous.

  41. Will tactical voting against the SNP really be that much of a factor in this election? I’ve got the sense that it is being hugely played up by the media and Better Together campaigners, probably because they want it to work as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I know that the issue of Independence has been very divisive, but I find it difficult to believe that so many Labour-supporting unionists will end up voting for a Tory candidate, or viceversa. As someone who wants to see the SNP succeeding in this election, I pretty much wish that this whole strategy will backlash against them. Labour cannot claim that there is a clear choice between them and the Conservatives while they try to pursue a anyone-but-SNP strategy in Scotland. Same for the rest of the unionist parties actually. This looks to me as a desperate attempt to protect the Westminster establishment, and other people might interpret it in the same way.

  42. There’s an argument that some Tories or Lib Dems will tactically vote Labour in certain seats to keep the SNP out. Suggesting that there will be substantial net tactical voting in favour of the Tories is just ignoring the data that suggests almost as many Labour and Lib Dem voters would vote SNP to keep the Tories out as would vote Tory to keep the SNP out.

    And the SNP will win this one going away.

  43. Simon, Gren
    Latest Yougov polling suggests that on a scotland-wide basis (bearing in mind that in this seat it will be more so than on a nationwide scale) 1 in 3 libdems and labour will be willing to vote conservative to keep SNP out whilst 30% of lab will vote SNP to keep the Tories out and 15% of libdems. If that were accurately represented in this seat it comes out with the following prediction:
    Con: 19185 39%
    SNP: 22388 46%

    When you take into account that LAB-SNP tactical voting will not be as strong here as nationally and that LibDem-Con and Lab-Con will be stronger here than nationally, this looks like it could be a pretty close seat. That is based purely on facts and figures not party affiliation.

  44. @Reginald

    The potential switchers from LD and Labour is based on who is intending to vote for those two parties *now*. Big chunks of the people who vote for LD and Labour in 2010 have long since switched to the SNP.

  45. @ Reginald “When you take into account that LAB-SNP tactical voting will not be as strong here as nationally and that LibDem-Con and Lab-Con will be stronger here than nationally, this looks like it could be a pretty close seat. That is based purely on facts and figures not party affiliation.”

    Why exactly will Lab/SNP tactical voting be weaker here than elsewhere, and Lab or LibDem to Con be stronger. That seems the epitome of wishful thinking.

    Also, it’s pretty ridiculous using the 2010 results as a starting point, when the SNP support has gone from about 20% to somewhere in the mid-forties across Scotland.

    In the corresponding Scottish Parliament seats from 2011 , the SNP beat the Tories by 35% in North Perthshire, and by 23% in South Perthshire and Kinross-shire. The national shares of the vote in 2011 were broadly similar to the current opinion polls. This seat is not a marginal at the moment. It may become one again if and when the SNP come back down to earth, or in the unlikely event of the Scottish Tories becoming significantly more popular.

  46. Worth noting that the local (regional) paper, The Courier, had anti-SNP tactical voting as its front page lead yesterday. Most of the candidates sound pretty sceptical about it.

    Given Labour’s difficulties in Scotland, it seems a bit odd that a supporter would be spending his time campaigning for the Tories in Perth, but there you go.

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/perth-kinross/pro-union-group-urges-tactical-voting-against-perthshire-snp-candidate-1.863191

  47. Simon
    The reason that the LAB-SNP tactical voting will be less here than elsewhere is because labour voters voting SNP tactically were already doing so at the last election – there is a lot less such voters to draw on from the 2010 labour voters. The SNP surge across Scotland has come at the expense of labour and the con rump vote has hardly been scratched so to use the SNP surge that has occurred mainly in the central belt as a reason that SNP will be stronger here is ludicrous. I do not dispute that the SNP will be stronger from ex-lab voters but so will the conservatives be stronger from ex-other party unionists.

  48. This seat could register the lowest swing to the SNP of any in Scotland. I can see the Tory vote holding up pretty well. The same is probably true for Angus and Moray.

  49. I can be in this constituency in 20 minutes Reginald. Regardless, you are asking polling enthusiasts to believe that the SNP, which has doubled at least its polling performance since 2010, will somehow go backwards in this seat while all other parties unite behind the Tories and UKIP fails to take any Tory votes. This in a seat the SNP has now held for 20 years!

  50. The Tory vote may well hold up OK (will drop below 30 though) but this will be an easy SNP hold. Gentle rampers for the great Scottish Tory Revival will be much disappointed, Andy JS.

    As noted previously I voted in this seat in 1992.

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