Stirling

2015 Result:
Conservative: 12051 (23.1%)
Labour: 13303 (25.5%)
Lib Dem: 1392 (2.7%)
SNP: 23783 (45.6%)
Green: 1606 (3.1%)
MAJORITY: 10480 (20.1%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Mid Scotland and Fife. The whole of the Stirling council area.

Main population centres: Stirling, Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, Bannockburn, Doune, Callander, Aberfoyle, Drymen, Killearn, Inverardran.

Profile: Consists of the small city of Stirling and the neighbouring towns and villages, the fertile agricultural land around it and a wide expanse of desolate mountains stretching to the north west. This is a affluent area and a popular commuter area, it also contains the University of Stirling. Tourism is important for the local economy given the important historical associations of the area, the National Wallace monument is in the seat and the Battle of Bannockburn occured in the large village of the same name just to the south of Stirling itself. The seat also contains Dunblane, the site of an infamous school massacre in 1996.

Politics: This was once a Conservative seat, held narrowly in 1987 and 1992 by Michael Forsyth, later to become Scottish Secretary. He was one of the Conservative cabinet ministers who lost their seats on election night 1997 and the Conservatives are even further behind now than their were then. In the similar Scottish Parliament constituency the SNP have comprehensively overtaken the Conservatives as the challenger to Labour and now hold the seat, in 2015 they took the Westminster seat too.


Current MP
STEVEN PATERSON (SNP) Born Stirling. Educated at Stirling High School and Stirling University. Stirling councillor since 2007. First elected as MP for Stirling in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 11254 (24%)
Lab: 19558 (42%)
LDem: 6797 (15%)
SNP: 8091 (17%)
Oth: 1141 (2%)
MAJ: 8304 (18%)
2005
Con: 10962 (25%)
Lab: 15729 (36%)
LDem: 9052 (21%)
SNP: 5503 (13%)
Oth: 2445 (6%)
MAJ: 4767 (11%)
2001*
Con: 8901 (25%)
Lab: 15175 (42%)
LDem: 4208 (12%)
SNP: 5877 (16%)
Oth: 1769 (5%)
MAJ: 6274 (17%)
1997
Con: 13971 (33%)
Lab: 20382 (48%)
LDem: 2675 (6%)
SNP: 5752 (13%)
MAJ: 6411 (15%)

2015 Candidates
STEPHEN KERR (Conservative)
JOHANNA BOYD (Labour) Born Falkirk. Barrister. Stirling councillor since 2012, Leader of Stirling council since 2013.
ELISABETH WILSON (Liberal Democrat)
MARK RUSKELL (Green) Born 1972. Stirling councillor since 2012. Contested Stirling 2001, 2010. MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife 2003-2007.
STEVEN PATERSON (SNP) Born Stirling. Educated at Stirling High School and Stirling University. Stirling councillor since 2007.
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Comments - 108 Responses on “Stirling”
  1. There’s no way back for Tories unless Labour go into meltdown.

  2. I know this area well as I have family there. Dunblane and Bridge of Allan are very nice indeed- so is Callander. I dare say that if this seat was English, the Conservatives would win it regularly- deprivation in parts of Stirling notwithstanding.

  3. Sounds a bit like East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire.

  4. i think they should put up a statue of andy murray in dunblane

  5. Forecast for 2015

    Lab 38
    SNP 29
    Con 22
    LD 6
    Others 5

  6. Declaration of Stirlingshire East and Clackmannan in October 1974- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWrIFtBCnMw&t=0m44s

  7. With the MP retiring I don’t see why this should be any more Labour than any of the other parties.

    It doesn’t seem to be urban or working class or anything particularly Labour.. Indeed the Labour vote seems to have been rather floppy since 1997… It doesn’t even look like much of incumbency factor either…

  8. I think Michael Forsyth had a personal vote. He did very well not to lose here, in both 1987 and 1992 I reckon. Even when he lost in 1997 the swing wasn’t huge against him- 7.8%.

  9. Stirling looks for the most part like a Labour town, except for the Viewforth area (near the castle I think). Labour also polls well in the university campus, which I think wasn’t always part of the constituency but now is, and Bannockburn. If the anti-Labour vote weren’t rather split between the Tories and the SNP there would be a closer fight but I think it’s unlikely that in a Westminster election (assuming that these continue in Scotland) Labour will be in much trouble at all here.

  10. Forsyth must have been the most consistently right-wing Tory MP in Scotland in modern times. There have been many right wing Scottish Tory MPs in a hanging & flogging sense, but almost all have tended to be economic wets. Forsyth was and is both a social conservative and an economic Thatcherite.

    His good constituency results are a bit of a puzzle, because he was undoubtedly an extremely unpopular figure in Scotland, even within his own party.

    Dunblane is in this constituency and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Tories got a bit of credit for the ban on handguns in 1997. Rather surprisingly a lot of people who used to vote for Forsyth seem to have voted Lib Dem in 2010. Surely their vote will collapse in 2010, presumably to the SNP or Labour.

  11. I may be wrong and I’m sure Peter Dalek can correct me, but I think Dunblane was moved out of this constituency (into Ochil) in 1997 and then moved back in for the 2005 election

  12. I hadn’t realised that. It makes the relatively good Tory performance in 1997 seem even better. I’m assuming Dunblane was much better for the Tories than Stirling proper.

  13. Much like Dennis Canavan on the far-left of Scottish politics, I remember that Forsyth was always seen as a good constituency MP and would have had a strong personal vote – which would help explain why the Tories didn’t bomb as badly as they might have in 1997 and certainly how Forsyth held on in 1992

    Compared to many on the radical right, Forsyth doesn’t come over as too dislikeable

  14. Indeed and I think areas were added to the South East of Stirling which were much better for Labour although the notional result for 1992 showed only a much reduced Tory majority (and it wasn’t much to start with) rather than a Labour one so the changes cannot have been all that drastic. I may be wrong about Dunblane on reflection but certainly some electors in that area were lost to Ochil

  15. The Tories dropped 7.7% here in 2001, perhaps a sign that Forsyth did indeed have a personal vote of some sort?

  16. I remember reading about this constituency in the Almanac of British Politics & I’m about 99% sure that Dunblane has always been in it. It may be Bridge of Allan that you were thinking about Pete – I think its politics are similar to Dunblane’s but that it’s a tad smaller.

  17. Dunblane and Bridge of Allan are so close to each other, and to Stirling itself that I’d be surprised if they were ever taken out of this constituency. The Ochil constituency was mainly Clackmannshire, and Kinross-shire which lie a little to the east of Stirling.

    Even with Anne McGuire stepping down, this will surely be a secure Labour hold. I can’t expect the SNP will do as well here in Westminster, as they did in the similar seat at Holyrood. Different voting patterns in those two elections are the norm in Scotland, with Labour and the Conservatives suffering at Holyrood.

    In many ways, this should be a Conservative seat, as indeed it was between 1983-1997. It is significantly more affluent than neighboring constituencies, even if Stirling and Bannockburn are quite deprived. The rural parts, lifted from western Perthshire continue to be prosperous, and in large parts Conservative leaning. Perhaps the large public sector, and Glasgow commuter vote explains why this seat is so solidly Labour. This in combination with the Conservatives general unpopularity in parts of Scotland, and their failure to put up good campaigns here in past elections.

  18. Actually, seems like Bridge of Allan was taken out of this seat for 1997, and 2001. As the Conservatives still do well there, losing these areas no doubt hurt Forsyth in 1997. Though, of course, he was always going to be vulnerable in the contexts of the wider rejection of the Conservatives across the UK, and the repeated Labour challenges for the seat.

  19. Callander and other very affluent parts of the old Kinross & West Perthshire were added to this constuency in 1983 that also gained the more Conservative parts of West Stirlingshire and the Labour voting Falkirk and Grangemouth were removed.

  20. Stirling was basically a new constituency in 1983; it had hardly anything to do with the former Stirling Falkirk & Grangemouth except the county town itself. That seat and its predecessor Stirling & Falkirk were safe Labour for decades.

  21. Forsyth’s hold here in 1992 was one of the Tories’ main highlights of the night in Scotland, along with others like Ayr, Edinburgh Pentlands and Galloway and Upper Nithsdale. The BBC and ITN both had cameras at the count here, owing to Forsyth’s prominence in the Conservative Party North of the border, as well as his media profile due to his early ministerial career.

  22. Labour selection update…only one application: council leader Johanna Boyd.

    As long as the AWS was announced and she declared an interest it was a forgone conclusion but they usally find some no hopers to make up the numbers

  23. Was Michael Forsyth an extraordinary constituency MP in hanging on to this in 1992, because when he lost in 1997 he didn’t lose all that badly if that can be said, in the climate of that year’s terrible results overall for his party. Afterwards, the Tories plummeted even further behind here and have not recovered.

  24. The Labour vote in this constituency is concerntrated in a tiny geographical area.

    When you consider things, most of the historical ‘Kinross & West Perthshire’ constituency represented by Alec Douglas-Home is in either Stirling or Ochil & South Perthshire.

    If you were to put Clackmannanshire and the urban Stirling area (including Bannockburn) into one constituency the Conservatives would poll around 3000 votes leaving around 18546 votes (from the 11204 votes in Stirling and 10342 in Ochil & South Perthshire) in the constituency that resembled ‘Kinross & West Perthshire’.

    The Conservatives could have notionally have won such a constituency even in 1997 – though its fair to assume that much of the Labour vote may have voted SNP if incapsulated in such boundaries.

  25. The interesting thing in Scotland in 2015 will be how many of Labour’s currently safe seats will become quite marginal. I can see Labour dropping back significantly in Scotland next year, possibly to the surprise of many people. In this seat, I think Labour are too far ahead to be in any trouble, but the result could see both the Conservatives and SNP within about 10% of them, making it a possible 3 way marginal at the next election after 2015 (I’m not saying 2020, because I seriously doubt it’ll take that long).

  26. I don’t think the Tories have a long-term future here. Labour however will probably hope otherwise – having the Tories in 2nd place is less dangerous than having the SNP there. I suspect that the SNP will gain 2nd place from the Cons here – they’ve already won the Holyrood equivalent seat – but that Labour will survive on a split vote. Maybe not by much though if recent polling evidence (though some of it is rather scant) is to be believed.

  27. Prediction after todays Scottish poll:

    Labour – 31%
    SNP – 28%
    Conservative – 27%
    Libdem – 12%
    OTH – 2%

  28. the SNP should win this by a mile if that poll is even nearly correct, but its highly probable that labour will improve by the time the election comes about.

  29. The retirement of Anne McGuire will not help Labour here as this constituency seems to favour the incumbant.

    Michael Forsyth held on in 1987, 1992 and only lost this ultra marginal seat by 6000 in 1997 on a swing of only around 7%.

    Since 1997 Anne McGuire has resisted the national trend to and now has a majority greater than her margin of victory in 1997.

    If Anne McGuire was standing again I would be certain she could just hold on as the SNP lead narrows in the lead up to May, but I am not certain about new candidate.

    For years Anne McGuire political career was set back by being the lady who was beaten by Bob Gillespie for the Labour nomination for the 1988 Glasgow Govan By Election. This was unhelpful in her bit to stand in the Glasgow Central By Election in 1989 or in other seats in 1992.

  30. It is of note that, in the equivalent Holyrood seat, the SNP managed two consecutive 9% swings in 2007 and 2011 (one to beat the incumbent and one to increase its majority).

    There are three key factors at play this year:
    1. Popular incumbent Anne McGuire is standing down.
    2. With the SNP holding the equivalent Holyrood seat, the Tories are less likely to be viewed as a threat, hence less tactical voting (although it can be said that has been the case since 2007 when the SNP also beat the Tories in the council)
    3. That 15% Lib Dem vote, which seems to have been quite evenly spread.

    The 40-60 win for No in the council seat would suggest this was one of the stronger areas for the unionists. However, the pattern is the same for a number of seats where the Tories have a strongish presence, and doesn’t tell us much about the Labour vote.

  31. Prior to 1997 the Tories were the dominant political party in the seats stretching along Stirling, Perth & Kinross-shire and along south/west Aberdeenshire, they also did well around Ayr, Dumfries & Galloway, Eastwood and Edinburgh Pentlands.

    So why has their been such a political divergence at Westminister and Holyrood along the former northern Scottish Tory seats compared to the southern ones? Ayr and Stirling are very alike (both have similar demographics), yet historically Ayr has been slightly more Tory/Labour-voting and Stirling slightly more SNP-voting, yet comparing the difference in % vote since general elections held from 1997, there’s been a HUGE increased difference in these areas, with Labour/SNP gaining more ground in Stirling and the Tories holding on in Ayr.

    Example- 1997 differences were no greater than 1.5% for each political party, 1999 (Scottish election) there was a difference of over 12% for Tories (who did better in Ayr) and 7% for SNP (who did better in Stirling): these differences continued in Westminister with a difference of over 12% in Tory vote and 4% in SNP vote. In the latest general election (Scotland) the difference was at nearly 24% for the Tories and 13% for the SNP.

    Also looking at the 2007 notional results for the Scottish general election using the 2011 boundaries the Tories would have won all it’s former southern seat equivalents whilst the SNP would have won all the former northern Tory seats. Is it simple geography, tactical voting or something else? In the case of Ayr v Stirling the differences began to arise around 1997-1999, and have increased in almost every election since. Another point to note is that from a constitutional perspective the former northern seats have remained relatively conservative, voting against independence by around 60%+.

  32. In terms of Ayr v Stirling, quick comeback / personal vote.

    Con quickly got back into Ayr after the 1997 wipeout – they narrowly lost the 1999 Holyrood election, but then won a by-election soon afterwards (the Labour guy resigned). John Scott has held the seat ever since, even in 2011 when the SNP won far more votes on the list vote in that seat.

    I think the biggest factor with the north v south thing is that the SNP have generally been credited as being quite supportive of agriculture, at least compared to the Lab / LD administrations. This then kind of undercuts the ability of Con to come back in those seats, even if the folk there don’t actually support independence.

    In addition to that, the SNP having a firm “there must be a referendum first” policy creates something of a firewall between voting SNP in elections and independence. There was a sense in the first Scottish debate that Sturgeon pushed the second referendum line too hard; she has rowed back since then, talking about there needing to be a ‘change of circumstances’ first (e.g. Brexit).

  33. @ James – I think the Tories support in Ayr can be placed down to more than just John Scott’s PV (although this may partially explain why they held on in 2011), the Tories have outperformed Labour and the SNP on a local level in Ayr, Prestwick and Troon in all local elcetions in the area held since 1997 (the 2003 election is a good example as it had a high turnout in the area), this has also been replicated at EU elections, with the area of Ayr voting majority Tory in all EU elections held within the Scotland region, by contrast in Stirling at local elections the results have generally placed the Tories underneath the SNP and Labour. Stirling voted majority Conservative in two of four EU elections held since 1999.

    Your point on argiculture – I checked the census, comparing the Stirling, Perthshire and West Aberdeenshire seats with the Tories seats in the Borders (Galloway & West Dumfries and Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire). Employment for Agriculture, forestry and fishing for those aged 16-74 was 9.1% in Galloway & West Dumfries and 7.2% for Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire compared to 4.7% in Perthshire North, 4% in Aberdeenshire West and 3% in Stirling. (0.5% in Ayr). This indicates that the borders seats are far more agriculturally dependant compared to the northern seats.

  34. @ James – also to add, the Tories did better in their former seats at Westminister before they were abolished in 2005 v. in the northern seats. The areas which made up the former northern seats are all represented by Lib Dem/Labour MP’s at Westminister and SNP MSP’s at Holyrood, the areas which overlap their former southern seats are all represented by Labour, the Lib Dems and 1 Tory MP at Westminister, and Conservative, Labour and SNP MSP’s at Holyrood.

  35. Labour win easily, SNP second.

  36. SNP Gain

  37. This is a bit random, but RE the 1987 result here, there are differing figures for the number of votes the Tories received- some sources say Michael Forsyth won with 17, 591 and a majority of 948, while others give 17, 191 and a majority of only 548. I personally reckon the latter figures are the real ones, and this is further validated in my mind by the fact that on the BBC’s election coverage in 1992 James Cox remarked Michael Forsyth held his seat with a slightly increased majority.

  38. 948 in 1987 was reported in The Glasgow Herald.

    548 was quoted in The Times as the previous 1987 majority in their 1992 results.

    I think the most extreme example of a misquoted result was Nottingham East in either 2005 or 2010 which inferred that the Lib Dems and the Tories had both come within a whisker of defeating Labour.

  39. How many voters is this seat going to lose as a result of Individual Electoral Registration? Will this reduction take place before or after the Holyrood elections next May?

  40. I can’t believe the Tories were within 1.8% of beating Labour to second in Clackmannanshire and Dunblane! The Tories are actually doing pretty well in Scotland for one (at least compared to their usual poor performances).

  41. Solid SNP hold but Tories 2nd in Stirling

  42. Guess for 2017:
    Trossachs and Teith 2 Con 1 SNP
    Forth and Endrick 2 Con 1 SNP
    Dunblane and Bridge of Allan 2 Con 1 SNP 1 Lab – final seat could go Green or Labour
    Stirling North 1 SNP 1 Lab 1 Grn 1 Con
    Stirling West 1 SNP 1 Con 1 Lab
    Stirling East 1 SNP 1 Lab 1 Con
    Bannockburn 2 SNP 1 Lab

    STIRLING TOTAL: 9 Con (+5) 8 SNP (-1) 5 Lab (-3) 1 Grn (=)
    Result: Con+Lab

  43. I’m not sure, possibly not but it’s a difficult call for me atm.

  44. Why did the boundary commission propose splitting Stirling when it is so close to the Scottish quota?

    Why not combine Clackmannanshire with the parts of Falkirk Council that were going to share their MP with “Stirling South”?

  45. This would seem more logical and recreate a constituency quite similar to Clackmannanshire & East Stirlingshire (abolished in 1983)?

  46. The comments jump all over the place and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of what exactly is being discussed. Here we have a discussion which jumps backwards and forwards across different constituencies and also jumps between parliamentary and local Council elections. So when Conservative Estimate says s/he thinks that the Conservatives will top the poll in East Dunbartonshire is that a reference to the constituency or the Council area? (Sorry if you have already made it clear if you are male or female.) Probably it’s a reference to the Council elections in May 2017.
    In 2012 the vote percentages were: Lab: 28.3%; SNP: 25.4%; Conservatives: 15.4% and Lib Dems: 14.9%. Could it be possible for the Tories to get the highest percentage next year? Labour’s percentage is likely to go down and some of that fall might benefit the Tories. The Tories might also benefit from a further decline in the Lib Dem vote. But to overtake the SNP? That’s asking a lot.
    Perhaps even more important will be the outcome in terms of seats. With the single transferable vote in three-member wards (excluding one four-member ward) it is quite possible (see 2012) for the party with the most seats to win fewer votes than another party. In three member wards it is difficult for a party to win two of the seats unless they are very dominant. It is unlikely that the Tories will be that dominant in any of the wards. In that case the best they can hope for is a single member in each ward. But there are some wards where the Tories are unlikely to win any seats so perhaps the best the Tories can look forward to is 6 seats and perhaps only 5.
    Bearsden North in 2007 elected a Tory, a Lib Dem and an SNP Councillor. Last time the Tory lost her seat and was replaced by an Independent. If he stands again in 2017 he will likely top the poll again. That will leave Labour, the Tories, the SNP and the Lib Dems fighting to win the remaining two seats. The problem for the Tories is that transfers from any excluded candidate from the other parties are not likely to be of any great benefit to the Tory. At the moment, the sitting Lib Dem Councillor for Bearsden North has announced that he is standing down. No literature has been delivered from the Lib Dems in the ward since May 2016 except for a scam leaflet asking people to sign a petition against the proposed boundary changes. The words ‘Liberal Democrat’ were very small on this leaflet and very few people will have noticed who had produced it. No replacement candidate has yet been announced. The Lib Dems are clearly struggling in this ward.

  47. “Doesn’t it make more sense to combine this with South Perthshire or Milngavie?”

    The allocated review area is Clackmannanshire, Fife and Stirling, so unfortunately for the Tories the rural bits of Stirling aren’t going to be gerrymandered up with southern Perthshire any time soon. It’s not a terrible suggestion but for the time being it’s just not workable and should not be forced.

    “Why not combine Clackmannanshire with the parts of Falkirk Council that were going to share their MP with “Stirling South”?”

    I completely agree: the issue is that there would be no direct road connection joining up the Clackmannanshire and Falkirk bits of the seat without leaving the constituency.

  48. Argyll and Bute ain’t gonna happen. I won’t totally rule out East Dunbartonshire though.

  49. I think Moray could go Independent actually.

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