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Na h-Eileanan an Iar

2010 Results:
Conservative: 647 (4.4%)
Labour: 4838 (32.87%)
Liberal Democrat: 1097 (7.45%)
SNP: 6723 (45.68%)
Independent: 1412 (9.59%)
Majority: 1885 (12.81%)

2005 Results:
SNP: 6213 (44.9%)
Labour: 4772 (34.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 1096 (7.9%)
Operation Christian Voice: 1048 (7.6%)
Conservative: 610 (4.4%)
SSP: 97 (0.7%)
Majority: 1441 (10.4%)

Boundary changes prior to 2005 election: Name of seat changed from Western Isles.

2001 Result
Conservative: 1250 (9.5%)
Labour: 5924 (45%)
Liberal Democrat: 849 (6.5%)
SNP: 4850 (36.9%)
Other: 286 (2.2%)
Majority: 1074 (8.2%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 1071 (6.6%)
Labour: 8955 (55.6%)
Liberal Democrat: 495 (3.1%)
SNP: 5379 (33.4%)
Referendum: 206 (1.3%)
Majority: 3576 (22.2%)

No Boundary Changes:

Profile: Na h-Eileanan an lar was renamed from the Western Isles in 2005. The seat 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.

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 2005 it was one of only two seats where the Conservatives lost their deposit, finishing behind the Christian Vote party (see also Blaneau Gwent). In the 1975 referendum on continued membership of the European Union, the Western Isles and Shetland Isles were the only areas to vote no.

portraitCurrent MP: Angus MacNeil(SNP) born 1970. Educated at Nicholson Institute, Stornoway and Strathclyde University. Worked for the BBC and subsequently as a primary school teacher on Barra. A native speaker of Gaelic. Contested Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber in 2001. First elected for Na h-Eileanan an lar in 2005. MacNeil brough the original complaint that lead to the police investigation into “loans for peerages” (more information at They work for you)

2010 election candidates:
portraitSheena Norquay (Conservative)
portraitDonald John Macsween (Labour) Comhairle nan Eilean Siar councillor
portraitJean Davis (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Maghull Grammar School. Medical doctor. Occupational health advisor.
portrait Angus MacNeil(SNP) born 1970. Educated at Nicholson Institute, Stornoway and Strathclyde University. Worked for the BBC and subsequently as a primary school teacher on Barra. A native speaker of Gaelic. Contested Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber in 2001. First elected for Na h-Eileanan an lar in 2005. MacNeil brough the original complaint that lead to the police investigation into “loans for peerages” (more information at They work for you)
portraitMurdo Murray (Independent)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 26502
Male: 49.4%
Female: 50.6%
Under 18: 22.3%
Over 60: 26%
Born outside UK: 2%
White: 99.4%
Asian: 0.3%
Mixed: 0.2%
Christian: 83.3%
Graduates 16-74: 18.5%
No Qualifications 16-74: 37.6%
Owner-Occupied: 71.9%
Social Housing: 17.3% (Council: 16.4%, Housing Ass.: 0.9%)
Privately Rented: 6.8%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 9.8%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide