Airdrie & Shotts

2015 Result:
Conservative: 3389 (7.7%)
Labour: 15108 (34.1%)
Lib Dem: 678 (1.5%)
SNP: 23887 (53.9%)
UKIP: 1088 (2.5%)
Independent: 136 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 8779 (19.8%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Central Scotland. Part of North Lanarkshire council area.

Main population centres: Airdrie, Shotts, Newmains, Chapelhall, Caldercruix.

Profile: A solid working class constituency to the East of Glasgow. Both Airdrie and Shotts are have suffered the effects of the decline of traditional industries such as steel. The M8 runs through the centre of the constituency, dividing Airdrie to the North from Shotts and the surrounding villages to the South. The constituency includes HMP Shotts, one of the largest prisons in Scotland.

Politics: Previously a safe Labour seat, won by the SNP in 2015. Airdrie is mainly protestant while its neighbour, Coatbridge, is a largely Catholic and religion remains a factor in local politics here - the 1994 by-election in Monklands East (the predecessor seat) following the death of Labour leader John Smith was dominated by accusations of sectarian bias by the (overwhelmingly Catholic) Labour group on Monklands council..

Current MP
NEIL GRAY (SNP) Born Orkney. Educated at Stirling University. Former Parliamentary office manager. First elected as MP for Airdrie & Shotts in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 3133 (9%)
Lab: 20849 (58%)
LDem: 2898 (8%)
SNP: 8441 (24%)
Oth: 528 (1%)
MAJ: 12408 (35%)
Con: 3271 (10%)
Lab: 19568 (59%)
LDem: 3792 (11%)
SNP: 5484 (17%)
Oth: 1043 (3%)
MAJ: 14084 (42%)
Con: 1960 (6%)
Lab: 18478 (58%)
LDem: 2376 (7%)
SNP: 6138 (19%)
Oth: 2784 (9%)
MAJ: 12340 (39%)
Con: 3660 (9%)
Lab: 25460 (62%)
LDem: 1719 (4%)
SNP: 10048 (24%)
Oth: 294 (1%)
MAJ: 15412 (37%)

2015 Candidates
ERIC HOLFORD (Conservative)
PAMELA NASH (Labour) Born 1984, Airdrie. Educated at St Margarets High School and Glasgow University. Parliamentary assistant to John Reid. MP for Airdrie and Shotts 2010 to 2015. Was the youngest Member of Parliament elected at the 2010 general election.
JOHN LOVE (Liberal Democrat) Contested Airdrie and Shotts 2010.
NEIL GRAY (SNP) Born Orkney. Educated at Stirling University. Parliamentary office manager.
Comments - 61 Responses on “Airdrie & Shotts”
  1. I believe I heard Pamel Nash on the Today program this morning re welfare and the Philpott case.

    IMO she came accross very badly – rather whiny and a welfare ‘cultist’.

    Making allowance for my own bias (Anne Begg was heard later during the day and seemed much more sensible) it does seem to me that there is a certain Scottish socalist attitude which is especially grating to ‘Middle England’.

    In a similar but opposite way to how Thatcher’s individualistic free market stridency was especially grating to ‘Middle Scotland’.

  2. Pamela Nash is reselected by Labour but with a strong opposition (for a incumbent’s reselection). 55 members voted for reselection, 37 against, 9 abstaining

  3. I’m not surprised. She has been widely regarded as one of the least effective of Labour’s 2010 intake.

  4. The only question in this seat is how big will the majority be?!

  5. @PUMP


    On another note (as this seems as good a place as any to ask), are there any ideas as to who the next Baby of the House would be? I know not all selections have happened yet and 2015 could see an unlikely candidate elected, but there must be something of an inkling based on what is already known.

  6. Ollie Middleton will be 20 at the time of the election, but Labour gain Bath might be a bit optimistic.

  7. 2015

    Cash (Con) 16,146
    *Nash (Lab) 16,090
    Wilson (SNP) 6,661
    Smyth (UKIP) 732
    McGuinness (LD) 155

    Maj 56
    Con GAIN

  8. this one isn’t a real prediction.

  9. No shit.

  10. Is that a recurring dream that you have JJB?

  11. I wonder how many lost deposits the LD’s are going to have on election night! I think they can wave bye bye to their deposit in this seat!

  12. Well, if they end up with a national vote share of 5-6%, they better hope they’ll be losing deposits otherwise they’ll have no chance in the seats they hope to win!

  13. “I wonder how many lost deposits the LD’s are going to have on election night! I think they can wave bye bye to their deposit in this seat!”

    The LDs lost their deposit here in 1997 when they polled 17% nationally.

  14. Ashcroft poll (4/2/15):

    SNP 47
    Lab 39
    Con 7
    OTH 6
    LD 1

  15. This constituency hasn’t had a comment since February 10th. (Until now.) Is that a record or is there a constituency whose latest comment goes back even further? Which constituencies are in the top ten for oldest latest comments?

  16. Motherwell and Wishaw: Feb 4th. I suspect that there’s a pattern here.



  18. Labour win, there is too much ground to gain for the SNP….Ed Milliband is seen in Scotland as the man of the ‘working families’ and not the ‘Tory Lite’ as described by Nicola Strurgeon

  19. The polls have pointed to an SNP win. But I think it will be held comfortably by Labour, still.

  20. A new Party – the Unionist Party has been registered in Scotland.

  21. North Lanarkshire Cllr David Fagan has been charged with several offences after indecent images of children were found in his possession.

    Labour have now suspended the Airdrie South ward Cllr.

    Although as he was arrested on 7th September, Labour are being accused of deliberately failing to suspended him until after the by-election in Coatbridge on 22nd Sep, which they won by fewer than 200 votes from the SNP.

  22. See my comment in the Holderness thread

  23. In addition, many thanks for updating us on these obscure council snippets.

    You should consider a blog collecting the info about councillor misdemeanors, a kind of sane version of “liars buggers and thieves” which the BNP ran some years ago. You could keep track of defections there too.

  24. Yes, I did think about it – although the rate of defections has almost doubled this year so I’m way behind profiling them all.

    Plus LO Jnr was born last week.

  25. Congratulations on the arrival

  26. Labour Cllr David Fagan has been suspended from the Party here. The Airdrie South Cllr has been charged with several child pornography offences.

    Thanks – Paul D!

  27. Fortissat by-election, SNP relegated to third behind Labour and the Unionist Party in an area which voted in favour of Scottish independence back in 2014.

    Labour: 38.5% (+2.0)
    Unionist: 23.3% (+12.2)
    SNP: 20.6% (-8.4)
    Con: 11.5% (-1.8)
    Ind: 5.0% (-5.1)
    Grn: 0.7% (+0.7)
    UKIP: 0.5% (+0.5)

  28. For those of you wondering who the Unionist Party are:

    Sound like a bunch of sectarian extremists, a Scottish DUP. A worrying development.

  29. In the west of Scotland I think that they may enjoy some success (in proportion of course) – unfortunately sectarianism just will not go away…

    Being in favour of Brexit won’t help their cause I wouldn’t think… though I would be interested to know the make up of the Brexit voters in Scotland, in terms of their party allegiance.

    UKIP voters could barely fill a minicab, after all.

  30. The last Yougov poll had Scottish Leave voters (n = 335) splitting in the following way:

    43% Conservative

    31% SNP

    18% Labour

    4% Lib Dem

    2% Green

    1% UKIP

    1% Other

    So “unionist right-wing voters” are less than 1/2 of Leave voters.

  31. (Where “right-wing voters” are those who intend to vote for the Tories or UKIP.)

  32. I did post on here a week or two ago that there was an obvious gap in the market in Scotland for a party to represent its many social/religious conservatives. Currently they are faced with a Tory party led by a young lesbian with very liberal views, a Labour party which also had a gay leader and is led by a far left republican (in the Irish as well as British sense of the word), and the SNP (which given most people in this category are unionists, most wouldn’t touch with a bargepole).

    I’d guess this new party might have the potential to damage the Tories somewhat in Scotland, unless it is just confined to the central belt where its targets will be traditional and perhaps sectarian Labour voters.

  33. I agree, the stereotypical image of a Scot (rightly or not) is someone who is fairly socially conservative, with a broad mix of economic view.

    Davidson has done v well to create as big a tent (for want of a better word) as she has done, clearly focusing on the No voters and soft Yes/undecideds. In addition she’s humourous and offers a good foil to an authoritarian in Sturgeon.

    There might have been plenty of tactical voting in Scotland, with unionists opting for whoever was perceived to have the best chance vs the SNP, I don’t recall many constituencies where the 3rd placed candidate gained much more than a respectable vote share.

    In England it is just a complete mess. Some of the results in places like South Yorkshire were staggering, seats where the Tories hadn’t come close before, getting within a couple of thousand – considering those were mining areas… of course there’s Brexit and an overwhelmingly EU enthusiast PLP…

  34. “… seats where the Tories hadn’t come close before, getting within a couple of thousand – considering those were mining areas…”

    The key word being “were”. Mining stopped ages ago and the ex-miners that remain are slowly succumbing to the coal dust in their lungs.

  35. “There might have been plenty of tactical voting in Scotland, with unionists opting for whoever was perceived to have the best chance vs the SNP, I don’t recall many constituencies where the 3rd placed candidate gained much more than a respectable vote share”

    Are we looking at the same results? Scotland was a complete mire with the Tory surge nationwide turning about half the seats into three way marginals. Lanark being the best example were less than 350 votes separated 1st place SNP and third place Labour.

    As for unionist tactical voting that’s the excuse the SNP rolled with despite it plainly not being the case. With the exception of Berwickshire and Aberdeenshire West the complete failure of unionist voting is undoubtedly what allowed the SNP to hold on. Look at all those seats that Lab just missed out on, in pretty much all of them the Tory vote rose 10 points or more despite them being nowhere initially, a fact that allowed the SNP to win many seats on little more than 35% of the vote.

  36. I agree with Rivers10. After a quick scan, it seems that there no fewer than 22 Scottish seats in which a 10.2% swing to the third-placed party would result in them gaining the seat!

  37. And apart from Dundee West, I don’t know of a single seat in the country where more effective unionist tactical voting couldn’t have easily resulted in the SNP losing.

  38. Polltroll – it’s neither ‘worrying’ nor a ‘development.’

    Amusingly some only ever refer to Protestants/Unionists as ‘sectarian’, but never Catholics/Irish Nationalists.

    Particularly amusing here as of course – as the profile above mentions – in this area, it was the Catholic mafia of Labour Cllrs who ran Monklands Council who were perceived to discriminate in spending against the Protestant community of Airdrie.

    Plus nothing new, just look at the Scottish Unionist Party (the Loyalists who split from the Tories) who saved their deposit here in 2001.

    It’s clearly still a grievance here – although the SNP are now also hate figures rather than courting that Protestant vote.

    After Cons, Ind, Green and UKIP were eliminated, it was quite close here in the Fortissat ward by-election:

    Labour 1,546
    Unionist 1,088
    SNP 804

    The Unionist candidate certainly seems well known. Their site says he’s been on Shotts Community Council since 1992 and there were large boards with his face on and the Union flag, which you only tend to see in Northern Ireland elections these days.

  39. Bill P – well Perth is the obvious example given that Wishart only hung on by a handful of votes.

    Here it’d be almost impossible to get Loyalists to vote Labour, given the particular history of that Party here.

  40. Airdrie & Shotts is hardly a Protestant stronghold. In fact, it has more than twice as many Roman Catholics as the national average according to the 2011 census. The area even voted yes to independence back in 2014.

    If the Unionist Party are performing so well here then they should be romping Protestant working class parts of Ayrshire and Lanarkshire (e.g. Cumnock & New Cumnock, Garnock Valley, Kilwinning and Hamilton).

  41. Places like Garnock Valley and Cumnock & Doon Valley in Ayrshire should still be fairly fertile for the centre-right as those areas rejected independence and returned fairly strong Leave votes at the EU referendum.

  42. NTY UK – “it has more than twice as many Roman Catholics as the national average” – that’s a pretty meaningless statistic, given that RCs only make up 9% of the UK.

    In fact it’s presumably in areas where RCs are higher than average that there’s a reaction to that and a Protestant grievance vote. Although I take your point, that they’re hardly going to win Bootle.

    I’m also not sure I’d label this particular guy as right wing, as he’s an ex union shop steward. There are of course Loyalists on the left too although I realise that’s hard for some to realise.

  43. @ Lancs Observer – I meant twice the Scottish national average of 16% at over 32% RC.

  44. Sectarianism isn’t a left-right thing, though. Certainly in Northern Ireland the parties’ economic views – which are in any case fairly flexible – take a back seat to issues like the Irish language.

  45. The Northern Ireland parties all have the same overriding economic policy – screw as much money out of London as possible, through blackmail if necessary.

    Going back to Richard’s wealth creators vs wealth consumers argument, that is what happens when a territory contains almost no wealth creation whatsoever.

  46. Call it a response to blackmail if you want, but the level of public spending in NI has always been a result of the conviction on the part of UK mainland politicians that the security situation would utterly deteriorate without it.

    Then you come back to the same argument I’ve been making about the difficulty of drawing a distinction between wealth creation and wealth consumption. How much wealth creation would take place in the midst of a civil war? So is the bloated public sector in NI crowding out wealth creation, or is it protecting what wealth creation does take place from being disrupted by an outbreak of violence?

    McLean & McMilllan’s “State of the Union” (2005) describes how no British government since well before WW2 has supported the union with NI for anything other than pragmatic reasons. Maintaining the union was never anything more than the least worst of the available policy options, with showering the province with public spending an important part of that.

  47. You do not need to create your own wealth if it is being provided by others.

    Which is why the posturing by Northern Ireland politicians is so cost-free.

  48. Kieran W – I agree, the only caveat, of course, being that eg residents of Glasgow or Manchester cost more per head than those in North Down.

    ie those who grow up in West Belfast are equally as costly if they grow up in Liverpool’s Vauxhall, parts of Dublin or Glasgow or Manchester’s Longsight or Harpurhey estates.

    I realise some might see that as an anti-Irish/RC point, but the stats don’t lie re those wards always being the most costly in terms of economically inactive as well as crime and so on.

  49. The Sun are saying former MP for this seat John Reid is set to quit Labour and join the Independent group and will be Joined by Wahid Ali and Margaret McDonagh

  50. A Peer was rumoured earlier, but I hadn’t thought of the former Home Sec.

    A SpAd tells mere there are “definitely” more MPs ready to join, but he wasn’t 100% sure which.

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