Ayrshire North & Arran

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7968 (14.8%)
Labour: 15068 (28%)
Lib Dem: 896 (1.7%)
SNP: 28641 (53.2%)
UKIP: 1296 (2.4%)
MAJORITY: 13573 (25.2%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, West. Most of the North Ayrshire council area.

Main population centres: Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Largs.

Profile: A seat combining the Isle of Arran with a chunk of northern Ayrshire. The Isle of Arran is linked to the mainland by ferry and has several villages around the coast which rely on tourism, leisure and farming. The vast bulk of the electorate though is on the mainland, although even there it is a varied constituency. To the north there is a an affluent, rural area around West Kilbridge and Largs. Further south along the coast are the "Three Towns" - the ferry port of Ardrossan, the seaside resort of Saltcoats and the far more industrial ironworking, chemicals and explosives town of Stevenston. Inland are the settlements of the Garnock valley - once dominated by the coal, iron and steel industries, with the steelworks at Glengarnock providing most of the local employment. With the steelworks now long gone the area has struggled with deprivation. The seat also contains Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station and Hunterston Terminal.

Politics: Historically North Ayrshire was a safe Conservative seat, held by the party between 1911 and 1987. For most of that time however the boundaries were more favourable for the Tories, the seat more rural and less working class (until 1983 it included the Isle of Bute, but not the heavy industrial Garnock Valley). Since then the Westminster seat become far more solidly Labour, but the equivalent seat in the Scottish Parliament is held by the SNP and in 2015 the Westminster seat followed suit.

Current MP
PATRICIA GIBSON (SNP) Former teacher. Contested Ayrshire North and Arran 2010. First elected as MP for Ayrshire North & Arran in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7212 (16%)
Lab: 21860 (47%)
LDem: 4630 (10%)
SNP: 11965 (26%)
Oth: 449 (1%)
MAJ: 9895 (21%)
Con: 8121 (18%)
Lab: 19417 (44%)
LDem: 7264 (16%)
SNP: 7938 (18%)
Oth: 1465 (3%)
MAJ: 11296 (26%)
Con: 6666 (20%)
Lab: 15571 (46%)
LDem: 3060 (9%)
SNP: 7173 (21%)
Oth: 1346 (4%)
MAJ: 8398 (25%)
Con: 9647 (23%)
Lab: 20686 (50%)
LDem: 2271 (6%)
SNP: 7584 (18%)
Oth: 941 (2%)
MAJ: 11039 (27%)

2015 Candidates
JAMIE GREENE (Conservative) Born Greenock. TV producer.
KATY CLARK (Labour) Born 1967, Kilwinning. Educated at Kyle Academy and Aberdeen University. Solicitor and trade union officer. Contested Galloway and Upper Nithsdale 1997. MP for North Ayrshire and Arran 2005 to 2015. She is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group.
RUBY KIRKWOOD (Liberal Democrat)
PATRICIA GIBSON (SNP) Teacher. Contested Ayrshire North and Arran 2010.
Comments - 58 Responses on “Ayrshire North & Arran”
  1. Had ‘Bute & North Ayrshire’ continued in 1983, I recon it would have voted as follows in 2010 –

    Labour: 8960 (32%)
    SNP: 7280 (26%)
    Conservative: 7000 (25%)
    Lib Dem: 4760 (17%)

    Lab Maj 1680 (6%)

    1983 – 1997 Con
    1997 – Lab

    Boundary changes remove the Island of Bute and add Labour voting Towns in Gartnock Valley, Beith, Saltcoates, Adrossan, Kilwinning and Stevenson.

  2. My forecast for 2015

    Lab 43
    SNP 34
    Con 14
    LD 4
    Others 5

    (I challenge Oldnat to argue against this prediction using objective reasoning.)

  3. This might be the shortest thread on a seat that could realistically change hands in the whole of the UK.

  4. This could realistically change hands, but I think Labour will hold on, although it will probably be closer than A Brown suggested above (albeit a year ago).

  5. This is the kind of constituency where many of the ordinary types of people who voted Tory in the 1970s and 1980s now vote SNP….just look at Largs….Tory stronghold in the 1980s….SNP stronghold now…I am not talking about middle class Tory types but the former ordinary Conservative vote…

  6. Do people feel that Katy Clark’s left-wing credentials will reduce Lab-SNP swing here? She is very prominent in the Peoples Assembly movement, and one of the more prominent members of the Campaign Group.

  7. A Brown

    Seems I’m a wee bit late in taking up your challenge of November 2013! 🙂

    Without going back to 2013 polling, I can’t be sure, but his estimate based on then current opinion may well be accurate.

    The events of 2014, and current 2015 opinion polling, however, suggests that making predictions that far out from an election is somewhat foolhardy.


    While Katy being a left-winger may keep some votes, it will also prevent her from gaining other Unionist votes on the more affluent North Coast.

    If, as I suspect, this election in Scotland is about general perceptions of Lab/SNP as the best party to “stand up for Scotland”, then the personal attributes of any individual candidate may count for little.

  8. I think that personal opinions on candidates do make a difference. People like Malcolm Chisholm managed to survive the 2011 election, largely based on hard work and a degree of independence from the party line. I don’t know the extent to which Katy Clark is a candidate to do that, but I think that candidates and track records certainly matter, especially where there isn’t a huge ideological gulf between the parties (outside the constitutional question).

  9. Simon

    I wouldn’t disagree with you on the reputation of candidates normally, but being seen as a “hard-working” representative matters more when people are considering which individual they want to be in Parliament to represent their individual interests.

    That’s much easier for MSPs to do (if they’re any good – which Malcolm Chisholm is) than for MPs – simply due to the issues that are reserved/devolved.

    The polling evidence is very strong that 2015 will be dominated by positions taken last September on the constitutional question, so unless Katy was in a position to attract right wing Unionist votes from the North Coast, then it is difficult to see how she could build a winning coalition.

  10. This is much better for Labour than the equivalent Cunningham North Holyrood constituency held by the SNP since 2007. It also includes the rock solid Labour towns of Kilwining and Stevenson.

  11. They were in Cunninghame S before 2005, weren’t they?

  12. Dalek

    Coatbridge ” is much better for Labour than the [equivalent] Cunningham North Holyrood constituency held by the SNP since 2007.”


    “the rock solid Labour towns of Kilwining [sic] and Stevenson.” are in Cunninghame South – 2011 result SNP 50%, Lab 40%.

  13. There was a look of surprise on Malcolm Chisholm’s coupon on election night on 2011 when he held his seat, as he seemed to thoroughly expect to lose. Although his seat would have gone under uniform swing, it was by no means near the top of the list of possible SNP gains.

    North Ayrshire and Arran, on the other hand, is well within uniform swing, and Katy Clark would have to do incredibly well to hold back such a swing. The size of the SNP majority in the corresponding Holyrood seat, and the fact there may be a sizable Sturgeon factor, suggest that holding her seat will be a near impossible task.

    In fact, given that Malcolm Chisholm’s retiring next year, it could be one of the few seats the SNP can still win comfortably (also Dumbarton, of course). I can’t remember if anyone’s been chosen to replace him for Labour. Dugdale?

  14. “n fact, given that Malcolm Chisholm’s retiring next year, it could be one of the few seats the SNP can still win comfortably (also Dumbarton, of course). I can’t remember if anyone’s been chosen to replace him for Labour. Dugdale?”

    Dugdale is standing again in East. The North candidate is Lesley Hinds

  15. Patricia Gibson is the SNP candidate again.

    As far as I know, no other candidate is yet in the field. Does anyone know if other parties are putting up candidates?

  16. As it happens the crossbreaks in all of the last 3 Britain-wide polls have shown the SNP lead over Labour at between 9 & 11%, which while still pretty dire for Labour would at least mean a pretty large number of seats held in Scotland for the latter. Would be interesting if this is maintained.

  17. Barnaby Marder

    The only problem with that is that the Scottish crossbreaks from most pollsters are wholly unrelated to Scottish demographics or political weighting.

    The exceptions are Populus (but only very recently – their Party ID weightings until the recent adjustment were ludicrous) and YouGov since 5 Jan.

    The mean of the last 20 YG Scottish crossbreaks was
    SNP 42% : Lab 27% : Con 19% : LD 5% : UKIP 4% : Grn 3%

    Translating these numbers into seats requires an assumption that there is a Scottish UNS – which seems unlikely.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Labour keeping a dozen seats – but this wouldn’t be one of them, on current polling.

  18. I agree with the last sentence. I suspect it’ll be about 20 by polling day though, not including this one.

  19. The YG Scottish crossbreak gives the Tories 19% while Labour has fallen to 27%….seem a bit high given a sharp rise in the SNP would also take some Tory votes.

  20. I put Old Nats figures into the projector in Scotland Votes and got SNP 43 Lab 12 LD 2 and Con 2.

    The LD holds are obvious, Tories take Berwickshire and Labour hold –

    Renfrewshire East
    Paisley & Renfrewshire South
    Dunbartonshire West
    Glasgow North East
    Glasgow SW
    Glasgow NW

    I think Labour could lose Dunbartonshire West but given Barnabys estimate that Labour could close the gap to hold 20 seats they could also hold –

    East Lothian
    Edinburgh North
    Edinburgh South
    Edinburgh SW
    Paisley North
    Ayrshire Central

  21. To get Barnabys 20 Labour seat prediction on Oldnats figures a 3% swing from SNP to Lab is required….SNP 39 and Lab 30…is SNP 34 Lab 20 Con 3 and LD 2.

  22. Dalek

    YouGov’s full Scottish poll had SNP at 48% and Lab 27%.

    I started calculating the YG crossbreak mean figures because I was pissed off by people saying “Ooh! SNP have risen/fallen 3 points since yesterday. That must be because of X”.

    There is certainly no GB UNS. There probably is no Scottish UNS.

    If you look at the posts by Unicorn on the main site, then Election Forecast probably has the best seat predictions, Their best estimate is currently SNP with 38 seats – existing 6 + 9 from LDs and 23 from Labour.

    Hard to see why N Ayrshire & Arran would not be one of those 23!

  23. Dalek – of the list you gave above, I don’t expect Labour to hold Glenrothes or W Dunbartonshire. Of the secondary list you gave, however, I make Labour slight favourites to end up holding all of them.

  24. I’d be sorry to see Katy Clark lose here; she’s been one of the more principled Labour MPs in recent times.

  25. Katy would be a good MSP in 2016, but even if she wanted to stand, I can’t see her being placed high enough up on the list of a Labour party led by Murphy.

  26. If Labour loses enough seats for Katy Clark to fail to be re-elected, it would be hard for Murphy to remain leader in Scotland.

  27. I think SLAB still have to decide the ranking system for the 2016 regional lists. In particular, if reselected cureent list MSPs will directly go to the top of the list. Between sitting list MSPs, constituency MSPs now allowed to pursue a double candidature and defeated MPs possibly attempting a move to Holyrood….the lists may be too small for all of them!

  28. I think the SNP will gain all their previous Oct 1974 to 1979 territory other than Galloway…….

    Aberdeenshire East (Banff & Buchan)

    Angus South (Angus and Dundee East)

    Argyll (Argyll & Bute)

    Banff (Banff & Buchan and Moray)

    Dundee East (Dundee East and Dundee West)

    Clackmannan & East Stirlingshire (Ochil & South Perthshire and Linlithgow & Falkirk East).

    East Dunbartonshire (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East). Yes more of the 1974 – 1983 DE is in this constituency/ other than Bearsden and West Kirkintilloch….Milngavie was Dunbartonshire Central and Bishopbriggs was Lanarkshire North.

    Moray & Nairn (Moray and Inverness/Nairn)

    Perth & East Perthshire (Perth & North Perthshire and Ochil & South Perthshire).

    Western Isles (Na h-Eileanan an lar)

    ……the SNP would certainly win Galloway under the old boundaries but the addition of urban Dumfries and Russell Stewarts incumbency (who may retain many Red Nats) will make that seat harder to regain.

    Going back to include by election gains –

    Motherwell 1945 (the SNP have a chance in Motherwell & Wishaw).

    Hamilton 1967 the SNP have a chance in Lanark & Hamilton East but Rutherglen & Hamilton West is a likely Labour hold).

    Glasgow Govan 1973 and 1988 (Ashcroft projected a narrow SNP gain in Glasgow SW but I think Labour will hold on here).

    Glasgow East 2008 (according to Ashcroft the SNP have a reasonable lead her. I find this impossible to call because Labour regained this more dramatically than any other by election loss since 1945 in 2010 yet went on to being defeated in the Glasgow Shettleston Holyrood constituency the following year.

  29. Apoligies for the name, it’s rubbish and I am no obsessive Kinnock admirer, it was just off the hoof.

    I think Katy Clark is, sadly, doomed here now, my post was written before Ashcroft and at the time I felt an uptick for Labour would be happening by now, with most polls showing what the rogue ‘oil poll’ showed by now.

    Oldnat- I don’t think Tory voters will vote Labour for unionist reasons. In fact, the little evidence there is showing the reverse, Tories snubbing Labour by voting SNP. But yes, her views will keep her defeat narrower than in other seats.

    These are exciting times, Scotland will be by far the most interesting part of the election.

  30. Welshwindbag

    “I don’t think Tory voters will vote Labour for unionist reasons”

    I doubt they will either, but it is the campaign that a number of Lab MPs are running, in the hope of keeping their seats.

  31. We could see the SNP giving Labour a run for their money here.

    I could see Kathy Clarke’s majority being slashed to 2000.

  32. The SNP will definitely give Katy Clark (which is what you meant) a run for her money & may even win. Obviously I hope otherwise. I think it will be a close race.

  33. I think that all Conservative supporters are preying for the quick re-insertion of the Welshwindbag as Labour leader – ! 🙂

  34. This is probably the most likely Labour seat to fall to the SNP, which is a shame: Katy is a good MP yet this isn’t worth much in the eyes of most voters.

  35. that is an exaggeration. It isn’t even the likeliest in Ayrshire, which is Kilmarnock, let alone in Scotland as a whole.

  36. Dundee West is clearly far more likely to fall to the SNP than this seat. I’d also have Ochil, Falkirk and some others ahead of this one.

  37. Disagree with what Dalek said about Largs becoming a SNP stronghold, omlh seems that way due to the SNP trying to get in by setting up one of their yes shops, and capitalising on the student support during the referendum and sending salmomd there to try and make support seem larger

    Referendum results show this too, the ward ‘Cumbares and the coast’ which includes the Cumbraes, Largs, Fairlie, West Kilbride and other small towns voted overwhelming no during the referendum, so much in fact that the single ward changed North Ayrshire from a Yes to a No

    As for this years election, even with the collapse of Labour in Scotland I think Katy Clark will hold the seat, mainly on the grounds that Katy Clark has been able to engage with the constituency very well, creating a more personal following than some other MPs, similarly she’s always been a rebel within the Labour party, gaining her respect from those disapproving of the whole New Labour which was created under Blair, not to mention I have the feeling she’ll be getting votes from a lot of former Conservative voters as an anti-SNP protest vote

  38. Continuing the discussion of Clark’s future if she loses, Bolsover 2020 anyone?

  39. Ashcroft polls show the SNP performing around support for independence in an area, maybe slightly above it, and the yes vote here was 49%. Clark may have a reputation as being more old Labour, but the brand is so tainted among yes voters, I’d say it’s very unlikely she’ll hold on.

  40. @ Calum – just a minor thing, the result for Ayrshire North & Arran was 52% No 48% Yes, this is a slightly better result for No compared to the council area as a whole due to the fact that Irvine voted in favour of independence, Irvine forms part of the Ayrshire Central constituency.

    The SNP appear to be very active in this constituency.

  41. Labour Hold.

  42. Thought Katy Clark being on the left of Labour would’ve given her an edge in this seat. Clearly not.

    For all their anti-Blairite talk and wanting more left wing representatives in Westminster, they ironically turfed out an MP who’s just that.

  43. Will we ever see any of the defeated Scottish Labour MPs ever again?

  44. Yes, we will see some of them I’m sure. Murphy if he is stupid enough to carry on will be on the top of Hollyrood list next year. Alexander may return either throught the Lords or an English/Welsh by-election, but he’s been around a while. I think a few of them will end up in English seats next time. Clark may take over from someone like Corbyn or Skinner, if she wants to. Some may be MSPs or peers. But most will disappear

  45. Sad really when you think about it…

  46. I do feel really bad for Jim Murphy and Danny Alexander TBH. It would be nice to see both of them at the very least return somehow somewhere I think.

  47. Douglas Alexander you mean? Danny will probably just go back to his zoo

  48. Sorry yes I’m really confused LOL.

  49. “the far more industrial ironworking, chemicals and explosives town of Stevenston”

    It’s a long time since that was the case!

  50. The Tories get second in Cunninghame North (by 3.5%), what has happened to Labour?!

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