Banff & Buchan

2015 Result:
Conservative: 13148 (28.8%)
Labour: 2647 (5.8%)
Lib Dem: 2347 (5.1%)
SNP: 27487 (60.2%)
MAJORITY: 14339 (31.4%)

Category: Very safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, North East. Part of Aberdeenshire council area.

Main population centres: Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Rosehearty, Banff, Turriff, Macduff, Portsoy, Aberchirder,.

Profile: A largely coastal seat in the north of Aberdeenshire. Peterhead and Fraserburgh are major fishing ports.

Politics: Banff and Buchan was most associated with Alex Salmond, its MP for 23 years between 1987 and 2010. Under Salmond the seat was eventually built into an extremely safe SNP stronghold. Salmond himself returned as the MP for neighbouring Gordon in 2015.

Current MP
EILIDH WHITEFORD (Scottish National Party) Born 1969, Aberdeen. Educated at Banff Academy and Glasgow University. Former campaigns manager. First elected as MP for Banff and Buchan in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 11841 (31%)
Lab: 5382 (14%)
LDem: 4365 (11%)
SNP: 15868 (41%)
Oth: 1010 (3%)
MAJ: 4027 (10%)
Con: 7207 (19%)
Lab: 4476 (12%)
LDem: 4952 (13%)
SNP: 19044 (51%)
Oth: 1537 (4%)
MAJ: 11837 (32%)
Con: 6207 (20%)
Lab: 4363 (14%)
LDem: 2769 (9%)
SNP: 16710 (54%)
Oth: 757 (2%)
MAJ: 10503 (34%)
Con: 9564 (24%)
Lab: 4747 (12%)
LDem: 2398 (6%)
SNP: 22409 (56%)
Oth: 1060 (3%)
MAJ: 12845 (32%)

2015 Candidates
ALEX JOHNSTONE (Conservative) Born 1961, Kincardineshire. Educated at Mackie Academy. Former dairy farmer. Contested West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 2005, 2010. MSP for North East Scotland since 1999.
SUMON HOQUE (Labour) Born 1982. Educated at Aberdeen University. Businessman.
DAVID EVANS (Liberal Democrat)
Comments - 197 Responses on “Banff & Buchan”
  1. She is head of state in Australia too. But do you think she wouldn’t be criticised for spending all summer every summer in Australia?

  2. At least a Yes vote might reduce the likelihood of members of the Royal Family wearing kilts.

  3. HM Queen is Queen of Scotland too until her death, due to the union of the Crowns, Church of Scotland and Coronation. Chris – yes I did suspect it was a personal property rather than a State Palace, but wasn’t totally sure. Re kilts, they’ve only ever been worn by Tory MPs such as Bill Walker, Nicholas Fairbairn, the Royal Family and grooms. You hardly ever see one at an SNP rally. I see Sillars’ and Margo M’s daughter married a Proclaimer! That must have been one angry family at Christmas during the Queen’s Speech.

  4. There’s a prediction competition for the Scottish referendum at the VoteUK forum. Anyone can register to be a member of the forum:

  5. In any other nation in the UK, even taking into account that it has a very high profile and popular former incumbent, I would be looking carefully at a seat like this.

    I would be looking at the exceptionally high profile, concerted effort by the incumbent ABL party to move further and further to the left, and ask myself how well the right-leaning vote would hold up.

    I would be wondering whether a never-before-seen level of intensitive focus on independence, a policy that significant proportions of Conservative-supporting SNP voters do not actually support, and again ask whether that vote would hold up.

  6. And would just like to stress that I made that comment before learning that Salmond is to step down as FM.

  7. Your point is made even more relevant by Salmond’s resignation. A Glasgow based SNP lead by Sturgeon will find it far harder than Salmond to win rural NE votes. Salmond has done a masterful job at building and keeping the SNP coaltion together and will it come under strain. The good news for the SNP is that the Scottish tories have been consistently useless.

  8. It is interesting that there were strong “no” votes in many areas that have been traditionally strong for the SNP – Perth, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Western Isles.
    The strength of the “yes” campaign in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, suggests that the SNP may shift to become a left wing party rivalling Labour. There is clearly space for both the Conservatives and Lib Dems to gain back grond lost to the SNP in the north of Scotland in recent elections.
    This result is strong enough to encourage the “yes” supporters to keep going, but decisive enough that they will lose some disillusioned supporters. It must put into play a lot of areas of Scotland, the electoral map could be transformd over the next rounds of Westminster and then Holyrood elections.

  9. There won’t be another independence referendum for at least 15 years.

  10. I think the Tories should capitalise on this and try to win some votes from SNP voters in the rural seats who from 1987 onwards (and particularly after 1992) decided the Tories weren’t for them when I suspect they share our values.

    Also possible is a couple of gains off the LDs. I wouldn’t expect to make any ground against Labout though.

  11. What the coalition parties, and Labour for that matter, need to do is convince that 45% block of Yes voters that this issue transcends party lines: that there are SNP No voters and unionist party Yes voters, and that it will be three or four parliaments before electing a unionist/nationalist party would hinder/help the chances of another referendum.

    That the point at which this ceases to be the case: that independence becomes a political faultline so hostile that people are unwilling to vote for the party they otherwise support because of its stance on the union, is the point at which Scotland is no better than Northern Ireland.

  12. We have just had a vote with a 10 point margin.
    If it was election morning in 1979 or 1997 or even 2010 we would be saying a result is a result.

    Why all this picking over old ground about what needs to happen when that was discussed and voted on?

  13. The Nats look like pretty bad losers to me. They think they can knaw away at this muddying the issue and eventually they get what they want by blaming the rest of the UK for everything.

  14. Can’t argue with that Joe.

    There are at least two nationalists on this very site who see no problem in equating this result with terrorist attacks which killed 3,000 people, and a third who believes that there could be another Scottish referendum within five years even if the UK doesn’t leave the EU and the three parties follow through on giving Scotland more powers but are deemed by nationalists to have failed. At least one of those people uses his real name, and a second I believe is known to other posters on the site – it’s not as though I’m talking about trolls here.

    The prospect of the SNP (who lest we forget got elected in 2007 by promising that a vote for the SNP was not necessarily a vote for independence), distorting this issue for party political gain is frankly mundane by comparison.

  15. Yes I’m afraid fanatics don’t give up so easily, and there is also a disturbingly large body of warped opinion within Scotland now that will support continued agitation – note the number of signatories to this ridiculous petition about re-running the referendum.

  16. Countydurhamboy I agree that in the past the Scottish Tories have been consistently useless but this is changing. The one thing that everyone I know agreed on is that Ruth Davidson had an excellent campaign and is now instantly recognisable to the Scottish public. I think we will now start to see a gradual comeback of the Scottish Tories and if I was an SNP MP I would be a wee bit worried this morning.

    Lancsobserver Re Kilits: There is a fashion among younger nationalists to wear a kilt with a t-shirt and Caterpillar boots, they seem to think its cool and trendy but I think its a bit West Aberdeenshire. I was at the East Ayrshire count and spotted 4 or 5 of their activists dressed in this manner.

  17. Alex Salmond has said that the independence supporters themselves need to accept defeat as the Scottish people have spoken. Two questions,

    1: If you took away all those who were not born in Scotland who voted, immigrants, English people etc would Scotland have gone independent? If so if that statistic gets out there might be some anger…

    2: Will all this independence stuff, now that’s it’s over, increase support for the SNP or decrease it?

  18. I have no objection to the 10% margin being verified by someone independent, provided Scotland pays for it.

    Who knows, if small scale irregularities are discovered (for instance a few were detected in Glasgow), No might get the 3620 votes it needs to make the result 56-44?

  19. It won’t have surprised people on here, but I was annoyed that tv pundits were surprised that there were No majorities in SNP MPs’ seats. There are (split) Unionist majorities in all mainland seats. If the 3 Parties wanted to drive home their advantage, they’d field a joint/sole Unionist candidate in each and knock out the SNP MPs next year, leaving Angus McNeil as their lone voice. Even Salmond said Scottish nationalism is now merely a dream.

  20. This petition demanding a recount is just scraping the f*****g barrel. If some of the yes voters who can’t accept the will of 55% of voters, they should consider whether or not democracy is really for them…

    Alex Salmond was graceful in defeat and even though he doesn’t represent all Yes voters, they should take a leaf out of his book instead of carrying on this way.

  21. The SNP must I’m afraid take a lot of blame for the strange mentality that has now developed among some Scots.

    For all its posturing about ‘modern’ and ‘civic’ nationalism it has consistently fostered a divisive them and us mentality using ugly dogwhistle politics. Referring to the yes campaign as ‘Team Scotland’ was yet another example of this, attempting to equate no votes with a lack of patriotism.

    In doing so it has created a large following of people with an almost Fenian mindset, unwilling to accept Scotland could have any other destiny than ‘independence’.

  22. There’s been talk on Twitter of setting up a Scots Bloc of the SNP, Greens and SSP to oppose Labour. Would be an utter failure since all the right wing Nats would recoil in horror and the SNP love their oil which won’t please the Greens, but potentially interesting.

    Put it on the pile with a UKIP Con pact.

  23. Does anyone know if the Conservatives have selected here? If Jimmy Buchan stands again, there’s a chance this could be fairly marginal. I expect to see the SNP swing left and park on Labour’s lawn following Salmond’s departure – whether that will be apparent to voters by May 2015 is of course doubtful. But in a seat like this, it could certainly play into the Conservatives’ hands, if not in 2015 then in 2020, provided they position themselves correctly to take advantage of it.

  24. They’ve already swung as far left as they’re likely to go. That being said, Sturgeon may actually be more appealing to some Labour voters (especially in the Glasgow area) than Salmond has been. I still remain to be convinced that in a Westminster, as opposed to Holyrood, general election the SNP would be able to generate the very high swing they would need to take more than one or 2 seats from Labour.

  25. There has been a surge in membership of the pro-independence parties since the Indy ref, about a 4000 increase for the SNP. Hopefully the Indy ref has improved democratic participation and we might see an increase in turnout in 2015 and 2016 elections.

  26. Were I a terrible cynic I might suggest that those joining the SNP today may have had better luck joining a couple of months ago.

  27. Hopefully the Indy ref has improved democratic participation and we might see an increase in turnout in 2015 and 2016 elections.

    So that we can have more elected SNP politicians equating losing in a democratic referendum to 9/11?

    So that we can have those who got free reign to intimidate in this referendum because anyone who stopped them would be accused of not being neutral continue to play a part in Scottish politics?

    So that the SNP can claim to have a mandate to call another referendum at least a decade earlier than the “once in a political generation” timeframe that they used to try and deceive people into voting Yes sooner than they might have wanted to?

    It wasn’t just the unionists which made things up on the fly in this campaign – the Yes campaign was quite explicit that this is a once in a generation question (a few people used “once in a lifetime” but I accept that they were speaking on their own behalf). If they were then to campaign on a referendum in the 2016-2020 parliament they would prove they are the dishonest opportunists which some of the stauncher No’s believed they were in the campaign.

    Had the SNP told people they’d get another referendum say in five years, No would absolutely unquestionably have won more heavily. Salmond argued in the days before the referendum that there were a lot of deferred Yes’s, and he’s right. There were No voters who could have been convinced to vote Yes but thought a good case hadn’t been made. There were also those who did not vote Yes because they didn’t see the point in creating a large period of turbulence, when Scotland can quite easily move closer to the point it would ideally be at before becoming independent within the union, and have another vote at that stage.

    But equally, there were Yes voters who would have preferred to transition closer to autonomy within the union, and make the decision at that stage, rather than suddenly go from the current situation to complete independence. These voters went for Yes because they believed either that Westminster would not give Scotland the powers and therefore make that transition less of a big deal when it happens, or because they believed the Yes campaign that they might never get another chance.

  28. Sturgeon is now suggesting there could be another referendum within five years. Clearly the SNP strategy is going to be constant insurgency from here on.

  29. prediction for 2015-

    SNP- 52%
    Con- 27%
    Lab- 16%
    Lib- 5%

  30. overshot the SNP vote a bit by accident , didn’t realise Salmond was the MP here and that’s why it’s vote in earlier years was so high, my bad let me revise that

    prediction for 2015-

    SNP- 48%
    Con- 28%
    Lab- 17%
    Lib- 7%

  31. This is a very safe SNP seat now. In 2010 the SNP had a little-known candidate whereas the Conservative was very well-known locally indeed. This will not apply in 2015 (unless Jimmy Buchan stands again – unlikely, as he pulled out of the SP elections in 2011 because of other commitments).

    JB is a Peterhead-based skipper cum TV personality. Very personable and very credible. This had a major impact on the result in 2010. But he was still some way behind the winner.

    I expect the SNP majority to increase substantially next time.

  32. I don’t know how much of a personal vote Eilidh Whiteford has built up here, but I think she could well score the SNP’s best result yet here. My current, revised prediction is-
    SNP- 57%
    Tory- 24%
    Lab- 10%
    UKIP- 8%
    Lib Dem- 1%

  33. I believe Banff and Buchan had the largest swing to any party in Scotland in 2010 (10.1% SNP to CON or thereabouts).

  34. And there could now be a larger swing back to the SNP without Jimmy Buchan as Tory candidate, and with Eilidh Whiteford’s incumbency. My prediction is probably unlikely though.

  35. How is it possible to apply the national share of vote change method when Labour don’t have 16% here to lose?

    Labour are not going to poll negative 750 here.

    Also Labour are not going to fall from 17% to 1% in Angus, Moray and Fife NE. With a national drop of 16% to 26% they would be more likely to take 10% in these seats.

    The downside for Labour is that in places where they have more votes there share of the vote will fall far more than the uniform swing method would imply.

  36. The 1992 notionals for Brent North and Glasgow Maryhill where boundary changes were very minor were –

    Brent North
    Con 57
    Lab 30

    Glasgow Maryhill
    Lab 62
    Con 10

    If you apply the national 1997 national changes in the share of the vote (Lab up 9 Con down 11)you get –

    Brent North
    Con 48
    Lab 41

    Glasgow Maryhill
    Lab 73
    Con 1

    The actual results were –

    Brent North
    Lab 50
    Con 40

    Glasgow Maryhill
    Lab 64
    Con 6

    Just as the Conservatives will not drop to 1% in Glasgow Maryhill in 1997 Labour won’t fall to 1% number of Northern Scottish seats. Labours fall could be far greater than 16% in places like Airdrie or Cumbernauld as the Conservatives experienced in Brent North in 1997.

  37. If we look at the 2011 Holyrood elections and consider that as a bad night for Labour, we see that the Labour constituency floor was as high as 8%.

    In fact, the consistency of results from that election is quite striking.

    For example:
    The rural North East (Grampian, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire & NE Fife) tended to have a Labour vote of 8-13%.
    The Highlands: 12-20%.
    Glasgow, Central Scotland (inc. Stirling, Clacks & Clydesdale) & Lothians (exc. Edinburgh) & provincial Ayrshire: 35-40%.
    West of Scotland affluent suburbs: 35-40%.
    West of Scotland, Glasgow & Fife Heartlands: 42-50%.

    It varies a bit more in Edinburgh: in the mid-20s or early-30s in 3/4-way seats, and 40-42% in SNP-Labour battles.

    In Aberdeen, from 20% to 38%.

    In S. Scotland: 10% in Berwickshire – 40% in Dumfriesshire.

    And the Dundee seats were 23% and 31%.

    This might tell us something about the Labour floors in the different regions of the country, in 2011 enyway.

  38. What will be of concern to Labour is that while the Westminster projections appear outlandisly poor they are not hugely different to the way that Scotland votes at Holyrood elections. Ie there is now 10% of the Scottish who have voted SNP at Holyrood despite continuing to vote Labour at Westminster. This has now occurred for two electoral cycles. These are not people who remain loyal Labour voters but are part time Lab SNP voters. Murphy believes that Labour can get from 26 back to 42% this maintain all 41 MP’S. A senior Labour strategist privately admitted to the press that they would be happy getting back to 35% (thay in turn would reduce the SNP to 32). This would still place have a dozen Labour seats at risk and also mean that it would be the SNP who would be the main challenge and not Lab in most of the LD seats.

  39. I don’t think Murphys desire to hold 41 seats and 42% is realistic but could see Labour getting back to 35 seats and 35% and the SNP 19 seats with 32% with the Lib Dems on 3 and Con on 2.

    The problem for Labour However is the 10% of people who vote SNP at Holyrood and Labour at Westminster could have been galvanised as part of the 45% to vote SNP for the first time at Westminster. The SNP don’t need to win over people who have never voted SNP before…only insure that Holyrood SNP/ Westminster Lab swingers vote SNP in May….and the vast majority of these people will be very disappointed YES voters .

  40. SNP hold, majority 10,000.

  41. SNP Majority 18% over Con


    So apparently Banff and Buchan is the most anti European constituency in the UK? I wouldn’t have imagined it but the article suggests 57% of voters in the area would vote to leave the EU (understandably part of this would be derived from the mildly strong Tory vote in the area).

    At an assumption I would think the area voted against independence by 55% (with Gordon at 60% and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine probably voting No by 65%).

    I doubt that UKIP could win the in constituency given the dominance of the constitution debate in Scotland which will no doubt lead the SNP to victory here again. This seat has displayed signs of being right wing in the past but the current dynamic in Scotland would definitely work against UKIP (I believe – but would need to double check – their supporters are actually the LEAST likely to vote in 2015 in Scotland, probably a sign that they are seen as unlikely to win any seats; which in all honesty is a fair and accurate assumption).


    Where did you get those figures? As far as I know affluent parts of Strathclyde outside of Clydeside (with the exception of Pollokshields, Eastwood and East Dunbartonshire) are pretty Tory voting, eg. the Tories won in Ayr (which is a mix of affluent areas where support for the party has reached over 70%). Eastwood was quite a close result and voted notionally Conservative in 2007, also the Tories have traditionally done well in the mainland of the North Coast & Cumbraes electoral ward in North Ayrshire, along with the relatively affluent electoral ward of Kilmarnock West & Crosshouse (mainly in west Annanhill) – in previous elections they have done well in Stirling.

  43. I’d be kind of sceptical about the claim that Banff & Buchan is the most Euro-sceptical seat in the UK without details of the pollster and the datasets.

    Piemonteis’s figures are from the Scottish Parliamentary results in 2011. Nobody doubts that the Tories (or any other party) can do better on a ward-by-ward basis, but if they can only carry Ayr across the whole of Strathclyde, there’s a limit to their relevance.

  44. NTY [email protected] Pollokshields returns Glasgow’s only Tory councillor. Parts of the ward (North Pollokshields, East Pollokshields, Strathbungo and tenement parts of Shawlands) are fairly run down which means that there is a strong Conservative vote in Maxwell Park, West Pollokshields, South Pollokshields and sandstone villa parts of Shawlands.

  45. [email protected] the main reason why Banff & Buchan swung by 10% from SNP to Conservative in 2010 was the retirement of Alex Salmond and the candidacy of TV skipper Jimmy Buchan for the Tories.

    Eilidh Whiteford will now have 5 years incumbency and Alex Johnstone will not have the appeal of Jimmy Buchan.

  46. @ SIMON – That isn’t what I meant by saying “As far as I know affluent parts of Strathclyde outside of Clydeside… are pretty Tory voting”, I meant that the area of the Strathclyde region with the exception of Clydeside (ie. Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Inverclyde) tend to have more support for the Tories among those living in AFFLUENT SUBURBAN areas.

    They do have limited support in the area, and realistically they can only hope to win two out of the (what?) thirty seats in the area – I was simply saying that the party have generally done well among the affluent voters in Ayrshire, Argyll/Bute and Stirling, alongside patches of Clydeside, which can be shown by their relative success on a local level – yet generally speaking affluent voters outside of the Clydeside area are more likely to vote Tory than those living within the Clydeside area.

    @ Dalek – Sorry if what I said caused confusion but what I meant was that only patches of the Clydeside area generally vote Tory – most, or part, of Pollokshields being one of these areas – I knew that the area has previous voted Tory (the only part of Glasgow to do so) yet I don’t actually know the local demographics of Glasgow/Pollokshields much. I also forgot to mention the electoral ward of Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank which voted majority conservative (45.3%) in the 2007 Scottish parliament elections.

  47. So apparently the area voted marginally Yes according to SNP sources – this is a strange constituency.


    The labour candidate here in 2010 backing the SNP Eilidh Whiteford. How much can the labour vote be squeezed here?

  49. Traditionally this seat is a more centre-right voting base than much of Scotland. SNP voters that backed Alex Salmond here in the past could very much be described as “Tartan Tories”. With the increasingly obvious swing of the SNP to the left, could this impact the SNP vote against the national swing? I still think the SNP will take the seat but will be interested to see how much of a majority they get. Very small chance of a CON upset here, however I don;t have visibility on how active the CON activists are here. The UK party seem to have given up to a certain extent on seats in Scotland which seems to make it more difficult for the party to build any momentum even in areas where they should do well.

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