Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk

2015 Result:
Conservative: 19817 (36%)
Labour: 2700 (4.9%)
Lib Dem: 10294 (18.7%)
SNP: 20145 (36.6%)
Green: 631 (1.1%)
UKIP: 1316 (2.4%)
Independent: 135 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 328 (0.6%)

Category: Ultra-marginal SNP seat

Geography:

Main population centres:

Profile:

Politics:


Current MP
CALUM KERR (SNP) Born Gala. Educated at Peebles High School. Former consultant. First elected as MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 16555 (34%)
Lab: 5003 (10%)
LDem: 22230 (45%)
SNP: 4497 (9%)
Oth: 729 (1%)
MAJ: 5675 (12%)
2005
Con: 13092 (29%)
Lab: 7206 (16%)
LDem: 18993 (42%)
SNP: 3885 (9%)
Oth: 2212 (5%)
MAJ: 5901 (13%)
2001*
Con: 6533 (23%)
Lab: 4498 (16%)
LDem: 14044 (49%)
SNP: 2806 (10%)
Oth: 916 (3%)
MAJ: 7511 (26%)
1997
Con: 8337 (24%)
Lab: 5226 (15%)
LDem: 16243 (47%)
SNP: 3959 (11%)
Oth: 1166 (3%)
MAJ: 7906 (23%)

2015 Candidates
JOHN LAMONT (Conservative) Born 1976. Educated at Kilwinning Academy and Glasgow University. Solicitor. Contested Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 2005, 2010. Member of the Scottish Parliament for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire.
KENRYCK LLOYD JONES (Labour) Educated at Huddersfield University. Public affairs and policy manager.
MICHAEL MOORE (Liberal Democrat) Born 1965, Dundonald. Educated at Jedburgh Grammar School and Edinburgh University. Chartered accountant. MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 1997 to 2015. Secretary of State for Scotland 2010-2013.
PETER NEILSON (UKIP) Contested Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk 2005, Scottish European election 2009.
PAULINE STEWART (Green) Medical herbalist.
CALUM KERR (SNP) Born Gala. Educated at Peebles High School. Consultant.
JESSE RAE (Independent)
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Comments - 562 Responses on “Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk”
  1. You may have overlooked that the Gordon Westminster constituency now includes as much of Aberdeen Donside as Aberdeenshire East. The Lib Dems almost lost their deposit in than seat while the SNP took half the vote.

    I don’t see the Lib Dems even recovering in the Aberdeenshire Wards let alone the Aberdeen City Wards.

  2. The Lib Dem vote has collapsed completely in the Borders and it’s hard to see how they are going to recover anytime soon, even if they start to do better nationally or the SNP loses popularity.

    But they are still fairly well positioned in the Highlands and Argyll & Bute if the SNP decline, and with good candidates are likely to be seen as the main challengers and gain tactical votes.

    The Northeast is in between. The Lib Dems retain some strength (certainly compared to most of Scotland, though that’s not saying much!), but will need to work hard to counter the Conservatives. The SNP may benefit from splintered opposition. Or depending on boundary changes, maybe some seats will tend Conservative and others Lib Dem.

  3. It might well be that the North East will become a Tory-SNP battleground, but that is not certain. The focus will be more on the Westminster government at the next general election, and the Tories could become toxic again, depending on how things go the next four years. The Lib Dems, unlike in the Borders, retain enough strength that they could remain a factor. I’m not predicting they are going to win constituency seats in 2020 or 2021, only that one or two credible challenges are plausible.

  4. “The LD challenge seems to be confined to Edinburgh West and North East Fife, along with Argyll and Bute.”

    The Lib Dem success in the 4 seats they won (2 holds and 2 gains) mask that their vote collapsed in every other of the 73 constituencies except Argyll & Bute.

    Their 26% base in the Holyrood constituency plus the strongly unionist part of the council area that this in the Dumbarton constituency (that seems to have backed Ballie) could pose problems for Brendan O’Hara in 2020….but it remains a longshot.

    Considering the boundary changes, there are only 4 constituencies in Scotland that the Lib Dems would have any real prospect.

    Elsewhere the Lib Dems took just over 2000 votes in the Holyrood equivalent of John Moore’s old constituency and 10% and 4th place in the successor to David Steels old Tweeddale constituency.

    When 18000 people voted Tory and 5000 people voted Lib Dem in Aberdeenshire West, why are unionists going to vote for the Lib Dems in Kincardine & Aberdeenshire West in 2020?

  5. Here’s the issue with a Conservative gain in Aberdeenshire at Westminster:

    Firstly, within the context of the 2018 review it is likely that the boundaries in the area will be based around the western section of Aberdeenshire: which would involve the union of west Gordon with the in-land elements of the WA&K constituency, and possibly a slim slice of Buchan and Banff.

    In 2015 the Liberal Democrats were, comprehensively, the main opposition party to the SNP in Gordon. The Conservatives managed to come ahead of the Liberal Democrats in WA&K by about 4,000 votes. In Buchan and Banff the Conservatives came second, SNP unchallenged.

    * Aberdeenshire West was a Conservative gain. On the surface this looks promising for the Conservatives, especially if we do have a seat following similar (albeit slightly wider) boundaries to that of Aberdeenshire West. It could allow for the Conservatives to galvanise centre-right Lib Dem voters in the area to support them at Westminster by underpinning the fact that the party are the central opposition to the SNP here.
    * The caveat:
    Turnout in Gordon was 73.3% in 2015. The SNP had a 8,687 vote lead over the Liberal Democrats here, the Conservatives not in contention. Turnout in Aberdeenshire West was only 59.1% (down 14.0% compared with Gordon). The Conservatives took a majority of 900 votes over the SNP. Putting into perspective the clear tactical vote across parts of Scotland (such as in Eastwood, where Ken MacIntosh’s vote was inflated on the constituency ballot and in Edinburgh Southern, where Labour topped the constituency poll but the Tories topped the regional list poll) I believe this makes any seat around here a highly unlikely Conservative gain. We could have confused tactical voting, which would split the unionist vote here, alongside a much higher turnout which will mostly benefit the SNP and Lib Dems at the expense of the Conservatives. Alexander Burnett’s 900 vote majority cannot withstand this tide, and that is before mentioning the fact that the boundaries WOULD be better for the SNP (moving further into SNP Gordon and very SNP Buchan and Banff).

    Turnout makes a Conservative gain here impossible: better to focus on seats around the borders at Westminster than wasting precious labour where it won’t make any difference.

  6. Subject to boundary change I believe that the rural parts of the North East are clearly trending towards being an SNP/Conservative battleground.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if all of the rural seats in the North East have the Conservatives as the main challenger to the SNP. I also suspect a strong Conservative showing in the suburban parts of Aberdeen (which should come to form with a Conservative second in Aberdeen South).

    Aberdeen North and Dundee West should keep healthy Labour seconds. A seat based in east Dundee and south Angus could have a good fight for second place.

    This all depends on how well Labour recover ofcourse (which I suspect will be not much).

  7. The wider question regarding all this Tory optimism (and after a very long time it was a great election for the Tories in Scotland, so getting carried away is understandable) is whether or not these gains can be sustained, or whether the Tories will have dropped back by the time of the next elections. The Lib Dems had a strong performance across Scotland in 2005, but five years later, it dissipated (this before the Coalition disaster). With the Conservatives the incumbents in London, four years is a long time, all sorts of things can (and will) happen.

    As for pockets of potential Lib Dem strength, they did relatively well in Caithness, getting a 7% swing SNP to Lib Dem.

  8. That is, ofcourse, unless they can make serious advances in 2020. That would be VERY historic.

  9. And turnout in East Renfrewshire was 81.1% in 2015, your point?

  10. I could see Jackson Carlaw building up a personal vote in the way that Allan Stewart, Jim Murphy and Ken MacIntosh did.

    People forget that in 1992 Eastwood was a key target seat for Labour that was needed for a majority of 1 seat. It was more winnable than Blackpool South or Brentford & Isleworth as Labour had only lost by 7000 in 1987 (1000 votes behind the second place SDP Liberal Alliance).

    Eastwood saw the largest swing from Lab to Con in the UK, over 4%, and Stewart increased his majority to nearly 12000.

    Murphy’s win in 1997 could have been helped by the massive unwinding of Stewart’s personal vote. He then in turn was able to establish his own personal vote in 2001 increasing his majority to over 9000 as Stewart did in 1992.

    Currently I could see the Eastwood Holyrood constituency becoming a safe Conservative seat and the East Renfrewshire Westminster constituency becoming a close SNP/ Con marginal.

  11. Am I right in saying that this is the first time a Conservative has won over 50% of the popular vote in a constituency since the 1970’s?

  12. High turnout is a bad thing for the Tories in Scotland.

    East Renfrewshire going Tory in 2020 is pretty much impossible.

  13. *Unless turnout slumps or the entire constituency outside of Newton Mearns is levelled to the ground.

  14. Plus, I think its very unlikely Scotland will continue to have higher turnouts than elsewhere in 2020. 2015 was most likely an exception caused by the spillover of the referendum and the excitement of a ‘change’ election rather than a new rule.

  15. Tories taking second place is very possible.

  16. (But their vote might also be undermined by pro-Labour tactical voting).

  17. Calum Kerr must be the most vulnerable SNP MP. He represents what is perhaps the most Unionist constituency in Scotland.

    Much depends on whether John Lamont stands again.

    If Kerr loses, how much would he be likely to lose by?

  18. Oh it’s a question of “by how much” rather than “who”.

    If recent Scottish polls are to be believed, the Tories are probably looking at around 45% in this seat. Comfortably enough for the seat, Conservative by 15 points.

  19. I am going to make a fairly conservative estimate that the SNP could potentially lose about 5 seats (just on the basis as Ruth Davidson said about Scotland reaching peak SNP, and on the basis that what goes up must come down). I would name my five as: BR&S, Dumfries and Galloway, Aberdeenshire West and Kincardineshire and Dunbartonshire East along with at least one Edinburgh seat.

  20. Real potential for the conservatives to squeeze unionist and lib dem voters in this area

  21. Oh, almost certain the Tories will win, @Panther. Would be a massive shock if they can’t win it.

    Also, Moore is not standing again, so I think this seat won’t be going LD again anytime in the foreseeable future — they won’t even get close.

  22. By-election in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Selkirk as John Lamont resigns his Scottish Parliamentary seat to stand for Westminster.

  23. Lamont must be very confident to be resigning before the election.

  24. Catriona Bhatia, current Scottish Borders Councillor and daughter of ex-MP for this area Sir David Steel, will be the Liberal Democrat candidate in this election.

    Her 18 year old daughter Caledonia is also standing in May’s council election.

  25. “Lamont must be very confident to be resigning before the election”

    Not surprised -the two southern seats must be pretty much nailed-on gains. I do think the idea of 12 Tory MPs in Scotland is a bit far-fetched though.

  26. This is a Tory gain. Lamont is very well known and liked, he’s turned the Holyrood equivalent into a safe heartland.

    Frankly, the three border seats are all surely sure-fire Tory gains at this point.

  27. I wonder if Calum Kerr would fight Lamonts Holyrood seat?

    It would not necessarily be a Conservative hold. When Nicol Stephen won the Kincardine & Deeside by election the first sign that the Conservatives would regain that seat at the GE was the gain of Nicol Stephens vacated safe Lib Dem Grampian Regional Council division within the constituency.

  28. Yes this is one of the most nailed-on Tory gains anywhere in the country, let alone Scotland.

    Callum Kerr seemed quite a bright MP – but there’s nothing he can do about the political tide.

  29. Bhatia is a solid LD candidate, but won’t get anywhere near winning — in fact, they should fall back here.

    Lamont will win it in a walk. I could see him getting close to 50%.

  30. Con majority 12,000.

    John Lamont will be a good addition who commands respect in the house. Definitely cabinet material I believe.

  31. A tweleve thousnd majoirty seems a bit big. No more than 5 thousand Majoirty i predict.

  32. Tories should take over 50% of the vote here. Based on the latest opinion poll I think that BT Says is around the mark here actually.

  33. BM11 is probably closer to it, though I agree that Lamont could be Scotland secretary before long.

  34. I assume he only didn’t win last time as a few misguided people thought Michael Moore could hang on v the SNP.

    Pity the Tories don’t have more PPCs like this who increase the % and vote each time.

    These last minute selections in England and Wales will no doubt result in a few Keith Best-types winning seats.

  35. The Conservatives were ahead here on the 2015 Ashcroft constituency poll when David Mundell was projected to lose his seat.

    I assume that the Moore incumbency factor may have diverted some unionist votes. Personally, I found this an extraordinary SNP Gain anyway.

  36. Moore struck me as a decent guy — and probably a better Scotland secretary than Carmichael — but there was just no way he’d hang on. I don’t think he showed any interest in standing again, either.

  37. Did you? He always struck me as one of the slimiest of the Lib Dems, but ah well.

  38. People seem to be confusing Douglas Alexander and Danny Alexander. They are unrelated, although Douglas Alexander is the brother of Wendy Alexander.

  39. I disagreed with Douglas Alexander about almost everything, but he seems to have been a fantastically hardworking local MP.

  40. Douglas Alexander did indeed seem to be a decent guy and I was sorry to see him defeated.

    Danny Alexander on the other hand did indeed seem to be a complete slime ball and his defeat was one of the few highlights of 2015.

  41. Danny Alexander was a disgrace, the fact Clegg liked him so much illustrated that the LDs judgement wasn’t that brilliant.

  42. I’m still puzzled by the dislike of Danny Alexander. He seemed a genuine guy who didn’t make a lot of headlines, or speak out both sides of his mouth every other week like Vince Cable, but knuckled down and got on with the job.

    His sole crime seems to have been agreeing to a cabinet position with those evil Tories as part of what became known as ‘the quad’. In all the times he’s come up, I don’t recall a sensible evidence-based reason being given.

    Incidentally, IIRC he was one of only 2 LD MPs to increase his number of votes in 2015. As we know, most lost large chunks, especially outside Scotland.

  43. For me he was just an overpromoted nobody, rather than a slime ball. But I suppose he was pretty close to George Osborne, and if you didn’t like Osborne, well…

  44. Polltroll

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head actually. Added to what I said, he had a boss who was not only Tory but was actually a bit of a slimeball.

    Because they had a good working relationship and he didn’t publicly fall out with him or anything, somehow he was a slimeball not a ‘safe pair of hands’. Guilt by association.

    Had Hammond been his boss, he would still have been regarded as a LD traitor by the left, but not as strongly plus the harder right might not have minded him then.

  45. My problem with Alexander was mainly that I felt he represented the worst of the Lib Dems, strategically. Clegg should’ve sacked him early and promoted someone like Swinson: less Tory friendly, female, probably more charismatic.

  46. Danny Alexander did the job he was asked to do as well as he could with as little fuss as he could.

    The voters decided that they didn’t want Lib Dems who did that.

    It’s a little sad, to be honest. We ask politicians to put the country above party and personal ambition, and then kick them if they do it.

  47. Chris

    Your first sentence above sums him up well.

  48. By-election for the Scot Parl seat has been confirmed for the same date as the GE.

  49. Unionist parties with bookies are favorites in these constituencies
    Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine 1/5 (CON)
    Berwickshire Roxburgh Selkirk 1/6 (CON)
    Caithness Sutherland Easter Ross 10/11 (LD)
    Dumfries & Galloway 1/6 CON
    Dumfriesshire Clydesdale Tweeddale 1/6 (CON)
    Dunbartonshire East 4/6 (LD)
    Edinburgh South 6/5 (LAB)
    Edinburgh West 1/2 (LD)
    Fife North East 10/11 (LD)
    Orkney Shetland 2/7 (LD)
    Renfrewshire East 8/13 (CON)
    There are other seats where its very close with the bookies such as Sterling, Ochil & South Perthshire, Perth and North Perthshire etc.

  50. Unsurprisingly Con gain

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