Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill

2015 Result:
Conservative: 3209 (6.3%)
Labour: 17195 (33.9%)
Lib Dem: 549 (1.1%)
SNP: 28696 (56.6%)
UKIP: 1049 (2.1%)
MAJORITY: 11501 (22.7%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

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

Main population centres: Coatbridge, Chryston, Bellshill, Muirhead.

Profile: A gritty working class seat to the east of Glasgow, covering the former coal and towns of Coatbridge and Bellshill and the semi-rural hinterland of Glasgow. In the nineteenth century this was the industrial heartland of Scotland, built on iron, coal and large scale Irish and Lithuanian immigration to work in the ironworks. With the exhaustion of the coal mines the area went into long term decline, though it remains an industrial area. Its history of links to Ireland remain in the St Patricks festival, the largest Irish celebration in Scotland, and in the area`s high proportion of Roman Catholics.

Politics: This seat was monolithically Labour, one of their safest seats in the country until the 2015 SNP landslide. At a local level politics has an interesting history - until Scottish local government was reorganised in 1996 Coatbridge was part of the Monklands council with the largely protestant Airdrie, leading to a scandal known as Monklandsgate where the catholic dominated Labour leadership of the council was accused of favouring Coatbridge for sectarian reasons, charges they were later cleared of.

Current MP
PHIL BOSWELL (SNP) Born Coatbridge. Former quantity surveyor. First elected as MP for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 3374 (8%)
Lab: 27728 (67%)
LDem: 3519 (8%)
SNP: 7014 (17%)
MAJ: 20714 (50%)
Con: 2775 (7%)
Lab: 24725 (64%)
LDem: 4605 (12%)
SNP: 5206 (14%)
Oth: 1033 (3%)
MAJ: 19519 (51%)
Con: 2171 (7%)
Lab: 19807 (65%)
LDem: 2293 (8%)
SNP: 4493 (15%)
Oth: 1547 (5%)
MAJ: 15314 (51%)
Con: 3216 (9%)
Lab: 25697 (68%)
LDem: 2048 (5%)
SNP: 6402 (17%)
Oth: 249 (1%)
MAJ: 19295 (51%)

2015 Candidates
MHAIRI FRASER (Conservative) Parliamentary researcher and former journalist.
TOM CLARKE (Labour) Born 1941, Coatbridge. Educated at Columba High School, Coatbridge and Scottish College of Commerce. Coatbridge councillor 1964-1973, Monklands councillor 1973-1982. MP for Coatbridge and Airdrie 1982 by-election to 2015. Shadow Scottish secretary 1992-1993. Minister of State for film and tourism 1997-1998. Awarded the CBE for services to local government 1980.
ROBERT SIMPSON (Liberal Democrat)
PHIL BOSWELL (SNP) Born Coatbridge. Quantity surveyor.
Comments - 84 Responses on “Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill”
  1. Labour had to make do with merely 78.8% of first-preference votes in a by-election in Coatbridge West electoral division yesterday 🙂 – it’s 4% up on last year’s local elections.

  2. ** Posted on the Falkirk page but hasn’t appear in recent comments **

    Has anyone done that new ‘class calculator’ ?

    There are seven new social classes apparantly:

    Established middle class
    Technical middle class
    New affluent workers
    Traditional working class
    Emergent service workers

    Falkirk is the top location for one of these groups.

    Can you guess which?

    North Lanarkshire comes third in the same category.

  3. Forecast for 2015

    Lab 68
    SNP 21
    Con 6
    LD 1.5
    Others 3.5

  4. Prediction for 2015-
    Labour- 64%
    SNP- 23%
    Conservative- 7%
    Liberal Democrat- 4%
    UKIP- 1%
    Others- 1%

  5. On a point of methodology, how do we know that Ashcroft’s constituency pools are representative within each seat?

    That is to say, Coatbridge and Bellshill have different dialling codes: so can we be certain that Ashcroft has polled voters in both the pro-independence Coatbridge and the indy-sceptic Bellshill?

  6. *constituency polls, I of course mean to say.

  7. Ashcroft polling: SNP 46%, Lab 43%. That’s a swing of 26.5%.

  8. Labour has a good chance of holding this, if the SNP are only 3% ahead. Although the fact that we are discussing a possible loss is frankly mind-boggling.

    I don’t know what to make of it.
    Will people drift back to Labour to stop the Conservatives, or will they think ‘Why should I? The SNP will stick up for Scotland at Westminster’.

    Ashcroft has stated this was ‘[His] first round of Scottish constituency research’.
    Hopefully we’ll get other Labour seats, and Lib Dem ones, to see just how extensive this SNP surge is.

  9. could be very close judging from the ashcroft poll. tom clarke must have a bit of a personal vote after 33 years & l certainly wouldn’t rule out a labour hold at this stage.

  10. Hard to say there’s a clear favourite now in this seat. Not sure that Tom Clarke is the sort who’ll have a huge personal vote – possibly more respected then genuinely liked, and there does seem to be a phenomenon generally of older MPs getting somewhat poorer results.

  11. According to the Edinburgh University referendum study that is being released today, 56% of Catholics voted yes* in the referendum. That number may be particularly relevant in Coatbridge, which is well known in Scotland for having a large concentration of Irish Catholic population.

    *by way of comparison, yes scored 54% with atheists, 18% Anglican, 41% Church of Scotland and 49% with “others”.

  12. It would be interesting to see how much of a difference remained when you control for other factors. For example, the Catholic population is concentrated more in west central Scotland, which was more pro-Yes than the country as a whole in any event, while the CoS population is probably spread out more evenly, but is older than average, so you would expect a somewhat lower Yes vote from that group than the country as a whole.

  13. The Daily Record has conducted a survey of nearly 3000 people that found that majority of indigenous Scots actually voted in favour of independence while over 75% of non-indigenous people living in Scotland (English, Welsh and other nationalities) voted No.

    I would imagine that the four local council areas where the YES vote (even accepting that much of Glasgow is more cosmopolitan) would have had the highest concentrations of indigenous Scots.

  14. I’d have to think that Glasgow and probably Dundee too are not in the four areas with the highest proportions of indigenous Scots, just because cities tend to be more cosmopolitan, and have higher proportions of ethnic minorities. I’d suggest that most of the urban areas around Glasgow would probably have the highest proportions of indigenous Scots.

  15. dundee is probably the least cosmopolitan of scotland’s major cities.

  16. There is one wrinkle about this “indigenous Scots” thing, which is that people born outside the UK were more likely to vote yes (43%) than people born in the rest of the UK (28%). The yes% of people born outside the UK isn’t significantly lower than the population as a whole (45%).

    So what you’re looking for in this context is areas with people born in the rest of the UK, rather than specifically people born in Scotland. I would have thought the most obvious areas would be the border regions. Edinburgh and St Andrews also have significant rUK student populations.

  17. @Dalek

    Just to clarify, it was an Edinburgh University study funded by the Economic & Social Research Council. They used YouGov to carry out the research. Daily Record is only reporting on it.

  18. Well that’s the sort of thing that will cheer up the ‘settler watch’ types and the rest of the extreme Nat fringe.

  19. Age explains a lot of this.

    Many of the people “born elsewhere in the UK” will be retired….certainly in many of the more genteel parts of Scotland you can’t move for middle class English retirees.

    Older and retired people were massively less likely to vote Yes than the young….perhaps because they feared that independence would fuck up their pension (and that’s not an unreasonable assumption).

    A lot of the people born outside of the UK will be young migrants.

  20. This constituency is proof that there’s no such thing as a safe seat.

  21. Simon,
    It’s not totally clear from what you say but are you mixing up the terms ’non-indigenous Scots’ and ‘ethnic minorities’. I take ‘non-indigenous Scots’ to mean people who were not born in Scotland whereas ‘ethnic minorities’ to refer to people who are not classified as ‘White’. So somebody described as ‘Asian’ could well be an indigenous Scot if he was born in Scotland.
    I’ve tried to find out the figures from the 2011 Census but have had no great success. (Maybe somebody else can do better.) The best data I could find dated from 2001.
    According to data from 2001, of the ten areas in Scotland with the highest proportion of Scottish-born people, five were in Glasgow. The other five were near to Glasgow.

  22. good grief, the SNP have a decent chance of winning here?!

  23. Labour is likely to.hold this seat; the Ashcroft poll is within the margin of error, a large number of SNP.voters are among people who usually don’t vote and, without the intensity of the referendum, many are likely to revert to form.
    Tom Clarke is well established, has a strong local party and is popular among the Catholic community. He was no Blairite and is a tough campaigner.
    I might be wrong, but I don’t think so.

  24. Agreed. The SNP will do well, but not well enough to take this seat.

  25. Time will tell…

  26. Saw both SNP and Labour campaigners out in force in Coatbridge today…there was quite a lot of SNP presence for what should be unwinnable labour seat, but they are looking very upbeat.

    If SNP do win this, there wont be many labour mps left in Scotland

  27. John Harris has done a film on this seat for his ‘Anywhere but Westminster’ series. Quite good. Seems as though here, as much as anywhere, Labour is reluctant to admit there is even a problem.

  28. I understand that political parties must always appear upbeat but maybe if some of them, particularly Labour and LD, admitted there was a problem it might encourage some of their fair weather supporters out on polling day. Heard Danny Alexander on PM talking about his constituency. The man just sounded deluded!

  29. Maybe that’s why he leaked the Tory benefits policy info today. He knows he’s not going to be needing a job in any coalition next week.

  30. UKIP may fancy their chances of beating the LDs here.

  31. Labour Hold.

  32. Well after the swingometer crashing the result here this constituency is now listed as ‘Safe SNP seat.’
    I think your view on the immediate future of Central Scottish politics is revealed by your reaction to this.
    Do you say “11500 is what I call a safe seat, SNP till 2025 minimum” or do you say “Coatbridge an SNP seat?????? Labour straight back as soon as sanity returns”
    The answer to this question probably governs who you think should lead Scottish Labour (Labour supporters that is obviously) and Labour in the UK.
    Isn’t it a version of the question that must have confronted Conservatives in Hove in 1997?

  33. Just read this on the BBC

  34. This will probably leave the SNP with 53 MPs, which is embarrassing but not really covered in the press, who seem more focused on demeaning unionist MPs to appease nationalist viewers – and subsequently avoid claims of political bias from the SNP ranks. An easy way to qualify this would be by comparing all three SNP scandals with Carmichael’s scandal.

  35. One crooked MP is unfortunate, two suggests a pattern, three is downright suspicious…

  36. And four ?

    (Edinburgh West MP, Glasgow East MP, East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow MP, Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill MP)?

  37. I’d be very surprised if the whip is removed in this case. Assuming the tax issue is all both declared and within the law, it’s no more than a couple of days of bad press. Failing to declare a directorship is probably a slap on the wrist, especially as he’s claiming to have sought guidance from the Parliamentary authorities, unless there’s more to come out.

    The Lisa Cameron case is just the Mail doing what the Mail does.

    Also it might be wise to refrain from calling people crooked until allegations are actually proven. Libel laws and all that…

  38. according to the Motherwell Times, Phil Boswell is considering quitting

  39. apologies.

  40. More expenses scandals by this MP in the press.

    Apparently he’s claiming £1,500 pcm twice: for both a smart rural pad in Scotland as well as a London hotel.

  41. Local coucil by-election due in Coatbridge North & Glenboig for Thursday 22 September. This could be a Labour gain in spite of a Yes vote in the area back in 2014…

  42. Coatbridge North and Glenboig local council by-election today.

  43. Coatbridge North and Glenboig by-election LAB gain from SNP.

    Remember this was Yes territory back in 2014.

    First preference vote:
    * Labour – 1,350 (41.7%)
    * Scottish National – 1,261 (39.0%)
    * Conservative – 366 (11.3%)
    * Green – 195 (6.0%)
    * UK Independence Party – 63 (1.9%)

    Change from 2012:
    * Labour -11.3
    * Scottish National +8.2
    * Conservative + 5.3

  44. Again this is consistent with what we’ve seen so far since the EU referendum: Labour performing well across the Central Belt in local by-elections held in areas of traditional Labour strength (Irvine West, the Lochs etc), the SNP falling back significantly from the independence referendum result, the Conservatives up by a greater extent to 2016.

    The real test to see how consistent this is across the country will be to see how the vote holds up in more affluent areas (I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the Inverurie & District by-election in Aberdeenshire).

  45. Concerning the Coatbridge council election, it only makes sense to compare like with like. Also, I thought everyone had grasped by now that this SNP loss is a consequence of the odd but inevitable effect of using STV in by elections.

    The SNP support is up 8.2%. This means the SNP are on track to have their best ever result in the Scottish local elections in 2017, including the retaking of this seat on similar votes as achieved this week.

    NTY UK saying “SNP falling back significantly from the independence referendum result” is a poor piece of analysis as the SNP were not on that ballot paper

  46. “Yes it’ll be an indicator for whether the Tories are going to supplant the LDs in that part of Aberdeenshire in future”

    I think that’s pretty much decided, more interesting to see how the SNP vote goes around here.

    “NTY UK saying “SNP falling back significantly from the independence referendum result” is a poor piece of analysis as the SNP were not on that ballot paper”

    Ok re-wording that: fallen back significantly from the 2015 and 2016 elections 🙂

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