East Dunbartonshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4727 (8.6%)
Labour: 6754 (12.3%)
Lib Dem: 19926 (36.3%)
SNP: 22093 (40.3%)
Green: 804 (1.5%)
UKIP: 567 (1%)
MAJORITY: 2167 (3.9%)

Category: Marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, West. Part of the East Dunbartonshire council area.

Main population centres: Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Milngavie, Lenzie.

Profile: East Dunbartonshire covers the rural hinterland and affluent commuter towns to the north of Glasgow. It is a desirable residential area with a high rate of owner-occupiers, favoured by Glasgow`s middle class professionals.

Politics: Dunbartonshire East was created in 2005, bringing together the more middle class parts of the old Strathkelvin and Bearsden and Clydebank and Milngavie seats. In England it would almost certainly have been a new Conservative seat, but in Scotland they languish in a poor fourth place. Between 2005 and 2015 it was held by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson who managed to keep most of her vote share in 2015, but managed to lose her seat anyway as Labour voters deserted en masse for the SNP.

Current MP
JOHN NICOLSON (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Former journalist. First elected as MP for Dunbartonshire East in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7431 (15%)
Lab: 16367 (34%)
LDem: 18551 (39%)
SNP: 5054 (11%)
Oth: 545 (1%)
MAJ: 2184 (5%)
Con: 7708 (16%)
Lab: 15472 (33%)
LDem: 19533 (42%)
SNP: 2716 (6%)
Oth: 1295 (3%)
MAJ: 4061 (9%)
Con: 6635 (16%)
Lab: 19250 (46%)
LDem: 7533 (18%)
SNP: 6675 (16%)
Oth: 1393 (3%)
MAJ: 11717 (28%)
Con: 9986 (20%)
Lab: 26278 (53%)
LDem: 4843 (10%)
SNP: 8111 (16%)
Oth: 494 (1%)
MAJ: 16292 (33%)

2015 Candidates
ANDREW POLSON (Conservative) Educated at Douglas Academy. Radio station manager.
AMANJIT JHUND (Labour) Born 1981, Glasgow. Educated at Edinburgh university. Doctor and entrepreneur. Contested Windsor 2010.
JO SWINSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1980, Milngavie. Educated at Douglas Academy and LSE. Marketing manager. Contested Hull East 2001 and Strathkelvin and Bearsden 2003 Scottish Parliament election. MP for East Dunbartonshire 2005 to 2015. Parliamentary under-secretary for business since 2012.
ROSS GREER (Green) Educated at Strathclyde University.
JOHN NICOLSON (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Journalist.
Comments - 603 Responses on “Dunbartonshire East”
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  1. The LD’s must have been looking at increasing the majority like Danny Alexander did in Inverness rather than go backwards in 2010. I get the impression Jo Swinton is toast here.

  2. Jo Swinson’s only hope really is squeezing the Tory vote and a hope of Labour to SNP defections. Although we don’t know what will happen post-referendum, of course.

  3. That is true. I would still except Labour to win this. I was surprised on election night that her majority fell back as I thought she was a popular MP (guess I was wrong!). 🙂

  4. “That is true. I would still except Labour to win this. I was surprised on election night that her majority fell back as I thought she was a popular MP (guess I was wrong!). ”

    There was a swing from Conservative to Labour in Scotland in 2010 that was evident in most constituencies (Dumfries & Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Ochil & South Perthshire with only a few places like DCT following the UK trend).

    I think the results in East Dunbartonshire will have been consistent with a shift of Conservative support over to Labour.

  5. Having knocked on doors in Jo’s patch, I suspect she’ll do better than the Labour party think she will. It’s worth bearing in mind that in 2010, they were still suffering the ramifications of having run the council and been obliterated in 2007.

    My hunch would be that Jo will hold on, just and this will be a major marginal in the next parliament as well.

  6. It may be worth nothing that Swinson had the first-time incumbency factor in 2010 and therefore won’t in 2015. This could make the difference in a close contest. Not sure that it will all that close though.

  7. I would imagine Labour would be the favourites to win here but the result could be close, and Swinson could hold on.
    Labour did particularly well in Scotland in 2010 due to Gordon Brown, who went down like a lead balloon in middle England.

    It is possible that Labour will do relatively worse in 2015 under David Miliband.

    Many of the Lib Dem constituency seats were wash outs at the 2011 Holyrood elections but I recall a period when the Lib Dem’s were consistently performing direly in Scottish Westminster and Holyrood by elections (usually coming 5th and being beaten by the Conservatives and the SSP in seats that they had previously come third).

    This was a reaction to them being the weaker partner in the Lab/ Lib Dem coalition at Holyrood, but they still recovered. So they could still recover from being part of the Con/ Lib Dem coalition at Westminster.

  8. One would expect Labour to win this fairly easily but on the other hand it is a rather esoteric seat in the context of Scottish politics.

  9. Changes 1983, (using notional 1979 result):

    Con: -10.06%
    Lab: -4.76%
    Alliance: +18.52%
    Others: -3.70%

  10. Dalek: are you planning to bring back David Miliband from the States for us to see?

  11. Those were the changes for Strathkelvin & Bearsden.

  12. Shows how in Scotland it was the Tories who suffered most as a result of the Alliance surge in stark contrast to the south of England.

  13. I defer to local knowledge but suspect it’ll go Labour by about 2-3,000

  14. If this was a Lib Dem seat in England I would say that they would have a good chance of holding the seat, but as it’s Scotland I predict that Labour will take it but by a small margin.

  15. The Tory performances here are very disappointing – I had hoped that on the back of a relatively good result in Bearsden in the 2007 elections, we might get a more respectable result – although still third.

  16. I think Jo might just hold on. Labour back in 2010 attempted to retake this seat and whilst they did reduce the vote share they failed completely to take the seat back. Jo has a good local profile as well.

  17. East Dunbartonshire 2012 Local Election Results –

    Lab 28.3 + 2.4
    SNP 25.4 + 7.2
    Con 15.4 – 6.1
    Lib Dem 14.9 – 3.0

    Generally, that Eastern part of this borough that shares its MP with Cumbernauld is more Labour but the strongly Conservative Lenzie is also omitted, so the Westminster constituency less Labour than the council area….but not massively so.

    As first sight, 14.9% is a very low base for Jo Swinson to come back from.

    The swing from Lib Dem to Labour between the 2007 and 2012 local elections is just 2.7%. A 2.7% swing at the general election would result in a Labour majority of just under 400, and with some tacticle voting, Swinson could hold on.

  18. To be fair, I think the Lib Dems only stood about 5 candidates in the Council Election in East Dunbartonshire, so such a low result is hardly surprising…..

  19. The Lib Dems appear to have being ‘playing it safe’ fielding a single candidate only in wards that they were certain of winning.

    The Conservatives on the other hand lost all three of their seats in the former Beasden & Milngavie part of the council, retaining two seats in what use to be Strathkelvin.

    The weakness of the Conservative vote in the most affluent part of the council area could be to Jo Swinson’s advantage.

  20. Dr Amanjit Jhund has been selected as the Labour candidate.

    This should be Labours best hope of a gain in Scotland.

    Does anyone out there know why the town is called DuMbarton but the county is DuNbartonshire?

  21. The result of the October 1974 election is very interesting:

    SNP 15 551
    CON 15 529
    LAB 15 122

    Does anyone know if this is the closest ever result between three parties?

  22. No it isn’t. That would almost certainly be Caithness & Sutherland in 1945. There were only about 50 votes between the Conservatives, who won, Labour who came in a fraction behind, and the Liberal leader Sir Archibald Sinclair who was the closest third in parliamentary history – unless I’m very much mistaken.

  23. That seat from 1974 and 1979 included Cumbernauld.
    There were some other changes aswell.

    It was actually won by the Conservatives in February 1974, but Labour in 1979 as they hoovered up a larger slice of the SNP vote than the Tories.

    And of course Milngavie, which was a Tory stronghold, (but has now fragmented about 4 way with the LDs probably dominant) was in Clydebank and Milngavie where it was heavily outvoted.

    This seat put Milngavie and Bearsden in the same seats from 2005 onwards.

    As I said before, I think Labour will probably gain this back but the LDs could give them a run for their money.

  24. It is pretty staggering that a seat which included Cumbernauld could ever have elected a Conservative MP. It is one of the Tories’ weakest towns anywhere in Britain where almost all voters vote either Labour or SNP.

  25. That is true but they may have had a few more votes in a smaller town in feb 74

  26. Cumbernauld was a New Town in 1974 taking in a lot of people from the Glasgow slum clearences and a lot of the old protestant-unionist vote may have carried over with it.

  27. “It is pretty staggering that a seat which included Cumbernauld could ever have elected a Conservative MP. It is one of the Tories’ weakest towns anywhere in Britain where almost all voters vote either Labour or SNP.”

    Cumbernauld is more SNP, as the solid Labour vote in Cumbernauld & Kilsyth came from Kilsyth that was previously in either West Stirlingshire or North Lanarkshire.

    The 1974 – 1983 East Dunbartonshire had lost Clydebank & Milngavie and had been reduced to Bearsden, Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld. Cumbernauld was swapped for Bishopbriggs in 1983.

  28. Cumbernauld must have voted SNP in the 1974 general elections, but given how easily Labour won Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & E Kirkintilloch in 2010 the town must have voted Labour, surely. I know it votes SNP in Holyrood elections. I accept that Kilsyth is more firmly Labour than Cumbernauld though. I have actually been to Cumbernauld once, since I had a friend who had gone from university to take a job there, but my visit was brief – we went off to Glasgow for a curry, in Hillhead.

  29. “Dr Amanjit Jhund has been selected as the Labour candidate.”

    Dr Jhund is from the Sikh community. There were 9,055 Sikhs in Scotland according to the 2011 census, which is 0.2% of the population.

  30. Labour also have a turban wearing Sikh Cllr here (Bearsden South ward)

    Juhnd is not turban wearing.

  31. If I’m not mistaken the Lib Dems also have Cllr Ashay Ghai here who I think is a Sikh. I’d imagine this area would be quite popular with middle class Sikhs.

    I think Labour will take this one by around 2000.

  32. I’m sure that were this seat in England, Labour would have no chance. Only the far east of the constituency seems to be naturally predominantly Labour. But this is Scotland, where (at least in the areas within reach of the major cities) things are very different.

  33. I agree Barnaby, Labour would only have a chance here in a 1997 situation, if this seat were in the south of England.

    I do however, think there could be a small Tory recovery here, possibly up by 3 or 4%, lets not forget the Tories topped the poll here in 2007.

  34. Labour won’t mind in the least if that happens, because such an increase would be far more at Swinson’s expense than at theirs.

  35. I do however, think there could be a small Tory recovery here, possibly up by 3 or 4%, lets not forget the Tories topped the poll here in 2007.

    Which poll was that?

  36. Local elections in 2007

  37. 2015 Most likely

    Lab 37% +3%
    *LD 33% -6%
    Con 15%
    SNP 12% +1%
    UKIP 1.5% +0.5%
    Green 1.5%

    Lab GAIN

  38. Labour: 15000
    Lib Dem: 12000
    SNP: 10500
    Conservative: 9500
    UKIP: 1000
    MAJORITY: 3000

    I think the Conservative vote here could rise as there will be huge centre-right tactical voting here that will unwind. Because Centre Right voters will no longer see the Lib Dems as an effective vehicle to keep Labour out.

    Labour could win comfortably here with the votes that they polled in 2005…..a majority of 3000 with less than a third of the vote as the opposition vote of nearly 70% is evenly split.

  39. I’d be surprised to see the SNP vote rise by that much.

  40. Kingtut, have you ever seen Cllr Ghai? Don’t Sikhs wear turbans and beards? FYI, Cllr Ghai is a Hindu. Incidentally, Cllr Ghai made himself (and the Lib Dems) very unpopular in Bearsden when he pushed very strongly for the closure of a local primary school.

    Fascinating reading all these predictions but what do they come from? Mere guesswork, I would suggest. To all those commenting on the situation in East Dunbartonshire, I have two questions:
    How much literature delivery and door-knocking have the Lib Dems done in East Dunbartonshire over the last six months?
    How much literature delivery and door-knocking have Labour done in East Dunbartonshire over the last six months?
    Going by what’s happened in my neck of ED, the answer to the first question is, quite a bit, and the answer to the second question is SFA.
    Labour seem to be making exactly the same mistake as in 2005 and 2010; that they can win by doing virtually nothing. If you were to ask anybody in ED who the Labour candidate is I bet that 99% would say that they haven’t a clue. On the other hand Ms Swinson has a very high profile. Labour here seems to be run by a bunch of dummies.

    One thing about ED is that in recent years people have voted quite differently for different elections. In 2007 the Lib Dems got mauled in the local elections but went on to hold the constituency on the 2010 General Election. So the fact that they got totally thumped in the 2012 local elections may not necessarily amount to much when it comes to 2015. Similarly, the Lib Dems got trounced in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections (all over Scotland) but anyone attempting to predict the result of the 2015 General Election in ED on that basis is a very brave person.

  41. This is not a political comment so it does not need to appear on the blog.
    I registered my details so that I could make a comment. I see that my comment has been accepted. However, despite being told that an email would be sent to me in order for my details to be registered I have received no such email. When logging in it said that my registration details might become vacant in a few days. Was an email sent to me?

  42. I also recall the Lib Dems consistently coming 4th and 5th in series of Westminster and Holyrood by elections during the 1999 to 2003 Holyrood parliament and then going on to gain seats in 2003.

    I also recall the Lib Dems holding Rochdale, Liverpool Mossley Hill and Southwark & Bermondsey (9000 + majority) against all expectations in 1992.

    I could see the Lib Dems holding 40 seats…and not dropping to 20 as polls suggest.

  43. Very difficult to see a Lib Dem hold here in 12 months time.

    In this seat, as in many others in Scotland, the Tories must be down to a hard core vote which won’t do anything other than remain loyal to them. The Lib Dems will be very hard pressed to squeeze it any further.

    It’s quite possible than Jo Swinson and husband Duncan Hames will both find themselves looking for new jobs come 2015.

  44. ladbrokes;

    labour 1/2
    ld 6/4

    feels about right.

  45. Dalek,

    I agree the lib dems could get 40 seats. I think they won’t go below 37, to be honest. Unfortunately, this is one of the 17-20 I think they’ll lose.

  46. As I’ve said a lot, I think they’ll get 35-45, and quite possibly at the high end of that. This one is tricky. On paper, it’s one of around 10 that seem like sure losses, but I think Jo Swinson will do better than expected. Lose, sure, but not by too much. I wonder if there could be a way back into the Commons for her if she stood again in 2020.

  47. If the soft Tories back Dems here Swinton could hold on –

    The local election results have been not as dire here for the Lib Dems than many of their more secure seats.
    LD 17000
    Lab 15000
    SNP 10500
    Con 4500

  48. You’re predicting virtually a zero swing from LD to Lab. I think that’s virtually inconceivable in a seat where the latter is the main challenger to the former barring some huge special factor in present circumstances. Plus, Swinson will lose her first-time incumbency boost which makes it even more difficult. The LDs will certainly attempt to squeeze the Tory vote, but even in such a middle-class area there should be comfortably enough direct switchers from LD to Lab (especially in a seat where the SNP patently have no chance) for the latter to gain the seat.

  49. I do think that this will be a Labour gain, but much closer than many think.
    Resources will be spent here rather than in Glasgow North this time, and Swinson seems a popular incumbent.

  50. Local election results showed the Lib Dems performing much better than in places like Edinburgh.

    Swinton did not get a boost to her majority due to the 2010 Brown bounce – in fact it was halved. The Conservative polled very poorly in the former Bearsden & Milngavie DC area at the expense of the Lib Dems.

    The scenario I considered was 2000 Lib Dems going directly to Labour but 2000 Tories going to the Lib Dems and 2000 Labour voters going to the SNP.

    If you consider Liverpool Mossley Hill in 1987 and 1992 David Alton won by squeezing the Conservative vote despite loosing 1000s of votes to Labour.

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