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”
  1. Yes, she’d be the right tone, I think.

  2. I’m not surprised.

  3. With Charles Kennedy the Lib Dems came second in Scotland 2005 in both seats and the popular vote.

    Would Swinson further fragment the Unionist vote or also attract YES voters across Scotland?

  4. You seriously think boundary reviews are going through this Parliament?! No chance.

  5. Plop
    I thought we all agreed the BR is dead for the foreseeable future

  6. And as for golden girl Ruth…the Scottish electorate have proved themselves to be nothing if not very fickle during recent elections. From a virtual one party state in 2015 to 56 of 59 Scottish seats being marginal in 2017…nothing can be guaranteed.

    Davidson should enjoy her honeymoon period while she can.

  7. The boundary changes turned the SNP majority of around 2000 into an SNP majority of 9000. Given Swinson won by around 3000 then the notional SNP majority would be around 4000 before you consider the switch from SNP to Labour in Kirkintilloch East so the notional SNP majority could be as little as 2000….something that Swinson could overturn in the way that Sturgeon did in the notionally Labour Glasgow Southside in 2011.

  8. Electoral Calculus thinks that Swinson has the notional majority in the new Milngavie and Kirkintilloch. Their shares:
    LIB 17,803 32.5%
    NAT 17,423 31.8%
    LAB 10,421 19.0%
    CON 8,979 16.4%
    UKIP 204 0.4%

    (Hope that formatting works out.)

    But I agree, the changes won’t go through this parliament.

  9. Seems wrong. Swinson will have been well ahead in Bearsden considering it’s the most unionist part of the seat. The areas the constituency is to pick up is solid SNP territory in eastern Kirkintilloch.

    Considering the existing division was approximately 65% No in the independence referendum while the new constituency was likely 60% No it’s extremely unlikely that the SNP would only be up 1.5% in the new constituency…

  10. Hard to tell what will happen next in Scotland.
    On balance, I think the SNP will go back further, possibly at an accelerating rate in seats if not votes.
    If the Tories can get over their disappointment of the UK wide election, they can be the ones to capitalise on the SNPs problems and maybe even challenge here or another seat based around it.
    Whatever it is, I think we can say Indy Ref 2 is probably dead, although sometimes these battles have to be rewon,.

  11. I think that in the next General Election there will be no such thing as “solid SNP territory”

    Just my prediction! However the big winners will be Labour, not the Tories, who only have a few seats they can still win I would have thought….

  12. @ Andrew111 – that may be, I’m just saying that at this election the seat clearly went SNP and eastern Kirkintilloch was comfortably SNP.

  13. re. the boundary review. Would not be surprised to see it pushed through everywhere but Northern Ireland….

  14. “there will be no such thing as “solid SNP territory”….(snip)… However the big winners will be Labour, not the Tories, who only have a few seats they can still win I would have thought….”

    That’s a very good point, which I hope NTY will comment on, given his accurate predictions for the GE.

    Nearly half of the seats the Tories won in Scotland last week have been Labour-held in the recent past – E.Renfrewshire, Dumfries & G, Ayr/Carrick, Aberdeen S, Ochil – surely there must be a threat that Labour win them back if the Labour revival north of the border continues (along with the decline in national fortunes of the Tories).

  15. The rumor about Ruth Davidson splitting from the Westminster party, while almost certainly untrue, would probably be electorally beneficial to the Tories.

  16. NTY UK – the electoral calculus notional actually looks fairly reasonable. It does indeed have Swinson overwhelmingly ahead in Milngavie and Bearsden, but also narrowly ahead in Lenzie and north Bishopbriggs. It then has Labour ahead in Eastern Kirkintilloch (narrowly), with SNP strength coming from big wins in Cumbernauld. This looks very likely to me.

  17. “re. the boundary review. Would not be surprised to see it pushed through everywhere but Northern Ireland….”
    “I think the Tories will just abandon the NI review.”

    They wish but sadly for the Cons you can’t pick and choose where a boundary review takes place, its either done nationally or not done at all. Making NI a special case would be seen as a blatant partisan move and the Tories wouldn’t be so brazen as to try and get away with it.

    The more important issue though is that apparently in light of last weeks result the BR is no longer of huge benefit to the Cons. Electoral Calculus did some seat calculations and they predict that Lab would lose 17 seats to the Cons 20 losses, that’s quite the turnaround.

    What’s more that doesn’t even factor in that any future hypothetical review (especially one that excludes NI) would have to start from scratch therefore using the new electoral register which has seen over 2 million more people signed up (mostly in Lab seats) after the registration drive. That means the potential damage that can be inflicted on Lab is limited, for example here in Liverpool the previously undersized Liverpool Riverside in now overpopulated in light of the mass registration of students and transient voters.

    Thus all this means that even if the Cons tried to implement a review that left NI alone it probably wouldn’t help them much if at all and thus would likely just be blocked by their rebellious backbenchers who lose out.

  18. Hemmy: “Nearly half of the seats the Tories won in Scotland last week have been Labour-held in the recent past – E.Renfrewshire, Dumfries & G, Ayr/Carrick, Aberdeen S, Ochil – surely there must be a threat that Labour win them back if the Labour revival north of the border continues”.

    You’re probably right, though I suspect they would need two electoral cycles – one to climb into second place before they establish themselves as the anti-Tory option.

  19. @Plopwellian Tory-
    “I think the Tories will just abandon the NI review.”

    They may well abandon the review altogether as a concession for the DUP (as the proposed boundary changes will hurt the unionists in Northern Ireland considerably, and won’t have a significant impact on the Conservatives across the UK). The Boundary Commission will present their recommendations on a UK-wide basis, which the British Parliament will then vote on and accept or reject accordingly. Accepting/rejecting the final proposals on a region-by-region basis defeats the purpose of having a Boundary Review in the first place, whose sole purpose is to improve electorate parity across all parts of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately I strongly suspect that the Review will now be shafted again in the electoral interests of the Conservative Party and the DUP, it would require the support of both the Conservatives and Labour to have a chance of passing through Parliament – so even if the Conservatives completely ignore the DUP and push for the boundary changes it’s still unlikely to happen as the Parliamentary Labour Party considers the Conservative manifesto to be illegitimated by the results of the general election…

    “Nearly half of the seats the Tories won in Scotland last week have been Labour-held in the recent past – E.Renfrewshire, Dumfries & G, Ayr/Carrick, Aberdeen S, Ochil – surely there must be a threat that Labour win them back if the Labour revival north of the border continues (along with the decline in national fortunes of the Tories).”

    Yes I do believe that the Conservatives are at risk in places should Labour manage a significant revival north of the border, though in many of the constituencies mentioned where previously it had been Labour excelling in the deprived areas and the Conservatives barely managing to poll ahead in rural/suburban areas, it is now the Conservatives who are solidly ahead in the suburbs and rural areas and the SNP who are fighting it out with Labour in more deprived areas.

    I’m sceptical that the Conservatives will fall back into significant decline again for a while knowing that they cannot rely on their Scottish vote indefinitely and will need to work hard at maintaining their current position, however that does not mean to say that they won’t be hard-pressed in some of the constituencies you’ve mentioned.

    In Aberdeen South, the Conservatives absolutely dominated most parts of the constituency at the general election, from the West End down towards Peterculter and also polling well in places like Cove Bay and Ferryhill. Before the referendum these areas were mostly Liberal Democrat-voting, with the Conservatives just managing to scrape ahead in patches like see Seafield. With the Conservatives now so dominant in virtually all of the constituency it’s difficult for me to see either the SNP or Labour making a significant comeback here off the vote in Torry and Kincorth alone. I think that this is quite a secure seat for the Conservatives for the time being.

    Similarly, Dumfries & Galloway looks set to become quite a reliable constituency for the Conservatives who are dominant in Galloway and polling reasonably well ahead in Dumfries (traditionally a Labour stronghold). Given the fact that Labour have been virtually wiped out in Galloway and aren’t even managing to poll second in Dumfries it’s hard to imagine this suddenly flipping over to either the SNP or Labour any time soon. The SNP would need to start challenging the Conservatives in Galloway for there to be any chance of Labour slipping through via their prior dominance in Dumfries, which is unlikely in the present circumstances given how solidly Conservative Galloway now is.

    Before the general election the Conservatives barely managed to come first in the South Perthshire side of Ochil & South Perthshire as well. Now they’re absolutely dominant in that part of the world. Given that Clackmannanshire has traditionally been a Labour-SNP marginal as opposed to an area of reliable Labour strength it’s difficult for me to envisage that constituency turning red any time soon as well without the Conservative vote in South Perthshire first collapsing to the SNP (or another party), as Labour would need to make very significant gains in Clackmannanshire, more so than in past elections, to be in with any chance of outnumbering the solid Tory vote in South Perthshire and Dollar. I don’t think that it’s likely for the time being.

    A more interesting one would be somewhere like East Renfrewshire, where Labour are still vaguely present in Barrhead and in certain suburbs such as Giffnock and Thornliebank. With a strong comeback thorough-out Greater Glasgow this one could come into play for a centre-leaning Labour Party as it has done in the past I would say.

    Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock would most certainly be at risk to a Labour come-back, at least until Boundary changes move the East Ayrshire parts of the constituency out from the seat and bring back Prestwick and Troon in with Ayr (with those changes it would become a very reliable Conservative seat). As my home constituency I do have a bit more knowledge about the seat and how it voted last week. It was a very polarised result: the Conservatives came well ahead in Ayr and also managed to come ahead in Carrick on a much slimmer margin, whilst Labour were ahead in Cumnock and its surrounding areas, the SNP in second place across the constituency. Labour polled very badly in Ayr and Carrick, but it is the sort of area where they can make a strong recovery back up into a fairly distant second place (more so than in many other parts of the country I would say). The problem lies with Cumnock and its surroundings: Labour polled ahead there, by about 5% of the vote. It was religiously Labour before 2011, with some areas returning Labour with upwards of 80% of the vote. If we return to those times and the constituency boundaries remain unchanged then Labour would have a strong chance of gaining the seat.

  20. Obviously the Conservatives are also at risk in Stirling, but I thought that one was fairly obvious considering the margin which it was won by !

  21. Why are we talking about Labour re-establishing themselves as the dominant party of Scottish politics? They have just had their second worst result since 1945 in an election where they were beaten into third place in seats and share of the vote. While the UK Labour vote increased by nearly 10% their share did not even increase by 3% in Scotland.

    This was a catastrophic result for Labour where they failed to regain most ultra Labour seats lost in 2015.

  22. Dalek
    With respect that’s a bit melodramatic, most peeps were very much expecting (in light of the Tory surge in Scotland) that Lab would be lucky to hold onto what it had let alone advance further. For them to now hold the safest seat in Scotland (Edinburgh South) and have gained six other seats and to have come so close in many others is an achievement.

    One can’t look to pre 2015 and say “compared to those years this was rubbish” yes compared to them it was but 2015 was a complete game changer that made most believe that the days of Scotland being a Lab heartland were long gone never to return. what last week showed us though was that perhaps Scotland isn’t the lost cause we thought it was, the shoots of recovery are there put it that way and the very fact that we are talking about “Labour re-establishing themselves as the dominant party of Scottish politics” shows its now actually a distinct possibility, something you;d have been laughed at for suggesting a week ago.

  23. Quite.

    Even the Yougov nowcast, which was almost perfect in every other regard, didn’t foresee Labour making gains in Scotland.

    I do wonder whether the “natural” level of SNP support is a little bit higher than this election would suggest, and nationalists were just suffering a bit from voter fatigue. But overall the direction of travel is definitely towards the union, for a few reasons:

    1) The SNP’s record in government is beginning to show a few cracks – particularly its record on education. Scotland still, in spite of free tuition, has fewer disadvantaged kids going to university than England. The collapsing school buildings in Edinburgh and Aberdeen are an unfortunately damning metaphor.

    2) Ruth Davidson is arguably the most effective political campaigner in the country right now (Jeremy Corbyn obviously did phenomenally well in the GE but he had a whole movement behind him; Ruth has done everything pretty much by herself).

    3) Labour’s recovery, both north and south of the border, means the SNP can’t peddle the “independence or Tory rule” line*.

    *Someone on UKPR, I think it was Rivers, said that in a hypothetical world where England was in the sweep of a Bolivarian revolution, the SNP would pose as Randian anarcho-capitalists just for political expediency. We might be seeing his hypothesis tested sooner than he expected.

  24. Whereas in 2015 it crudely seems to have been the case that the more working class the constituency the greater the swing against Scottish Labour, this time they seem to have bounced back best in the most working class seats.

    Why? Perhaps Corbyn did appeal to left-wing voters in the likes of Glasgow NE and Coatbridge in a way that Miliband/Murphy didn’t. If so this is something he said he would do in 2015 and which many, myself inclyded, doubted he could actually deliver on. I also suspect these voters may have been more disillusioned with the SNP’s record than more middle class voters for whom independence and opposition to Brexit is more of a priority.

    On Dalek’s point I agree with Rivers. Scottish Lab were almost 4th I the polls a few months ago so to have 7 seats, be only just behind the Tories and to be back in contention in most of their ex-seats is a great result.

  25. It’s really a two-party system, SNP versus “other”, where “other” depends on the seat. The SNP are first or second in every constituency, though not inconceivable that the likes of East Renfrewshire will be essentially Con/Lab battles within a decade or so.

  26. Eh….there seems to be logic here compair the largest SNP victory/ Labour defeat with the second best SNP victory/ Labour defeat and claim this is a great Labour victory.

    If Celtic beat Rangers on year by 9 to 2 and then in another year Celtic beat Rangers by 7 to 4 would this be a great victory for Rangers? 🙂

  27. @ Dalek – It’s important to take the result in context. The SNP absolutely dominated the vote across Scotland last time around as they were expected to do, and they did so again in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

    Based on the trajectory of the opinion polls and the 2017 local elections Labour were expected to take two seats (four at the very most). Taking seven seats in heavily working class areas like Coatbridge and Glasgow North East (which had a thumping SNP majority last time around and voted 57% Yes in the independence referendum), Labour really did overcome everybody’s expectations. The SNP started this election campaign from a base of 45% of the vote off the back of the independence referendum, it was a shock to see them slip down to 42% in the opinion polls and a much bigger shock to see them taking only 37% of the vote in Scotland with 35 seats, in an election where they were widely anticipated to retain more than 50 seats!!

    The party were extremely complacent that they would take a majority of Scottish seats by suggesting taking it for granted and saying it would give them a mandate for another referendum, before the election! A swing of less than 0.5% to Labour across Scotland would have left them with just 28 seats, less than the 30 seats required for a majority than Scotland.

    This was a disaster for them. They’ve gone from 56 seats and 50.0% of the vote to 35 seats (-21) and 36.9% (-13.1) of the vote. Disguising as something else is a downright lie. Yes took 45% of the vote in the independence referendum. This does not give them any kind of mandate for another independence referendum, and suggests that another independence referendum would be an uphill struggle for the party (the unionists in this election on a turnout of 66% actually took more votes than the yes camp did in 2014!)

  28. Agreed. Disaster for SNP. Betting markets never had SNP seats much below45 during the whole campaign. 35 was way below expectations…

  29. There seems to be some doubts as to whether Jo Swinson will stand for leader.

  30. “…nothing close to the £500 I made on Gordon.”

    Yeah I seem to remember utterly roasting you when you said that the Conservatives might actually win that seat. It ended up being the biggest swing of the night!

    I’m really bored of all the humble pie I’ve had to eat recently…

  31. £500? What price did you get?

  32. Gordon odds were 10/1

  33. Mark Pack’s survey suggests Swinson big favourite for LD leadership if she runs http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4761a1f83089fd89eba4fef19&id=d608adefa6&e=%5BUNIQID%5D

  34. Odds in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock were 9/1 at first and went down to 9/2 later on in the campaign.

    Banff and Buchan was something like 4/1 I believe.

  35. Swinson NOT running. Leaves a wide open, and it must be fairly uninspiring, field.

  36. So its Lamb and Cable then?

    Sounds like a really crap pub…

  37. Definitely wide open. Cable is the best known Lib Dem but not sure if he’d want to stand.

    Tom Brake possibly, but his seat’s quite marginal so might not want to risk it.

    Norman Lamb or Alistair Carmichael?

  38. Cable – Surely not at 74. Plus I think the time when he was a major asset has passed.

    Lamb – Unsuccessful in 2015, though didn’t disgrace himself. His position on Brexit (abstained on A50, has sometimes said he doesn’t support a 2nd referendum) a hard sell with the new LD membership.

    Davey – Not particularly inspiring, and lots of coalition baggage. Has spent his time out of parliament going through the revolving door in the energy world.

    Brake – Stalwart of LD parliamentary party, but not sure he’s leadership material.

    Carmichael – Think he’s ruled himself out.

    Lloyd – Has built his career on focusing on local issues. No experience as a national spokesperson.

    The four newbies (Moran, Hobhouse, Jardine, Stone) – At first glance Moran looks the most promising. Hobhouse is also fairly young. But this has clearly come too soon for them.

    All in all, not a great choice.

  39. Why has Swinson ruled herself out? She’s the only decent candidate

  40. Rivers10
    Re boundary review: you have to take a long view! In two elections time it may favour the Tories!

    Of course it won’t make much difference if Labour in government suffer the fate of the Socialists in France! Frome 40% to 9% in 5 years!

  41. As I reported this morning o page 12:

    ALEX F
    There seems to be some doubts as to whether Jo Swinson will stand for leader.
    June 18th, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I have no idea who will become leader. One rather suspects one that is dispensable and not a leader for the long term future. My guess at this moment, is DAVEY.

  42. Swinson having ruled herself out (and it’s not shocking that a parent of young children doesn’t want to stand for party leader, I suppose) is a huge blow to the Lib Dems. Who else is there?

    Carmichael and Brake have also ruled themselves out.

    Cable is 74.

    Davey is Mr Coalition and very centre-right.

    Lamb? Will it be Lamb? Honestly, he’d probably be decent… But… just not inspiring.

    Moran, according to Mark Pack’s polling, would do decently if she stood. If this had happened eight months down the line, I could see that. But not now.

  43. Maybe that’s what the Libs need? A Ming Campbell type interim to steady the ship until a younger alternative feels ready (Swinson or Moran)

    Lamb wold serve fine in this role as would Vince Cable

  44. Why?

  45. Yeah, also, Lamb would probably be able to broaden the appeal slightly as a remainer from a leave-voting constituency. He could cut a more “second referendum, but mainly let’s stay in the customs union and single market” sort of line, which could play better in areas like the SW where they need to rebuild. In it for a few years, maybe until the next election, then stand down once it’s clear who the best of the new crop of MPs is.

  46. PLOP…Not at all sure of course who would best be a best net vote winner for CORBYNS I will not express a preference but I personally have for some time been quite impressed with DAVEY’s media appears and he’s quite telegenic. SWINSON (some might say arrogantly,) said the “role for me now is deputy leader”. This has the note of someone thinking that the next leader is dead duck and she’s hovering in the background.

    I don’t know of course the next elected LD leader could be with for many yrs and SWINSONs caculation could be well off the mark.

  47. How can you be very centre right? Is that as in so right wing hes no too far from the centre to be centre or centre right but not quite right wing enough to be right wing on its own

  48. I suppose it is confusing. I meant more that, amongst the Lib Dems, he is ardently in the centre-right wing, meaning that not only is he at the rightward edge of his party, but he is somewhat non-elastically so, as opposed to Lamb and Swinson, who, while generally seen as being on the Lib Dems’ rightward flank, also have fairly centre-left positions within the party.

  49. I find it astonishing that Swinson could somehow be ‘Not ready’. She was first elected in the same intake as Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Michael Gove; has spent a decade in parliament; has been a successful minister; has been a prominent figure in the party even whilst outside parliament over the past two years. Of course I can understand that she may not want to go for it, but it is a massive shame because she is most certainly up to it and the rest of the field is so bland.

    Of the others I guess I hope Lamb wins. But the hundreds of thousands who have joined the LDs since 2015 are almost certainly composed mainly of extreme Remainers, and unlikely to go for a leader who abstained on A50 and isn’t so keen on a second referendum. As a leadership candidate I guess he would have to commit to the latter – but hard for him to go too far down the Remain route given his constituency.

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