Dundee East

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7206 (15%)
Labour: 9603 (19.9%)
Lib Dem: 1387 (2.9%)
SNP: 28765 (59.7%)
Green: 895 (1.9%)
TUSC: 104 (0.2%)
Others: 225 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 19162 (39.8%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, North East. Part of Dundee and Angus council areas.

Main population centres: Dundee, Monifieth, Carnoustie.

Profile: The city of Dundee is a major retail, administrative and employment centre for north-east Scotland, situated on the north bank of the Firth of Tay. Traditionally the local economy was described as being based on "Jute, Jam and Journalism" - the Jute has long since gone, jam was never really much of an employer anyway, but the journalism remains in the form of D. C. Thomson & Co, the publisher of the regional Scottish newspaper titles, the Beano and the Dandy. Other important local employers include NCR, whose main base for their cash machine and cash registers business is based in Dundee. Until 2005 the seat only consisted of Eastern Dundee, but the boundaries were then changed to include the rural hinterland, the dormitory town of Monifieth and Carnoustie, best known for its associations with golf.

Politics: Dundee East has long been a prime battleground between the SNP and Labour. As far back as the 1973 by-election that followed the appointment of George Thomson as one of Britain`s first European Commissioners the SNP put up a serious challenge here, narrowingly failing to take the seat despite achieving a huge swing. They won the seat in 1974 and their MP here, Gordon Wilson, was leader of the party from 1979 until 1990 (despite losing his seat to Labour in 1987). The SNP regained the seat on an extremely narrow majority in 2005 before securing a far larger majority in the 2015 landslide.

Current MP
STEWART HOSIE (Scottish National Party) Born 1963, Dundee. Educated at Carnoustie High School. Former IT businessman and National Secretary of the SNP. Contested Kirkcaldy 1992, 1997, Dundee East 2001. First elected as MP for Dundee East in 2005.
Past Results
Con: 6177 (15%)
Lab: 13529 (33%)
LDem: 4285 (11%)
SNP: 15350 (38%)
Oth: 1227 (3%)
MAJ: 1821 (4%)
Con: 5061 (13%)
Lab: 14325 (36%)
LDem: 4498 (11%)
SNP: 14708 (37%)
Oth: 948 (2%)
MAJ: 383 (1%)
Con: 3900 (12%)
Lab: 14635 (45%)
LDem: 2784 (9%)
SNP: 10160 (31%)
Oth: 879 (3%)
MAJ: 4475 (14%)
Con: 6397 (16%)
Lab: 20718 (51%)
LDem: 1677 (4%)
SNP: 10757 (27%)
Oth: 979 (2%)
MAJ: 9961 (25%)

2015 Candidates
BILL BOWMAN (Conservative) Educated at George Watsons College and Edinburgh University. Chartered accountant.
LESLEY BRENNAN (Labour) Educated at University of Abertay. Economist. Dundee councillor since 2012.
CRAIG DUNCAN (Liberal Democrat) Born Dundee. Educated at Carnoustie High School and Heriot-Watt University. Administrator.
HELEN GRAYSHAN (Green) Born 1975. Educated at Newcastle University. Lead officer of a renewable energy charity.
Comments - 129 Responses on “Dundee East”
  1. If there is a NO vote in 2014 Labour could snatch this seat from Hosie the following year.

  2. The SNP were aided by the boundary changes in 2005 that transferred Central Dundee to Dundee West and gained Carnoustie from Angus.

    The new boundaries make this constituency harder for Labour to regain.

    Irrespective of the Yes/ No vote, I don’t see any seats changing hads between Labour and the SNP. Dundee East, The Western Isles and Ochil & South Perthshire are the only possibilities but are unlikely.

    What will be interesting is the race between Labour and the SNP for Lib Dem seats, that is harder to predict.

  3. Brave performance by Gordon Wilson, decapitated SNP leader in 1987 – at 0.41 onwards.

    Not sure why he still had his head.

    h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnVPCNPH-zU

  4. Gordon Wilson was one of only 2 survivors of the route of the 11 SNP MPs in 1979.

    He also was victorious in a determine challenge from Jimmy Reid (the charismatic union leader from the Clydeside Shipyards dispute in the early 1970s).

    Odd that he then went on to lose in 1987….but I have heard a story that a senior member of the local SNP defected to Labour and took with him all the canvass returns.

  5. The Western Isles are pretty livid about the SNP’s proposals for the ferry service, I think that’s the only likely change but in those areas it always depends on the candidate

    I’d imagine the posh golf towns vote SNP tactically here?

  6. Yes, Carnoustie and Monifieth are the poorest wards for Labour in the constituency.

    ON the other hand, it means that it wont take much of an improvement here to boost the party’s chances…

  7. I don’t see why Gordon Wilson’s defeat in 1987 was surprising, Peter. It was at the time a record year for Labour in Scotland (though since superceded of course) and the SNP also lost Western Isles to Labour – perhaps they might have held on had Donnie Stewart not retired. The SNP however was the repository for anti-Tory votes in a number of other constituencies, some of which (Angus, Moray, Banff & Buchan) have been held ever since.
    John I was under the impression that Broughty Ferry was an even weaker area for Labour than Carnoustie but perhaps it’s changed a bit in the last generation.

  8. At the last City council elections (Broughty) Ferry Ward was SNP 35.65%, Con 35.52, Lab 16.57 and LD 12.27 so it is the most Tory of the cities 8 wards and perhaps more Tory than Carnoustie and Monifieth. It is possible that the Labour vote is also weaker in (Broughty) Ferry Ward than Carnoustie and Monifieth.

    Of the 8 wards in the city, the Tories had a seat in West End Ward (that included the previous safe Tory single member ward or Riverside) in Dundee West. In only 2 of the 6 remaining wards do the Conservative get over 5% of the vote (5 – 8%), as their vote is under 5% in the 4 others.

    I am surprsed that the constituency was not renamed ‘Dundee East & Angus South’ or ‘Dundee East & Carnoustie’ in 2005?

  9. it’s also rather surprising that it remains a borough constituency – it would seem to have a sufficiently large rural element to justify being a county one. Perhaps the same is also true of Edinburgh W as it is drawn nowadays.

  10. You’re right that Labour is weak in the Ferry Barnaby, but I was really commenting on the Labour position vs the SNP. Broughty Ferry is the strongest area for the Tories.

  11. Before 1997, two of the Edinburgh wards, Queensferry and Kirkliston were not included within the 6 Edinburgh constituencies.

    Queensferry was in Linlithgow and Kirkliston (geographically massive and including Edinburgh Airport) was in Livingston.

    Queenferry is fairly unique in being won by 4 different parties over 4 successive elections –

    1988 SNP
    1992 Con
    1995 Lab
    1999 Lib Dem

  12. Dundee East selection on October 1st.

  13. I do sometimes wonder what would have happened here had Thomson not resigned here causing the 1973 byelection? Would the SNP still won the seat in 1974?

  14. good question. I reckon not at that time.

  15. Thanks Barnaby- bad news though is that there’s trouble brewing over on the Montgomeryshire thread…

  16. A closer look at the result here in February 1974-
    Wilson (SNP)- 20, 066 (39.53%, +30.6%)
    Machin (Labour)- 17, 100 (33.69%, -14.65%)
    Clyde (Conservative)- 13, 371 (26.34%, -16.02%)
    Gourlay (Independent)- 220 (0.43%, N/A)

    SNP gain.
    Majority- 2, 966 (5.84%)
    Swing- +22.625% From Lab to SNP.

  17. Stewart Hosie has been continually developing as the SNP’s finance spokesman at Westminster.

    In a recent independence debate at Abertay University he completely outgunned Labour’s Lord Robertson – turning round a large pre-debate majority of 59% to 21% for the Union and converted it into a clear majority of 51-38 for Yes.

    In any 2015 GE, there is likely to be only one winner here.

    Anyone who wants to watch the debate can find it via the “Wings over Scotland ” website (and elsewhere).

  18. @Tom
    I wouldnt take much notice. The local SNP students all attended the debate and changed their minds from No to Yes.

    I’m not sure many people really like a man whose biggest problems seem to be his childrens’ nanny wanting to be paid the minimum wage and his daughter demanding a pony.

  19. i hope roy hodgson picks you for england soon instead of hart

  20. That or Fraser Forster – a contempary of mine at school.

  21. Bring back Ray Clemence.

  22. John Ruddy writes

    “I wouldnt take much notice. The local SNP students all attended the debate and changed their minds from No to Yes.

    I’m not sure many people really like a man whose biggest problems seem to be his childrens’ nanny wanting to be paid the minimum wage and his daughter demanding a pony”.

    As you are a prominent Labour Party in Scotland member, I suggest all might be advised to recognise that you just might not be the most reliable of commentators on these matters 🙂

    I do urge all to watch Lord Robertson’s performance and form your own opinion.

    I think the classic quote that Robertson can add to his famous error in declaring that devolution would kill nationalism stone dead is when he says:

    (Talking of Catalonia, Flanders etc) “They say they want to become an independent state, but they’ve got language, and culture, and all these sort of things. We don’t have any of that.”

    SO, speaking of culture in Scotland Robertson says “We
    don’t have any of that”

    I’d say Robertson lost the debate fair and square-just think how “culture ……. we don’t have any of that” explains Robertson’s defeat much more clearly than your conspiracy theory.

    As for your second point, the expression “cheap shot” springs to mind.

  23. Labour certainly were stupid to imagine that devolution would kill nationalism stone dead.

    With the Tories dead north of the border and the Lib Dems only competitive in 10-15 seats, even in 1997 they should have realised that when they became unpopular in government the only viable protest vote for Scots was going to be the SNP.

    Though it does depend what is meant by nationalism. I remain unconvinced that even Salmond believes that a completely independent Scotland would be possible or viable. I think he is angling for an extreme version of devo max but that is going to need a lot of thought from the rest of the UK as well.

  24. H Hemmelig

    “I remain unconvinced that even Salmond believes that a completely independent Scotland would be possible or viable”

    What is your definition of complete independence?

    Can it be said that the UK is completely independent?

    Is/can ANY country be completely independent?

  25. Yes that’s kind of my point.

    Complete independence in the sense of a totally separate defence force for example.

    Similarly it might be possible to frame an extreme form of devo max as independence

  26. H
    “a totally separate defence force for example”

    Countries normally have alliances with others. I don’t see why Scotland would be any different.

    I really don’t see why England would look with equanimity upon an attack on Scotland as if somehow it didn’t matter to them to have enemies north of the border-indeed the Acts of Union could reasonably be regarded as having the primary purpose for England of binding Scotland into a permanent military alliance.

    That wish would no doubt remain.

    The idea that NATO would reject a Scotland which removed nuclear weapons from its territory (e.g. following the Canadian precedent) lacks logic. Additionally, non-nuclear members of NATO (23 out of 26) is anyway the norm.

    The concept of “independence” from a Scotland viewpoint is best understood as the retention of all decision making within Scotland including when sovereignty should be pooled, to what extent, and with whom.

    Any form of devolution, no matter how great, leaves ultimate sovereignty elsewhere as power devolved is power retained.

  27. To be honest I find this debate mind numbingly boring.

    The details you mention, having no clear cut answers, will no doubt be keeping expensive lawyers busy for many years to come.

    If you get your independence then good luck to you.

  28. @Tom Robinson
    Why would I go to that website [I don’t know who you are libelling, but please don’t do it here – AW]

    And no comment on how all the SNP students went into the debate voting No, but came out voting Yes?

    And Mr Hosie doesnt think its a cheap shot – its “bloody expensive having a Nanny”!

    Nope, this seat is a Labour gain – Dundee SNP were surprised they retained it last time. The relief on their faces at the count revealed the truth!

  29. John Ruddy:


    I would say that comment is perilously close to risking legal sanction but I will do you the favour of not bringing the blog holders attention to it [Well, actually I’d already removed it until you repeated it! – AW]

    For good taste and self defence, I suggest you remove it-but in the interests of the “Yes” campaign I suggest you leave it unchanged 🙂


    My suggestion to people to visit Wings Over Scotland wasn’t primarily addressed to you, of course, but I now urge others to have a look and judge for yourselves-both Lord Robertson and more generally if “Wings” is as portrayed by Mr Ruddy.

    Labour in Scotland MIGHT gain Dundee East if the vote is “No”, though I doubt it- but if it is “Yes” they will also lose Dundee West and many, many others.

  30. H
    “To be honest I find this debate mind numbingly boring”

    You responded to my comment, not the other way round

    “If you get your independence then good luck to you.”

    Many thanks.

  31. I was referring to the minutae of how independence might or might not work. Some of the issues are so muddy and complicated it will take the lawyers years to determine them.

  32. [Well, actually I’d already removed it until you repeated it! – AW]

    I certainly can’t object to your removing it 🙂

  33. Apologies, Anthony.

  34. I’m sorry if I’m being rude, but I’m going to bring this thread to being back on topic again. 🙂

    I think a lot of Tory supporters voted tactically for the SNP here. On a good day, I could see them gain 20% of the vote here.

  35. SNP HOLD MAJ: 3.6%
    SNP 39
    LAB 35
    CON 13
    LD 7
    UKIP 3
    GRN 3

  36. Very diligent Winds to get the margin to a decimal place!

    Surprising debate above about Labour losing the seat in the event of a Yes vote, surely an irrelevance, as in the event of a Yes, Labour, would ‘lose’ the seat even if we won the constituency because it would cease to exist as with all Scottish seats.

  37. I calculate the vote shares to 1dp but round- I can use a more accurate majority measure while providing a simpler rough vote share! 😉

  38. I think the SNP will hold somewhat even more comfortably than that and the LDs will lose their deposit here.

    The LDs are more likely to hold their deposit in Dundee West because they are strong in West End ward at a local level.

  39. Declaration for this seat in October 1974-
    (Not sure where the Labour, Conservative and Liberal candidates were, they’re definitely not in view of the camera)

  40. I think this site will be a microcosm for the referendum. If yes wins then Hosie will weigh his majority, if not then he might be toast.

  41. 2015

    SNP: 17000
    Labour: 12000
    Conservative: 7500
    Lib Dem: 2500
    UKIP: 1000
    Green: 700
    MAJORITY: 5000

  42. I think the SNP will probably hold this but if there’s a No vote in the referendum I suspect it will be a bit closer than that. Also the Conservative share looks a tad optimistic.

  43. This seat has something in common with another seat. What is it?

  44. Dundee West. They are both part of Dundee

  45. 🙂

  46. “I remain unconvinced that even Salmond believes that a completely independent Scotland would be possible or viable.”

    I think even the most ardent of Scottish nationalists – the type who would vote yes on the basis of national identity alone but also truly believe that from a more objective standpoint it makes sense – would accept that the debate is over which choice is the net positive, and how large that positive would be.

    I’m not a big fan of Salmond, but he is of course not going to play up those issues which currently don’t exist but would take up the new Government’s time, any more than the No camp are going to say “if you care about this issue more than any other issue, you probably should plomp for independence”.

    To give a practical example, if Scotland were to become independent in 2016, it is entirely possible that within a decade it could be the only part of this island in the EU. Under those circumstances, would the border remain check free?

    I don’t ask that question in an attempt to be pro-unionist (I probably wouldn’t have student debt if they had swapped Westminster for a place in the expanded EU ten years ago!), but to make that point that the nationalist belief would be that the positives of independence would outweigh the answer to that question.

  47. Interesting contest in store here for 2015. It could be a narrow Labour gain, or, perhaps more likely a hold for Stewart Hosie, especially if there is a no vote in the Referendum.

  48. A No vote would make a Labour gain more likely, not less. At least, I should have thought so.

  49. does hosie have a strong local following in this seat?

    if he doesn’t, he could be in trouble. I think a no vote will be seen as a defeat for the SNP and could see a slight ebb in their support. the 11% lib dem vote will be squeezed presumably, so labour could be in with a shout here.

    i don’t buy the argument that people are more likely to vote for the SNP after a no vote.

  50. Is Dundee, demographically speaking, the type of place which would vote Yes to independence? With less than 100 days to go, the media has said that the biggest challenge for the pro-independence camp has been attracting women voters who are more like to be pro-union/vote No, compared to men. For the No camp, it’s the risk of losing Labour voters.

    But what is the strength of feeling in individual Scottish regions? I’d imagine Edinburgh is pro-union whereas maybe Glasgow and other gritty working class areas could swing towards independence. What of the rural parts/islands of Scotland?

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