Dundee West

2015 Result:
Conservative: 3852 (8.6%)
Labour: 10592 (23.7%)
Lib Dem: 1057 (2.4%)
SNP: 27684 (61.9%)
Green: 1225 (2.7%)
TUSC: 304 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 17092 (38.2%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

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

Main population centres: Dundee, Downfield.

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. The Dundee West seat also includes the University of Dundee, Dundee airport and the Tay road and rail bridges, still famous for the nineteenth century rail disaster (the stumps of the original bridge can still be seen alongside its modern replacement).

Politics: Dundee West had been the more Labour of the two Dundee seats - Dundee East fell to the SNP in 1974 and 2005, but Dundee West had returned Labour MPs since its creation in 1950, normally with secure majorities. Like many other safe Labour seats though it crumbled before the SNP landslide in 2015, returning Chris Law with over sixty percent of the vote.

Current MP
CHRIS LAW (SNP) Educated at Madras College. Former financial advisor. First elected as MP for Dundee West in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 3461 (9%)
Lab: 17994 (48%)
LDem: 4233 (11%)
SNP: 10716 (29%)
Oth: 722 (2%)
MAJ: 7278 (20%)
Con: 3062 (8%)
Lab: 16468 (45%)
LDem: 5323 (14%)
SNP: 11089 (30%)
Oth: 994 (3%)
MAJ: 5379 (15%)
Con: 2656 (9%)
Lab: 14787 (51%)
LDem: 2620 (9%)
SNP: 7987 (27%)
Oth: 1192 (4%)
MAJ: 6800 (23%)
Con: 5105 (13%)
Lab: 20875 (54%)
LDem: 2972 (8%)
SNP: 9016 (23%)
Oth: 839 (2%)
MAJ: 11859 (31%)

2015 Candidates
NICOLA ROSS (Conservative) Educated at Dundee University. Community Learning and Development Worker.
DANIEL COLEMAN (Liberal Democrat)
PAULINE HINCHION (Green) Born Cork. Educated at Glasgow Caledonian University. Interim Manager and Consultant.
CHRIS LAW (SNP) Educated at Madras College. Financial advisor.
Comments - 104 Responses on “Dundee West”
  1. Could anybody tell us what percentage of student voters this seat has, given the presence of both University of Dundeed and Abertay University? The size of the student vote has become such that it is a major psephological factor, although I suspect that it tend to be more salient in England and Wales than Scotland.

    Whilst we are here, I have just been looking up the old Dundee seat on Wikipedia and see that in 1874 there were four Liberal candidates for two seats. Can somebody explain this self-opposition?

  2. The SNP are now gunning for Labour seats and I reckon this is the most vulnerable even if it does not require the smallest swing (Ochil & Sth Perthshire is quite a lot closer). But the nationalists have got such momentum in “Yes City” that I think Labour may be in big trouble here. The deprived estates broke the link with Labour big time during the referendum and, in Dundee at least, I don’t think they will be going back anytime soon. (Glasgow, btw, I think will be a different story).

  3. prediction for 2015-

    Lab- 50%
    SNP- 35%
    Con- 8%
    Lib- 5%
    TUSC- 2%

  4. I think that the SNP will come closest to Labour in Glasgow Central, Glasgow North and Glasgow South.

    In Glasgow North they should pick up much of the former Lib Dem vote.

    I would expect Labour to retain very large majorities in the other 4 Glasgow constituencies.

    While the Yes vote may not help the SNP make Westminster gains in 2015 in Glasgow it may help them retain their extreemly marginal Holyrood constituencies (all except Glasgow Southside would previously have been obvious Labour regains).

    The SNP must been seeking to target seats like Dumbarton, Coatbridge & Cryston, Glasgow Springburn & Maryhill, Glasgow Provan, Glasgow Pollok, Uddingston and Bellshill and Motherwell & Wishaw to offset likely loses outside Central Scotland.

  5. I’d imagine that the posher LD vote in Glasgow orth would have been quite ‘no’? Therefore it would be unlikely to go SNP.

    That said, I am just guessing.

  6. To ensure a reasonable national financial settlement re public spending, it is in Scotland’s interest to have a non-Tory government.

    Voting SNP for Westminster may not enable this, and in the atmosphere of a general election, not a yes/no referendum, the questions asked may not be the same.

    Scots have shown themselves very capable of voting for different parties at different elections

  7. Completely agree – the flip side of this however is that it will help the SNP to hold their rural seats despite the Tories getting excited about the high No votes in Perthshire, Angus and Aberdeenshire.

  8. The current Scottish opinion polls do not look good for Labour’s retaining this seat.

    Dundee has always bee quite an isolated community politically. It can be quite apathetic and then (as now?) go into a high state of activity.

    I would not overstate the difference between Dundee West and Dundee East, particularly now that the shipbuilding industry is unimportant. Much of the difference in recent years results from the 1973 Dundee East by-election and the differing results in the two seats in 1974.

    Perhaps the major difference now is the high student vote in Dundee West, which could make this seat more volatile than Dundee East. We wait to see how the student vote will split next year: this is true of England as well as Scotland. Reports on these intentions would be welcome.

  9. Dundee W since 2005 has been entirely urban, whereas East contains significant elements outside the Dundee city boundaries. Thus West is now a lot better for Labour, even more so than before, but it still looks at grave risk from the SNP even so. Labour will do very well to hold this seat now.

  10. Stretching the definition of very well to include avoiding an impending car crash but yes – it would be some form of achievement. SNP look very strong here indeed.

  11. If the SNP gain 1 seat off labour, this has got to be high on that list.

  12. Very high

  13. I’d have said this was as good as lost for Labour – current polling would suggest that the battle lines will be Aberdeen and the eastern Central Belt, if not Glasgow itself, as to which of Labour and the SNP will dominate Scotland.

  14. The SNP will soon become an urban party, doing better in built up areas than in rural communities. It would be some feat to be totally dominant in both former Labour and Conservative heartlands, and in order to form a government at Holyrood, it makes sense to target the former. In 2011, the party received a large boost from former Lib Dem supporters, but this is a trend that will be partially reversed in some parts of the country. North of the Central Belt, these voters may return to the Liberal Democrats, and a significant number to the Conservatives, but in Glasgow will stay with the slicker, better organised Labour Party that is the SNP.

    Murphy would be a good leader for Labour, even if he does repel the hardline nationalists, because he appeals to middle Scotland. Even if Labour do elect him, however, they will have real difficulty in Scotland in years to come. Their old base feels abandoned without the party having been able to make a case for itself as a moderate or reforming party. Being the most hostile party to further devolution will not help, as will the perceptions of Ed Milliband which are significantly worse in Scotland that in England ( minus 80 or thereabouts).

    At Westminster, incumbency and lingering loyalty will see them do moderately well at the next General Election. Despite predictions to the contrary I can’t see the SNP winning most seats, certainly not 54 seats. IMO, I’d be surprised if the SNP even won more votes. Despite this, Labour will loose seats, and have a very humbling election.

    Dundee West is likely to fall. I have talking to an old Courier editor who thought as much. The local Labour MP gets a bad rep even from party members, and the SNP council has done a sound job. I would think the SNP will do better in Dundee, and in urban seats outside of Glasgow than they will in Glasgow itself.

  15. Even if the SNP take only 10 seats from Labour, it could scupper Miliband’s chances of entering Downing Street. At the moment it looks like they’ll take at least 10 easily.

  16. [email protected] West was entirely within Dundee prior to 2005 as was Dundee East.

    In 2005 the Monifieth & Sidlaw Angus ward that surrounds Dundee was divided between the two Dundee constituencies. Mostly to Dundee West but also forming a corridor between Angus ‘s Carnoustie Ward and the rest of Dundee East.

    The addition of most of M & S means that Dundee West is more than twice it’s 2005 size.

  17. Following the revelations of recent polls I am going again:

    SNP- 45%
    Lab- 39%
    Con- 10%
    Lib- 4%
    TUSC- 2%

  18. Not a bad prediction IMO.

  19. Peter Kellmer has identified a group of people as ‘Red Nats’ who vote SNP at Holyrood, locals and Europe but have so far remained loyal to Labour at Westminster.

    He believes that in the post Indyref environment these people are now more likely to vote SNP at Westminster, making retaining a constituency like this very challenging.

  20. Labour must be worried about the SNP taking this seat.

  21. The election of the neighbouring Dundee East MP, Stuart Hosie, as Deputy Leader of the SNP is likely to be a further boost for the SNP.

    Ast his city produced the largest % Yes vote in the Referendum, a comfortable SNP majority is now the likeliest result here.

  22. It’s quite incredible that, just four years ago, Labour almost hit 50% here. It’s impossible not to take the 57% Yes vote into account when looking at this seat. Considering that the Tories vote is 10%-15% city-wide, that gives an indication that the Labour No vote in the city was only about 30%. Although I can’t find if figures have been released on the East/West divide.

    By all accounts, even Lochee has gone SNP, and if that’s correct then the SNP will be at 45-50%. A lot will depend on who the SNP stand. I expect it to be a name from the Yes movement. Although that might cause the Labour No voters to stick with Labour when they might not otherwise have done so.

    But an easy SNP victory here with a 15-20% swing.

  23. A SNP victory is definitely certain following;
    A) Neighbour MP Hosie’s election as Deputy
    B) Dundee going Yes

  24. Of all labour’s scottish seats, I think this is the most vulnerable to the SNP

  25. I agree. Even more so than Ochil perhaps.

  26. My view is that the SNP will take Ochil by quite a tight margin as the Conservatives take more votes in Dollar, Kinross and South Perthshire from No supporters who may previously SNP to get rid of Labour…..reducing the overall swing from Lab to SNP. Some Centre Right No supporters may even vote Labour keep the SNP out.

    I think that Dundee West will fall to the SNP more convincingly.

  27. Dalek

    I’m not sure I follow your workings for Ochil. If I’m reading you right, you’re suggesting that 2010 SNP voters who voted No in the 2014 referendum will switch to Conservative in 2015.

    First of all, given that only 29% of the seat voted SNP in 2010, I would be surprised if many of them voted No in the first place. I’m also unsure why they would vote Tory to get rid of Labour when the Conservatives have next to no chance of taking the seat.

    I think your second hypothesis is more likely to transpire and, in fact, I think we’re likely to see a huge chance in Conservative voting patterns towards anti-SNP voting in a number of seats, something they’ve only really done to a sizable extent to keep Lib Dems in and SNP/Labour out in the past. Given that Labour are less likely to reciprocate by voting Tory to keep the SNP out (although a small extent might occur), this would logically translate to a lower Tory vote Scotland-wide.

  28. The SNP look good here. My prediction is-
    SNP- 44%
    Lab- 40%
    Tory- 8%
    UKIP- 5%
    Lib Dem- 2%
    Others- 1%

  29. Paddy Power have strongly placed the odds in favour of the SNP winning here. The are also marginally ahead of Labour in East Dunbartonshire.

  30. In the equivalent seat (near enough) in the Scottish Parliament election in 2011:

    SNP – 57.6%
    LAB – 31.4%
    CON – 6.6%
    LIB – 4.3%

    SNP look strong here, but require a 10% swing to win the seat.

    The presence of the pro-independence Greens in the seat could affect the SNP vote share, but I reckon the SNP will gain the seat.

  31. Yes, I think the SNP will gain this one, even if I highly doubt they will sweep the board in Scotland as a whole next year.

  32. In Glasgow there are still loads of YES banners in the windows of tenements…..They do not seen to have accepted defeat……Labour may still remain the largest party in Scotland but the SNP could take 14 Labour seats most of the Lib Dem seats. I would imagine that Dundee East would be one of the most likely Labour seats to go.

    I’m could see East Dunbartonshire becoming Labours silver lining in the cloud. It’s highly likely that Labour could take that with a reduced share of the vote as there is a massive switch from Lib Dem to SNP.

  33. Dalek- as someone who knows far more than I do about Scottish politics, which 14 Labour seats do you suppose the SNP will take? I must admit- as soon as I look beyond Falkirk, Dundee West, and Ochil and South Perthshire, I am struggling.

  34. Dalek

    According to the recent polls there will be a net swing from lab to LD in Scotland :p

  35. 14 seats Lab to SNP was projected I the Scottish press as being more realistic by the time the polls settle down on polling day…..current polls would indicate 35 of the 41 Lab seats falling to the SNP.

  36. I think current Scottish opinion polls are way out, as they so often are. That said, however, I think this should be an easy SNP gain.

    The Labour candidate is weak, as even some Labour activists in the city concede.

    Dundee voted Yes by a considerable margin, and as the local authority boundaries don’t align with the burgh constituencies, much of this must come from Dundee West. Indeed, as the Conservatives have such as strong presence in Broughty Ferry, I would not be surprised if Yes had a larger majority in West than in East.

    Thirdly, the rise in the SNP vote has come largely from Labour. This Labour vote is uneven, concentrated in Roman Catholic or industrial parts of Scotland, but it means the SNP gains will also be concentrated even if their vote barely moves in rural Scotland or affluent areas. While some Labour hyper-majorities will allow Labour to cling to power, this seat must be more vulnerable than most. Were I an SNP strategist, I should put more energy here than Ochil and South Perthshire by quite some margin.

  37. Also, the SNP have ran the local council much better than the previous Labour lot (in part thanks to an excellent CEO). The city may still be poorer than the Scottish average, but has an energy and optimism that can surely benefit the professional SNP over the lackluster Labour party.

    I know local politics, at least in most of Scotland, has little effect, but the mood music here is definitely pro-SNP.

  38. Marcus- barring here, Falkirk and Ochil and S Perthshire, are there any other Labour seats you consider seriously vulnerable to the SNP? Might any of the Glasgow seats be in danger, for example?

  39. Some possibilities include Ayrshire North and Arran, the West Lothian seats, Glasgow South, Aberdeen North and any Labour held marginals where the SNP vote wasn’t derisory in 2010 – so seats like Stirling and Aberdeen South. But then it kind of depends where you think the polls will be by May. My view is that the referendum has crystallised a lot of people’s political thinking, and the drift back to Labour will be relatively minimal. If the SNP are 10-15% ahead in May, they will win swathes of seats including many that we haven’t discussed.

  40. West Dunbartonshire voted YES but has a massive 40% + Labour majority. I could see a huge swing from Lab to SNP there but a swing of half that size in the marginal Ochil & SP.

    Central, North and South must be the most vulnerable of the 7 Glasgow City seats.

  41. Broadly, I think Simon has given a good roundup of what seats they should seriously target. The danger for the SNP is that they believe that they can win 40+ seats as their activists do, and spread resources too thinly.

    I doubt Aberdeen South will fall to the SNP, and it is about the only seat on your list I would take off. Long term, it should be a Tory target, but I suppose we’ll have to see where the Lib Dem vote goes before I can validate either claim.

  42. The thing with seats like Aberdeen South is that because both the Tories and the Lib Dems get a significant vote, you likely only need about 30% to win it, especially if there are UKIP and Green candidates. I don’t see why the SNP couldn’t achieve that.

  43. A good way to measure how Scotland could go in May is to calculate how each of the 59 Westminster constituencies voted at the May 2011 Holyrood elections and then apply the changes to current Westminster opinion polls to 2011 Holyrood elections.

    It’s fair to say that Labour regained ground in Glasgow at the local elections the following year only to be pushed back again at the 2014 referendum.

  44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOOqGfSqwP4

    Jim Murphy been given a very rough time in Dundee West

  45. The harridan narrating the video was certainly a nasty piece of work… as the commentors’ note the video team’s behaviour is pretty disgraceful harassment..

  46. This is the kind of reception that Tories have had to face in most of Scotland for decades.

  47. Makes one pine for the good old days before Youtube when there might have been a punch-up! She was certainly fishing for it…

  48. Is this not just Round 2 of Jim Murphy’s tour of 100 Scottish Towns during the referendum campaign that always received a warm reception that culminated in being egged in Fife?

  49. Labour will have their work cut out to win enough constituencies to stop the SNP getting a majority of Scottish seats Jim Mcgovern would have done outstandingly well if he held this seat,

  50. “Despite all the polls suggesting that we were going to have a separate Scottish state over 55% of Scots expressed their desire to remain a part of the union.”

    And yet 57% of Dundonians voted for the balkanisational split of a separate Zimbabwe-like Scottish nationalist State and their banishment from the international arena and civilisation…

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