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
2010
Con: 3461 (9%)
Lab: 17994 (48%)
LDem: 4233 (11%)
SNP: 10716 (29%)
Oth: 722 (2%)
MAJ: 7278 (20%)
2005
Con: 3062 (8%)
Lab: 16468 (45%)
LDem: 5323 (14%)
SNP: 11089 (30%)
Oth: 994 (3%)
MAJ: 5379 (15%)
2001*
Con: 2656 (9%)
Lab: 14787 (51%)
LDem: 2620 (9%)
SNP: 7987 (27%)
Oth: 1192 (4%)
MAJ: 6800 (23%)
1997
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.
MICHAEL MARRA (Labour)
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.
JIM MCFARLANE (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 104 Responses on “Dundee West”
  1. Dundee West had the largest Ashcroft poll SNP lead of any Labour seat (some 37%).

    Do you think that privately Labour will give up here?

  2. This page needs updating.

    Chris Law (Spirit of Independence) was adopted as SNP candidate for the constituency a week ago.

    http://www.chrislaw.scot/

  3. Dundee West 2010 Result:

    Labour: 17994 (48.5)
    SNP: 10716 (28.9)
    Lib Dem: 4233 (11.4)
    Conservative: 3461 (9.3)
    Independent: 365 (1.0)
    TUSC: 357 (1.0)

    Lab Maj: 7278 (19.6)

    Dundee West 2015 Ashcroft Projection:

    SNP: 21904 (59.0)
    Labour: 9282 (25.0)
    Conservative: 2228 (6.0)
    Green: 1856 (5.0)
    Lib Dem: 1114 (3.0)
    UKIP: 743 (2.0)

    SNP Maj: 12620 (34.0)

    ???

  4. http://www.arcofprosperity.org/which-westminster-seats-can-the-snp-realistically-win/

    Interesting analysis projecting the constituencies that the SNP may gain.

  5. The (Glasgow) Herald has run a story claiming that Labour have abandoned Dundee West along with other ‘safe’ Labour constituencies. It also clams that certain figures are being shown favouritism with resources.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/scottish-labour-accused-of-giving-up-in-key-election-marginals.121872445

  6. Unfortunately the paywall means I can’t read the article, but it’s not surprising. Seats like this are really not ‘marginals’ in the same way that Brent Central isn’t a ‘marginal’. That well known faces are given special treatment is silly rather than surprising.

  7. Given that Dundee East is an SNP seat, Dundee West is clearly also a target. The difference between the two seat has in the past been largely the University vote in Dundee West.

  8. The other difference is that Lochee, an area with a high Irish Catholic population, is in Dundee West. Catholics always used to vote heavily for Labour. For example, George Galloway is from Lochee!

    Therefore seats with a high Irish Catholic concentration were always much safer for Labour than otherwise similar neighbouring seats. But the suspicion is that this has changed in recent times; Catholics were more likely to vote Yes in the referendum than any other religious group.

  9. Jim McGovern has decided to stand down as a candidate at the last minute citing ill health.

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/jim-mcgovern-quits-as-dundee-west-mp-1.859389

  10. SNP would have taken the seat by a landslide anyway and I don’t think McGovern is thought to have a particular personal vote, so it won’t probably make much a difference anyway

  11. Michael Marra has been selected as the new Labour candidate.

  12. “However, its Scottish Parliamentary equivalent, on more tightly drawn boundaries, fell to the SNP in 2007.”

    The Dundee West includes Dundee’s City Centre (that is in Holyrood’s Dundee City East) and Sidlaw (that is in Holyrood’s Angus South).

    I would find it hard to imagine Labour holding this seat…

  13. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/06/labour-tactical-voting-snp-dundee-west-michael-marra-jim-mcgovern

    Labour seem to have gone on the offensive in Dundee West. Murphy’s strategy appears to be focusing on their most ‘marginal’ seats. They Scottish Labour website had images of activists campaigning in Ochil & South Perthshire and Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East.

  14. @ Dalek – Perhaps it’s just a facade (to cover up the fact that they are effectively giving up on the seats)? I’m pretty sure the SNP will win Dundee West comfortably – same with Ochil & South Perthshire.

  15. Perhaps Labour are trying to scare the SNP to throwing more resources into their top target Labour seats – Ochil, Cumbernauld (Ashcroft Polling), Dundee West and Falkirk – to reduce the SNP advance in the 30 safest Labour seats.

    While Murphy is claiming to be able to hold all 41 Labour seats perhaps his private strategy is to win 30 (still a majority).

  16. In theory, allocation of ground resources should not be a problem for the SNP due to its new-found mass membership (>1,000 in each seat). The bigger problem will be organisation, i.e. bringing that resource to bear. I think it’s likely that there will be some seats where SNP blow Labour out of the water in this respect, but there may be others where they don’t get it together and Labour could hold on as a result.

  17. re: above, Chris Hanretty was pointing out on twitter yesterday that the Ashcroft Dundee West poll showed much higher SNP contact rate (32%) than for any of the other parties (Labour were about 10%). I suspect this will be a seat where SNP are well organised because the candidate was prominently involved in the local independence campaign.

  18. The SNP will probably have much higher membership rates in Dundee, Highlands, Clydeside and Ayrshire which could influence the campaign and perhaps bring the election results closer to the referendum results.

  19. I think it’s likely the SNP will push 60% here, could be the biggest majority of any seat in Scotland.

  20. Surely Dundee East is likelier to be the largest majority: popular SNP incumbent, split unionist vote, SNP already on 37.5%. I think the SNP will be breaching 65% in the seat, and the majority could be around 50%.

    Na h-Eileanan an Iar is another possibility, but it’s harder to tell how it will go there. The majority was 37% at Holyrood in 2011. Banff & Buchan is another contender (48.8% majority in 2011).

  21. Without Jim McGovern, Labour must be TOAST here.

  22. Without Jim McGovern, Labour have more of a chance here. Many Dundee Labourites believe that McGovern gave up the ghost in Dundee West long ago.

    Having said that, Michael Marra (who actually has a decent reputation in the city) is not going to challenge this year,

  23. SNP Gain

  24. @Calum Findlay

    Well done. SNP got 62% in this seat, their highest share of any of the 56 wins. The only other seat to break 60% was Banff & Buchan. There may have been a slight first time incumbency effect there, as Whiteford was a first time candidate (replacing A. Salmond) in 2010.

    Dundee East was just under 60%. I think this was because there is more of a Tory vote (mainly in the Ferry, Carnoustie and Monifieth) and that slightly increased.

    Interesting that one of the higher SNP shares was in Glenrothes (just under 60%). Labour thought until very late on that they could hold on there.

  25. Chris Law looks like an extremely tall man after seeing the declaration for this seat, or do my eyes deceive me?!!

  26. I have been trying to look up on this site which seats, which I suspect may include Dundee West, have particuarly high percentages of voters in higher education. However, I see that the relevant demographic beakdown is not available on this site for Scottish constituencies. Is there any particular reason why not?

  27. Local council by-election due in the Coldside ward of Dundee City. The SNP should win on the first count.

  28. Oh dear…

  29. If I were the SNP official responsible for vetting PPCs I would have fallen on my sword by now.

  30. Not sure such a person exists.

  31. Of the SNP MPs “investigated” (I would say that would be all of them by unionist journalists 🙂 I suspect that only McGarry may have case to answer-and she is not guilty of anything yet, if at all, that is for sure. She therefore remains innocent until proved otherwise.

    I note that the Daily Record have had to apologise today for claiming that Michelle Thomson MP is under investigation as the police have denied that. Expect her to be reinstated as an SNP member fairly soon.

    Mr Law is clearly not expected by Sturgeon to fall foul of the law as he retains the SNP whip without her demurral.

    As for the nonsense about the likes of Mhairi Black flying to London by non-existent business class-how ridiculous was that!

    SO, in spite of a detailed trawl by the unionist media of all the SNP MPs, it looks as if 1 out of the 56 may be subject to a court case. A lot of spinning by the unionist press, but I doubt if the current SNP voters will be convinced to abandon the SNP based on what has been discovered.

  32. The real difference between McGarry is that in other cases the allegations were made by political opponents. In her case they were made by members of SNP and the wider nationalist movement.

    Allegations are made against political opponents all the time. Alexander Burnett (the Conservative victor in Aberdeenshire West) reported the SNP’s national survey to the Electoral Commission and then was then reported himself over his election expenses. Alex Cole-Hamilton (the Lib Dem victor in Edinburgh Western) was reported to the Police over allegations over election expenses. Other than The National, the Scottish press remains quite unionist and they are thus more likely to report allegations of nationalist impropriety.

    I agree that McGarry is the only real likelyhood of either a nationalist or unionist MP or MSP being convicted.

  33. TR – I certainly think – and hear – it’ll be more than one of them.

    But as I’m in England you probably think I’m part of the some Unionist conspiracy of journalists.

    Incidentally I wasn’t claiming they are all SNP – I merely stated that Glasgow does produce a disproportionate number of Court cases involving politicos. After all, just look up the past Labour leaders of the city council or the current ongoing case involving Marie Rimmer MP and a Scot Nat activist.

  34. TR – “McGarry may have case to answer” – er, you could say that, given that she’s been charged.

    That’s the threshold even in civil matters and this is a criminal one.

    I accept innocent until proven guilty (proved must be a Scottish thing?), but you and other Nats do themselves no favours by trying to downplay this.

  35. Lancs

    Rather difficult to downplay 1 out of 56.:-)

    Who are the others you “hear” about?

  36. Lancs

    As for “conspiracy” of journalists, no such is required.

    All that is required is that papers owned by unionists employ predominately journalists who support the union.

    If you don’t think that is the position in Scotland (especially when some of the papers are not “Scottish” except in their badging, e.g. “Scottish” Daily Mail, “Scottish” Daily Express etc) then I would have to question your political judgement.

    I always thought that the Brexiteers had far more chance in the EU referendum than “Yes” in Scotland in 2014 precisely because a number of papers supported them unlike in Scotland..

  37. I agree the position in Scotland is that the majority support the Union.

    In no way is that unfair or unrepresentative, however.

    You were downplaying the position upthread, even after an MP has been charged.

    Yes, more have allegations against them. 5 are known about, but I’ve heard of at least 3 others, so 8 out of 56 isn’t quite the 1/56 you suggest.

    But, yes, the SNP are welcome to truthfully state, “Only 1 of our MPs has been charged with criminal offences this year” if they think that’s something to boast about.

  38. Lancs

    You may not consider it “unfair” but it is clearly unrepresentative of the 50% of the people of Scotland who voted SNP in GE 2015 and, according to the latest poll continue to support the SNP.

    I think it is very poor that you are prepared to smear the SNP with this “8 out of 56” line.

    When that is proved, then I will be a believer. Up until then I will just regard you as a propagandist deliberately attempting to smear the SNP and not a serious political commenter at all.

  39. Unionists are representative as only 45% voted for Independence.

    You asked – so I answered. I stated that as you wrongly claimed it was only 1 out of 56 who are being investigated!
    I fail to see how it’s a smear. If I named some of them it might be. Although freedom of the press and truth are defences in defamation if that’s going to be your next claim.

    It would in fact be a dereliction of duty for journalists NOT to report allegations. There’s no reason you should know this, but until an allegation is published against an elected politician, at least 3 hurdles have to be satisfied. It’s not merely gossip.

    But yes, the process (police > CPS > Court ) does take time to prove allegations beyond reasonable doubt. Even longer in Scotland it would seem. Although in the case of Marie Rimmer MP it might have concluded by now had the officials in Scotland bothered to put Glasgow on the forms.

  40. If you are yourself a journalist-as your comments seem to imply- then I remain thoroughly unimpressed by journalists 🙂

    You appear to be implying/saying, though I find your comment a touch unclear, that as the Yes support was only 45%, having an overwhelmingly unionist press in Scotland is still “representative”.

    About 2/37 of the papers printed in Scotland support the 45% i.e. 5.4%

    If that is your idea of “representative”, I suggest you are both innumerate and guilty of perverting the English language 🙂

  41. Persecution complexes are the cornerstone of nationalism.

  42. Andy54

    Would that be why British nationalism has resulted in the EU vote for Brexit ??

  43. Friendly reminder to everyone – UKPollingReport is NON-PARTISAN.

  44. Flag burning is something may Police forces have considered outlawing.

    However, there are far more numerous examples of Vote Leave supporters burning the EU Flag than there have been of cases of the Union Flag being burnt.

  45. I doubt that one (EU flag burning) is an offence though.

  46. Initial boundary proposals for Scotland out on Thursday.

    But how about this? You can create 5 very neat constituencies from Fife, City of Dundee and the Monfeith & Sidlaw Ward of Angus (that surrounds Dundee).

    Here they are –

    Dundee Central & St Andrews 77990
    Dundee North 79436
    Dunfermline 78254
    Glenrothes & East Neuk 74747
    Kirkcauldy & Cowdenbeath 73323

    If some of the wards were divided it would be possible to exclude the Monfeith & Sidlaw Ward of Angus and create 5 constituencies from Dundee and Fife alone.

    Such boundary changes could be helpful to the young Fife North East MP who otherwise could have a tough fight on his hands. Essentially the two Dundee MP’s and the NE Fife MP would be fighting for two seats (although Hosie could follow Carnoustie and contest one of the new Angus seats).

    Stephen Gethins may have a stronger position now in a game of musical chairs following the fact that both the Dundee MP’s have experienced recent controversy.

  47. Those boundaries will never happen, though it’s possible they’ll be included in the provisional proposals. More likely we’ll have the following-

    • Dunfermline & West Fife (covering Dunfermline, West Fife and Dalgety Bay)
    • Glenrothes & Cowdenbeath (covering Glenrothes, Cowdenbeath and surrounding rural areas)
    • Kirkcaldy & East Fife (covering Kirkcaldy and the south east coast)
    • South Tayside (covering the rural south of Perth & Kinross and the north east of Fife)
    • North Tayside (Perth & North Perthshire)
    • Dundee West (covering most of Dundee City)
    • Dundee East (covering much of southern Angus)
    • Kincardine & North Angus (covering the north of Angus and south east of Aberdeenshire)

    Frankly I’d be surprised if the Boundary Commission got away with grouping councils over rivers (just remember the backlash they received with the “Mersey Banks” constituency in the 2013 Review).

  48. They have proposed a really odd cross Tyne constituency that combines West Newcastle and Blaydon. While it’s more upstream than the 1983 to 1997 Tyne Bridge it is less connected.

    I think that resurrecting Tyne Bridge would have worked better because Central Newcastle and Central Gateshead were strongly linked by bridges.

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