East Lothian

2015 Result:
Conservative: 11511 (19.5%)
Labour: 18301 (31%)
Lib Dem: 1517 (2.6%)
SNP: 25104 (42.5%)
Green: 1245 (2.1%)
UKIP: 1178 (2%)
Independent: 158 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 6803 (11.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat


Main population centres:



Current MP
GEORGE KEREVAN (SNP) Born 1949, Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Former journalist and producer. Edinburgh councillor 1984-1996 for the Labour party. Contested Edinburgh East 2010. First elected as MP for East Lothian in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 9661 (20%)
Lab: 21919 (45%)
LDem: 8288 (17%)
SNP: 7883 (16%)
Oth: 1410 (3%)
MAJ: 12258 (25%)
Con: 7315 (16%)
Lab: 18983 (41%)
LDem: 11363 (25%)
SNP: 5995 (13%)
Oth: 2120 (5%)
MAJ: 7620 (17%)
Con: 6577 (18%)
Lab: 17407 (47%)
LDem: 6506 (18%)
SNP: 5381 (15%)
Oth: 1000 (3%)
MAJ: 10830 (29%)
Con: 8660 (20%)
Lab: 22881 (53%)
LDem: 4575 (11%)
SNP: 6825 (16%)
Oth: 491 (1%)
MAJ: 14221 (33%)

2015 Candidates
DAVID ROACH (Conservative) Communications consultant.
FIONA O`DONNELL (Labour) Born 1960, Canada. Educated at Lochaber High School and Glasgow University. MP for East Lothian 2010 to 2015.
ETTIE SPENCER (Liberal Democrat)
JASON ROSE (Green) Born Tranent. Head of Media for the Scottish Green party, former radio journalist.
GEORGE KEREVAN (SNP) Born 1949, Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Journalist and producer. Edinburgh councillor 1984-1996 for the Labour party. Contested Edinburgh East 2010.
MIKE ALLAN (Independent)
Comments - 112 Responses on “East Lothian”
  1. Headlines from Scotland rightly about Cons, but certainly some signs that Labour are bouncing back somewhat in comparison to 2015 and 2016. May be on for more than 1 seat.

  2. I tend to think their vote share will drop a few points further but the SNP may fall back to near 40pc than 50 and Labour will be let through here and as you say possibly about 3 seats.

  3. Think people are getting a bit bored with the SNP actually.

  4. East Lothian

    CON GAIN from SNP

    Con 17,919
    Lab 17,454
    *SNP 16,991
    LD 1,354
    GRN 1,298

    swing 12.4%

    Would love it. not sure it’ll happen.

  5. Apparently 1st preference votes across Scotland have been estimated as – SNP 35% Con 23% Lab 21%. The significant Independent vote should mean that al three parties would poll higher for Westminster next month , but I suspect that Labour will be quite content with those figures and be happy to be just 2% behind the Tories. Labour’s 24% vote share from 2015 looks quite realistic in view of these results.

  6. In many areas the independent vote would tend Tory at elections so 28/29 polling for the Tories seems about right.

  7. Yep….independents tend to be strong in rural areas where Conservatives are stronger and Labour are weaker.

  8. Perhaps a close 3-way here, though Labour appear to have the edge alright.

  9. This is certainly Labs best prospect in Scotland but I just don’t see them winning, I think the Tories will eat into a lot of the Lab middle class unionist vote here and prevent them winning.

  10. Sorry the Conservatives are well out of contention here: they did poorly at the locals relative to elsewhere in Scotland. It’s a two-way fight between the SNP sand Labour and painting as anything else is an outright lie.

    I do believe that the SNP have the upper hand here as Labour are doing fairly poorly in the polls although it’s certain Labour’s best chance of a gain.

  11. I’ll be surprised if one of them doesn’t win – though a dead heat very close second to SNP is possible if the chips fall that way on the day.

  12. Certainly Kezia Dugdale’s future as leader of Scottish Labour will depend on this constituency. If Labour win it she’ll have a mandate to carry on and potentially win back some ground at the next Holyrood election, if not we may well be looking at yet another Scottish labour leadership election.

  13. Who is left, though? They’ve been through approximately 9 trillion leaders since 1999…

  14. I mean, Labour can’t put together a credible front bench at Westminster, let alone Holyrood.

  15. Greens 4% won’t go to the Tories. Will split Lab/SNP.

  16. Theresa May visiting this seat today apparently, I’ve made some comments earlier but they are awaiting moderation as i accidentally mistyped my email address!

    I think that Neil Findlay would be a good choice Bill.

  17. NTY
    “I think that Neil Findlay would be a good choice Bill”

    Well NTY congratulations you’ve become the first non Lab supporter on this site to ever concede that a left winger could be a good party leader. The usual philosophy from non-Lab supporters here is that all left wingers are incompetent morons and all Blairites are political heavyweights so kudos for actually making the first non partisan point on the topic.

  18. To put it simply Scottish Labour’s representation in 2010 was roughly 75% working class areas. The hard unionist vote is all but lost to the Conservatives: Labour need to focus on winning back their core Yes/Labour vote.

  19. ”Well NTY congratulations you’ve become the first non Lab supporter on this site to ever concede that a left winger could be a good party leader.”

    As far as Scotland goes I also think trying to carve out a space to the left of the SNP is probably the correct way to go. As NTY says the Tories have the diehard unionist vote more or less locked up and obviously attack the SNP from their right.

    As far as the UK goes I don’t think every left winger is an incompetent moron (unlike the current crop at the top of the Labour Party) but in order to be electorally successful they would have to offer at least a symbolic move to capture the centre ground. For example someone like Starmer could win an election on a similar platform to this time with at least a pretext at being centrist but a full red blooded Marxist, heir to Corbyn e.g. Sam Tarry could not regardless of what the platform is.

    Another huge problem with the Labour left generally is they spend their time fighting their own caricature of the Conservative Party instead of the Conservative Party that actually exists which is doomed strategy from the start.

  20. Pepper Mint Tea,

    I also think that Labour show an incoherence in their attacks that comes from inexperience: the Tories are wrong for wanting tighter immigration and wrong for not hitting their tight immigration targets.

    It’s sub-A level politics reasoning: you don’t complain about overshooting a target when you’re trying to argue that that target is too low! I’d expect that sort of reasoning from a student who wrote their essay at literally the last few minutes, not a professional political party.

    The problem with Labour’s front bench (and ministers) is less being moronic (politicians are generally a lot smarter than people think) but more simple inexperience, partly because of the mass resignations clearing out the veterans and partly because the Labour left has been marginalized for so long.

  21. @NTY UK

    “Sorry the Conservatives are well out of contention here: they did poorly at the locals relative to elsewhere in Scotland. It’s a two-way fight between the SNP sand Labour and painting as anything else is an outright lie.”

    In the Local elections the 41,486 First Pref votes were distributed as follows:
    SNP 11584 (27.9%)
    Lab 13724 (33.1%)
    Con 11382 (27.4%)
    LDem 1971 (4.8%)
    Green 1862 (4.5%)
    Ind 900 (2.2%)
    Others 63 (0.2%)

    So this should surely be considered a 3-way contest with Lab holding a slender lead.

    Sorry if the facts do not match your pre-conceptions of what you like it to be, but to suggesting the Cons are in contention is clearly NOT a lie, let alone a ‘outright lie’.

    You probably need to consider that the electoral roll includes 16-17 year olds, which would tend to heavily favour SNP in the local elections, but do not vote in UK General Elections.

    You probably need to consider that EU Nationals also have a vote in the Local elections but not in a UK General Election.

    As to your comment on how well Con had done here. Con put up 7 candidates. All their candidates won. They increased their number of candidates on the council from 3 to 7. Lab have 9 and SNP have 6. So Con is now the second largest party on the council. If they had put up a second candidate in some of the wards, then the votes cast suggest they might even have won an extra councillor or two. That would have made them the largest party.

    In the forthcoming UK General election UKIP is not putting up a candidate, so it is not unreasonable to suggest that a large proportion of those votes could go to Con.

  22. Labour are reportedly confident that they can gain this seat.

    On current polling it does look as if Labour are now emerging as the favourites in this constituency at least, likely to be their only gain in Scotland.

  23. Don’t know why but I have a feeling Labour could gain this seat but loose Edinburgh South.

  24. Don’t know why but I have a feeling Labour could gain this seat but loose Edinburgh South!

  25. Repeatedly heard that Edinburgh South has become quite safe for Labour but that it’s all to play for here, so I can’t help but disagree with you here Christian.

  26. Kezia Dugdale quits:


    A shame – she was quite likeable, even if she did seem like a bit lightweight at times, and she was certainly growing into the role.

  27. The other day you posted that likeable does not necessarily equal a good leader. That probably applies here even more than to IDS.

    It’s not PC to say this but the extent to which Scottish party politics has become dominated by inexperienced gay leaders is extraordinary. In a country which isn’t short of religious bigots there must be a huge gap in the market for someone socially conservative working class voters would feel comfortable voting for.

  28. She was rather ‘meh’…something of a lightweight.

    If we’re in the business of being un PC…I’d have never picked her as a lesbian. Her voice and appearance are a lot more feminine than a lot of the supposedly straight battle axes we see in Britiah politics, both north and south of the border.

  29. Yes that’s true.

    Also having a girlfriend who is an SNP politician suggests that she’s not the serious tribal politico which you need to be if you’re going to be a good leader. (though it suggests she’s probably nicer and more normal than most)

    I do think a John Reid style leader might be what Scottish Labour needs right now

  30. Neil Findlay is the obvious candidate I think: a respectable Corbynite who could win back votes from the SNP and even the Conservatives. I would say he’s quite likeable, significantly more so than Sturgeon.

  31. He’s ruled out standing, that’s a real shame.

  32. NTY UK ‘I would say he’s quite likeable, more so than Sturgeon’.

    My goodness…talk about setting the bar rather low.

  33. @ Tristan – I said he was significantly more likeable than Sturgeon… Probably more likeable than Davidson now as well (this coming from a Tory who likes Davidson)!

  34. Its a shame about Neil Findlay, he’d have been my clear preferred choice. I don’t know if the pro Corbyn membership surge has been quite as apparent in Scotland (Owen Smith actually beat Corbyn in Scotland) but the word is that the most left wing candidate goes into this contest as the favourite. Neil Findlay was perfect in that not only is he probably the most pro Corbyn MSP in Holyrood but he’s also actually a good politician.

    As it is a lot of people are now talking about Richard Leonhard as the pro Corbyn option, worrying as from what I’ve seen of him he isn’t anything special but if he runs he might take it by default just by being the most pro Corbyn.

    Assuming he goes for it the current interim leader Alex Rowley as the soft left option might be best and is certainly in with a chance.

    The moderate figures being mentioned (Anas Sarwar, Jackie Baillie, Jenny Marra) I think could all seriously derail Scottish Labs resurgence. Not only do I feel their all pretty mediocre politicians at best but word is a lot of ex SNP members are drifting back to Labour cos of Corbyn/the manifesto, electing one of those three is a sure fire way to kill that flow stone dead.

  35. Not sure about that analysis.

    The supposedly anti-elitist Labour party loves its family dynasties even more than the Tories.

    On that basis I expect it will go to Sarwar.

  36. HH
    But by the “family dynasty” metric could it not equally go to Rowley?

  37. I didnt know you were a tory nyt uk

  38. “But by the “family dynasty” metric could it not equally go to Rowley?”

    I haven’t heard of him or his dynasty.

    Worth saying that the Sarwars have had a lot of success in the past when it comes to selection votes, though I accept that such erm controversial/dodgy methods are less likely to be useful in a leadership election.

    As a dentist by training, Sarwar at least isn’t a SPAD

  39. This is an interesting piece:


    The gist is that the contest will be won by whoever is Jeremy Corbyn’s most obsequious yes-man. (And it will be a man.) It is pretty apparent that the Corbynistas only wanted more open debate within the Labour Party when they were being shut out; now the tables are turned it seems they aren’t too bothered.

  40. That’s a totally unfair generalisation. I’m a very strong supporter of Corbyn, and senior enough to be known to be such by Corbyn himself. But I and the group in which I play a key role are equally strongly in favour of full and proper debate within the Labour Party and movement.

  41. “I didnt know you were a tory nyt uk”

    I support them for the time being primarily as they are the primary unionist party in my part of Scotland (that is Ayr). I could be tempted to vote Labour again, especially if I move to a constituency where they are the clear opposition to the SNP.

  42. HH
    “I haven’t heard of him or his dynasty”
    Probably not as well known as the Sarwar’s but apparently his family have long held positions of importance in the Lab party and his daughter is actually the new MP for Midlothian, Danielle Rowley

  43. Are you moving?

  44. You are known to Corbyn? Clearly we are in the presence of a very important person

  45. Indeed

  46. The Marder household must be a very unusual place….Dad a middle aged Corbynite and Son a right wing young Tory

  47. Idly googling, I see that more than 2 years before CORBYN was elected Leader*, BARBABY MARDER was promoting him. Not many in the Party were doing that back then

    * Letter published in the Guardian on 24/8/13

  48. Indeed so. People like Barnaby have waited 30 years to get their party back and won’t let go without a fight. It’s the ageing left wingers just as much as the Momentum teenagers which explain the extraordinary tenacity of the Corbyn takeover.

  49. Why is there sometimes all this oooing and ahhing about /amongst left wing politicians. Further up.
    On a more serious point, I do enjoy seeing SNP polticians lose seats to Tories (and they seem very sour losers), but the Tories probably are helped by a credible SNP threat to do well in Scotland.

  50. undoubtedly helped.

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