North East Fife

2015 Result:
Conservative: 7373 (16.3%)
Labour: 3476 (7.7%)
Lib Dem: 14179 (31.3%)
SNP: 18523 (40.9%)
Green: 1387 (3.1%)
Independent: 325 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 4344 (9.6%)

Category: Marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Mid Scotland and Fife. Part of the Fife council area.

Main population centres: St. Andrews, Cupar, Newport-on-Tay, Newburgh, Auchtermuchty, Anstruther, Ladybank, Pittenweem.

Profile: The "East Neuk" end of the Fife peninsula, this is a prosperous rural area, popular with tourists and for second homes and far less industrial than other parts of Fife. The electorate is spread across a large number of small towns, the largest is St Andrews, home to the famous golf course and Scotland`s oldest university.

Politics: North East Fife has a long Liberal tradition - it was once represented by Herbert Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister. The Liberal MPs here in the 20s and 30s were part of the factions who backed the National Government and would eventually merge into the Conservative party after the Second World War bringing this seat with them - it was represented by a National Liberal MP from 1929 until 1961 and the victor of the 1961 by-election stood as a Conservative and National Liberal candidate. With the final extinction of the National Liberals it remained a Conservative seat until 1987 when it was won by Menzies Campbell, later to serve as Lib Dem leader. The similar North East Fife seat in the Scottish Parliament was gained by the SNP in 2011, and the Westminster seat followed in 2015.

Current MP
STEPHEN GETHINS (SNP) Educated at Dundee University. Former consultant and advisor to Alex Salmond. First elected as MP for Fife North East in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 8715 (22%)
Lab: 6869 (17%)
LDem: 17763 (44%)
SNP: 5685 (14%)
Oth: 1032 (3%)
MAJ: 9048 (23%)
Con: 7517 (19%)
Lab: 4920 (13%)
LDem: 20088 (52%)
SNP: 4011 (10%)
Oth: 2020 (5%)
MAJ: 12571 (33%)
Con: 8190 (24%)
Lab: 3950 (11%)
LDem: 17926 (52%)
SNP: 3596 (10%)
Oth: 1030 (3%)
MAJ: 9736 (28%)
Con: 11076 (26%)
Lab: 4301 (10%)
LDem: 21432 (51%)
SNP: 4545 (11%)
Oth: 485 (1%)
MAJ: 10356 (25%)

2015 Candidates
HUW BELL (Conservative) Business consultant and former RAF officer.
BRIAN THOMSON (Labour) Born St Andrews. Chartered town planner. Fife councillor since 2012.
TIM BRETT (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Gravesend Grammar school For Boys and Bristol University. Former NHS manager. Fife councillor since 2003.
STEPHEN GETHINS (SNP) Educated at Dundee University. Consultant and former advisor to Alex Salmond.
Comments - 392 Responses on “Fife North East”
  1. They do all have 7 wards, so should be about the right size,

  2. Ward’s are not equally sized. This arrangement does not work.

    Clackmannanshire & West Fife – 60,993 (10,038 under range of acceptability)
    Dunfermline & Cowdenbeath – 86,106 (7,599 over range of acceptability)
    Kirkcaldy & Glenrothes – 78,845 (338 over range of acceptability)
    North East Fife – 79,184 (677 over range of acceptability)

    With the transfer of Rosyth to Dunfermline this arrangement could work, although it would result in messy boundaries around Lothian and some large, unnecessary review areas.

    One plus of the arrangement is that it allows for Cumbernauld to be joined with Airdrie, allowing for some logical boundaries in North Lanarkshire without the need to split up towns.

  3. Yeah, it was a rough sketch of a plan rather than a definite proposal. You could move Rosyth into the Clackmannan and West Fife seat, and then you’d only need minor tweaking to make it work. I’m not sure why it would impact on the Lothians if the BC did adopt something like this. Edinburgh and West Lothian ought to get 6 seats between them, and make a reasonable-sized review area. Assuming they can make Falkirk and Stirling work out reasonably, then it seems a possibility.

  4. Much of west and central Fife was very industrial/mining country, with very left-wing politics. I believe that West Fife elected a Communist MP post-war and there was still the odd Communist councillor around until relatively recently. There are streets with names like Gagarin Way, and even in the last locals there were wards where Labout was polling 60% plus. Clackmannan is kind of the edge of industrial Scotland moving towards the Highlands, and has always been a decent area for the SNP. I suspect that nowadays it’s actually a decent match for the far west of Fife, and even some of the areas near the Bridge which are increasingly commuter towns for Edinburgh.

  5. That does not fit within the range of acceptability Simon. There’s nothing wrong with my arrangement, which allows for fair boundaries around the rest of Scotland.

    The problem with your suggestion is that Falkirk would need to be grouped in with West Lothian etc. which will cause complications further down the line (in Edinburgh, Borders and the west of Scotland).

  6. There’s no real reason why Clackmannanshire should be grouped in with the moderately mixed west of Fife versus the industrial north of Falkirk. I don’t see any basis in this arrangement being more preferable or more representative to the communities of Scotland (in actual fact probably the opposite due to the mess it will cause in the south/south-west). No thought has been put into the impact it would have across the rest of Scotland (you haven’t even considered the messy review areas we would need, effectively which would exist in name only).

  7. As for a background of Fife:

    The Kingdom of Fife (a title proudly adopted in the 17th Century) is a demographically mixed peninsula located on the east coast of Scotland between the Firths of Tay and Forth.

    Towards the south of the county is a stretch of gritty industrial towns and villages located between Cowdenbeath and Kelty to the west and Leven to the east. A region once dependent upon the mining industry, the area is synonymous with a mix of left-wing traditions.

    The area includes the new town of Glenrothes: a town which has (as with all new towns in Scotland) become a ring-fenced SNP stronghold. West of here is the former coalfields of Cowdenbeath, whose politics have traditionally been comprehensively left-wing. Once housing a Communist MP (West Fife), the ward of Ballingry was the last ward in Great Britain to return a Communist Councillor (Willie Clark), who now represents the Lochs ward as an Independent.

    Others might have you believe that the County is deprived: it not, it is almost a mini-Scotland – having 3 Labour MP’s and 1 Liberal Democrat in 2010, reflecting the wider Scottish average, and voting No at the Scottish Independence referendum by 55.0% (just under the Scottish average of 55.3% No).

    Towards the north-east of Fife is an expanse of well-to-do rural areas, whose politics have generally been of the more Liberal calibre. The area is currently represented by Scotland’s Liberal leader Willie Rennie at the Scottish Parliament, covering affluent villages such as Cupar and St Andrews.

    In the south-west is Dunfermline and its surrounding areas: an area which is relatively affluent versus the Scottish average, to the south-east of the town is the suburb of Dalgety Bay, a rare exception of Conservative strength in Fife. Dunfermline was won by Willie Rennie at a by-election in 2006 and was represented Jim Tolson from 2007 until 2011 at the Scottish Parliament.

  8. 😛 thank you, such as?

  9. Oh sorry I misread, but thank you 🙂

  10. Very shocked at this.

    2015 notional for the North East Fife constituency (Scottish Parliament boundaries):

    Scottish National – 37%
    Liberal Democrat – 37%
    Conservative – 18%
    Labour – 4%
    Other – 4%

    Very much regret not doing a notional here before the 2016 SP election!

  11. Local council by-election tonight in the Leven, Kennoway and Largo ward. At Westminster the ward is split between the Glenrothes and North East Fife constituencies.

    In the west of the ward situated just north of the River Largo is the village of Windygates. The village is relatively prosperous. Most of the central-west of the village is made up of council housing, in contrast to the more affluent suburbs in the north-east. There’s a pretty solid SNP vote in this area, who managed to take 56% of the vote at the 2003 local council elections.

    Moving north is the larger and more deprived village of Kennoway. Kennoway mostly consists of council housing, with high deprivation particularly in the south-east. Similar to Windygates there is a strong SNP vote around this area, who managed to take 54% of the vote here in 2003.

    South-east between the banks of the River Leven and the coast is the ward’s main settlement of Leven. Leven forms a part of the ‘Levenmouth’ urban area with the larger connecting town of Methil to the south and Buckhaven further south. The town is an industrial working class area with relatively high rates of deprivation, though its less deprived than the wider “Levenmouth” average. In 2003 the Leven East ward returned 50% Labour, 26% SNP, 14.5% Conservative and 10% Liberal Democrat, with Leven West returning 65% Labour, 25% SNP, 5% Conservative and 4.5% Liberal Democrat.

    North-east along the coast is the village of Lower Largo, and the much smaller village of Upper Largo in-land. This area is significantly more prosperous than Leven and Kennoway. Upper Largo, Lower Largo and their surrounding hinterlands returned a significant 50% Liberal Democrat vote at the 2003 local elections, the Conservatives managing 28% of the vote, SNP 16% and Labour 6%.

    Overall the ward is mostly deprived and working class in nature. The SNP took the largest share of the vote here in the 2012 council elections, and my estimates suggest that the area voted in favour of Scottish independence in 2014 by around 52-53% of the vote.

  12. I would expect that the SNP will hold on here, though a Labour gain is possible (albeit unlikely).

  13. I apologise the by-election in Leven, Kennoway and Largo is actually the 15th of December.

  14. Leven, Kennoway and Largo local council by-election today. Should be an easy SNP hold.

  15. Is that one seat?

  16. Leven, Kennoway and Largo is a single ward consisting of four seats. One of those four seats are up for grabs in today’s by-election.

  17. Turnout of 27.6% in Leven, Kennoway and Largo. Apparently Labour are shaping up too well while there’s a big lift in the Tory vote.

  18. Labour aren’t* shaping up to well sorry.

  19. SNP HOLD Leven, Kennoway and Largo

    Well Labour are gone in Scotland! Well done to the Conservatives and Lib Dems!

    First Preference Vote:
    Alistair Suttie (Scottish National) … 1,501 (49.0%)
    Graham David Richie (Conservative) … 752 (24.6%)
    Steve Wood (Liberal Democrat) … 580 (18.9%)
    Colin Davidson (Labour) … 155 (5.1%)
    Iain Duncan Morrice (Green) … 74 (2.4%)

    Turnout: 27.6% (-12.7)
    Valid votes: 3,062

  20. Keep in mind the fact that this is a heavily working class area (which voted Yes in the 2014 referendum) with strong SNP/Labour traditions…

    And under normal circumstances those results would yield: 2 SNP 1 Con 1 Lib (from 2 SNP 2 Lab in 2012).

    Well I’m sorry I doubted you Liberal Democrats.

  21. The change from 2012:

    CON + 17.8
    LIB +9.0
    SNP +8.0
    GRN +2.4
    LAB -30.2 (yes, that is negative thirty point two).

  22. Apologies that result was heavily misreported.

    Here are the actual figures, which make considerably more sense!

    Alistair Suttie (Scottish National) … 1,501 (37.0%)
    Colin Davidson (Labour) … 1,155 (28.4%)
    Graham David Richie (Conservative) … 752 (18.5%)
    Steve Wood (Liberal Democrat) … 580 (14.3%)
    Iain Duncan Morrice (Green) … 74 (1.8%)

    Turnout: 27.6% (-12.7)
    Valid votes: 4,062

    Scottish National -4.1
    Labour -6.9
    Conservative +11.7
    Liberal Democrat +4.3
    Green N/A

  23. The actual result would probably yield in normal circumstances: 2 SNP, 1 Labour, 1 Conservative.

  24. Interesting result. Not bad for the SNP.

  25. I disagree considering they’re down from 2012 and this ward voted Yes in the referendum.

    It’s a good result for the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

  26. on it again NYT UK

  27. Eh, a governing party only losing that much? I’d be okay with it, if I were them.

  28. Well if this has any bearing on the results of the 2017 locals the Conservatives could come first in Scotland…

  29. That would be remarkably but how likely do think that would be

  30. It’s pretty unlikely weighing in turnout etc. but I wouldn’t completely rule it out.

  31. Recovery in Scotland may lead to the Tory share of the vote rising in 2020 while at the same time they lose their majority. It’s good news for them that their vote is increasing in Fife but it’s totally useless in terms of winning more Westminster seats.

  32. Yes. They need improvement targeted where it is needed most rather than a general rise which would largely be wasted.

  33. Hemmy: if anything, voting is getting more fragmented, which surely means parties can win seats and therefore parliamentary majorities on lower vote shares?

    I can’t see how the Tories can get 37% again, on more favourable boundaries, and yet fail to get another majority, except in the extreme case that there is a 100% commitment to the “progressive alliance” by all parties apart from the Tories and UKIP. And that is obviously not going to happen because the Labour Party is finding it hard enough to maintain its internal alliances.

  34. On a less serious note, why is the mighty Boundary Commission intent on giving constituencies such dull names. Frankly, St Andrews and Cupar, as suggested in the ditched 2013 review, is much more personable and respectful of local tradition, even if doesn’t perfectly reflect the geography of the seat.

    But most of all I miss the old Westminster seats in Glasgow – Anniesland and Kelvin etc – because they were so quirky

    First world problems eh!

  35. This list is so bloody pointless can you please stop spraying it about everywhere? Nobody cares…

  36. No St Eves is much more deprived: this constituency is pretty affluent.

  37. ‘No St Eves is much more deprived: this constituency is pretty affluent.’

    Absolutely – easily the most affluent seat in Fife, which in general is a pretty solidly working class area. Fife NE is very much against the grain in that respect – very different from impoverished Cornwall

    I didn’t realise that at one time, Campbell – the previous incumbent – was known as “the fastest white man on the planet”, running the 100m in 10.2 seconds twice during 1967.

    Also In his first 10.2 second race he beat O.J. Simpson who was then an aspiring athlete

  38. Revised Scottish independence referendum for Fife:

    UK Parliament:
    North East Fife – 64% NO
    Dunfermline and West Fife – 58% NO
    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – 52% NO
    Glenrothes – 54% YES

    Scottish Parliament:
    North East Fife – 66% NO
    Dunfermline – 59% NO
    Cowdenbeath – 52% NO
    Kirkcaldy – 51% YES
    Mid Fife and Glenrothes – 51% YES

    The proposed North East Fife constituency from the Boundary Commission’s initial proposed Westminster boundaries for Scotland had an approximate No vote of 59%: the boundaries are significantly worse for the Liberal Democrats in comparison to the existing North East Fife boundaries (primarily as a result of the seat’s expansion into the Buckhaven, Methil & Wemyss Villages ward, which had the largest Yes vote in Fife at around 62% Yes).

  39. Adding to that: my independence referendum notionals would suggest that the North East Fife wards of St. Andrews and Tay Bridgehead voted Liberal Democrat in 2015.

    All wards in the Scottish Parliament seat of North East Fife appear to have voted Liberal Democrat at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

  40. Councillor Elizabeth Riches has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for this constituency. Elizabeth has been a councillor for 27 years, and this seat is a top target for the Lib Dems in this election, as Willie Rennie won the equivalent seat in the Scottish Parliament election last year

  41. What are Tory chances in a seat like this?

  42. A drop in vote for the SNP plus a squeeze on the Tories/Lab vote should see the Lib Dems regain the seat…just

  43. I’m not sure how much squashier the Tory vote here is really.

  44. PAZ
    A drop in vote for the SNP plus a squeeze on the Tories/Lab vote should see the Lib Dems regain the seat…just
    April 28th, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Why would the Tory vote go down?

  45. Scottish politics has become more polarised on unionist/nationalist lines since May 2015. That will presumably manifest itself in more Tories voting tactically for the Lib Dems in seats where they are the clear frontrunners and vice versa.

    I’m not so sure about Tory/Labour tactical voting. I suspect that it depends on the seat.

    I suspect that a lot will depend on who looks like the best challengers to the SNP in particular seats come June.

  46. How can the Tory vote go up if you say the will vote tactically for the LibDems? One or the other will happen but not both!

  47. Anti-Tory tactical voting is probably still a more common occurrence in constituencies where the Conservatives are the primary challenger to the SNP over pro-Tory tactical voting. That being said the effects of anti-Tory tactical voting are probably balanced out by a lack of anti-SNP tactical voting from would-be Conservative voters in constituencies where they are the clear challengers.

  48. Here’s a piece on Riches’ selection:

    I think the idea of a Tory bounce was somewhat put paid to by the LD victory at Holyrood. I can’t see voters returning to the Tories when there’s a clear chance of an LD gain. I’d also note that there were many commenters here who expected a Con surge in 2015 — and instead their vote dropped.

    I’d say it’ll be close, likely with LD and SNP both in low 40s.

  49. What people are saying re: Tories continuing to tactically vote in constituencies where Labour or the SNP are clearly ahead makes sense.

    HOWEVER, this means that (given current polling figures) the Tories must have some hefty increases in other constituencies, because there are a lot of constituencies where the Tories are in a distant 3rd place.

    Will Mundell have a +20% majority?! 😀

    More seriously, this makes me wonder about areas like the North East and Borders. If the Tory vote is going up a lot there, then there might be a very concentrated SNP to Tory swing. (10% of Tory voters are ex-SNP voters, according to the latest Yougov poll.)

  50. Correction: 10% of SNP voters are now voting Tory. So that’s worth about 5% on a national scale…

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