Glasgow Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 2359 (6%)
Labour: 12996 (33.1%)
Lib Dem: 612 (1.6%)
SNP: 20658 (52.5%)
Green: 1559 (4%)
UKIP: 786 (2%)
TUSC: 119 (0.3%)
Others: 229 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 7662 (19.5%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Glasgow. Part of the Glasgow council area.

Main population centres: Glasgow.

Profile: Covers the city centre itself and the main commercial and shopping areas of Glasgow, plus the two city centre university campuses, Glasgow Caledonian and the University of Strathclyde. The economic renewal of Glasgow since the 1990s has led to rapidly rising property prices and some gentrification, especially in the areas closest to the city centre, Merchant City and Glasgow Green - this makes this the most educated and affluent of the Glasgow seats, even though much of it remains deep in poverty. North of the Clyde the Calton area suffers severe deprivation with major problems of unemployment, crime, drug abuse and prostitution. Life expectancy here in the low 50s, below that in much of the third world. It has been troubled with sectarian and gang violence. Across the river the Gorbals have as bad a reputation, though of some of the most decayed tower blocks and worst slums were cleared in the 1990s. Further south Pollokshields, once a Victorian garden city development, is the heart of the city`s Muslim community, home to a large Pakistani population that provided the constituency with its last two MPs, Mohammed Sarwar and his son Anas.

Politics: Like most of the Glasgow seats, this was a safe Labour seat until the 2015 SNP landslide.

Current MP
ALISON THEWLISS (SNP) Former Parliamentary assistant. Glasgow councillor. First elected as MP for Glasgow Central in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 2158 (7%)
Lab: 15908 (52%)
LDem: 5010 (16%)
SNP: 5357 (18%)
Oth: 2147 (7%)
MAJ: 10551 (35%)
Con: 1757 (6%)
Lab: 13518 (48%)
LDem: 4987 (18%)
SNP: 4148 (15%)
Oth: 3627 (13%)
MAJ: 8531 (30%)
Con: 1082 (5%)
Lab: 13235 (65%)
LDem: 1105 (5%)
SNP: 3417 (17%)
Oth: 1626 (8%)
MAJ: 9818 (48%)
Con: 1484 (6%)
Lab: 19616 (73%)
LDem: 1061 (4%)
SNP: 3748 (14%)
Oth: 904 (3%)
MAJ: 15868 (59%)

2015 Candidates
SIMON BONE (Conservative)
ANAS SARWAR (Labour) Born 1983, son of Mohammed Sarwar, former MP for Glasgow Central. Educated at Hutchesons Grammar. Dentist. Contested Glasgow region in the 2007 Scottish elections. MP for Glasgow Central 2010 to 2015.
CHRIS YOUNG (Liberal Democrat) Educated at St Andrews University. Student. Contested Glasgow Govan 2007, Glasgow Central 2010.
ALISON THEWLISS (SNP) Parliamentary assistant. Glasgow councillor.
KATIE RHODES (Socialist Equality)
Comments - 138 Responses on “Glasgow Central”
  1. I remember the SDP campaiging here in the by-election of 1989, with David Owen, Rosie Barnes, and John Cartwright.

    They were only rewarded with 56 votes.

  2. It was 253 votes but still pretty embarrassing:,_1989

  3. Thanks for that – I thought it was 56 but was incorrect.

    Because I never fully understood why they wound it up after Bootle because I thought they had nearly trebled it to 155.

    It is a pity the rump SDP was wound up though
    because I think it would have continued to be a major embarrassment to the Lib Dems without being a threat to anyone else.

  4. It was a fairly rapid disintegration. They still seemed like a force to be reckoned with at the time of the 1987 election, albeit one that was slightly on the wane. Just 18 months later and they were struggling to beat the loonies in by-elections.

  5. The former MP here (Sarwar Sr) has been today officially appointed as Governor of Punjab in Pakistan.

  6. The PML of which he is a member is a pro-business conservative party.

  7. The former Glasgow Kelvin constituency which covered most of this seat’s territory from 1997 to 2005 and was represented by George Galloway consisted of the City of Glasgow wards of Anderston and City, Hyndland and Hillhead, & Scotstoun and Broomhill. Before then there was of course another constituency called Glasgow Central, whose last MP was the future MSP Mike Watson.

  8. Any change here with the referendum result? Glasgow voted Yes. It’s a massive majority for Labour though.

  9. Its bound to be a big target for the SNP. I sense Sanwar is heading towards the exit door.

  10. I’m wondering if other Glasgow seats might be easier for them. I can see them taking East, South & SW – this one might be rather harder.

  11. Cass Macgregor from The Scottish Greenh Party will be standing in this seat. Don’t have much information yet, but will keep searching.

  12. Its bound to be a big target for the SNP. I sense Sanwar is heading towards the exit door.

    This is make-believe.

  13. For a start, this seat is very ethnically diverse these days.

  14. This constituency includes Woodlands and East Pollokshields….The longest established Asian communities in Glasgow…..its Asian population is the largest in Scotland but still not of the same level of some constituencies in London, Bradford, Birmingham or Leicester.

    It has at least three purpose built mosques…including Glasgow’s Central Mosque in the Gorbals.

    It also includes the Merchant City and expensive riverside developments on both banks of the Clyde.

    Hemmelig appears to be of the view that “ethnically diverse” = MORE LABOUR but this rule does not seem to be the case in a Lab/ SNP battleground.

  15. I don’t think it is the case anymore that the large Indian/Pakistani community in central Glasgow.

    It certainly was when the current MP’s dad held the seat, but in 2011 it seemed to be the case that the large Asian population was being won over by Nicola Sturgeon, whose seat a large part of that community falls within.

    The current First Minister would do well to try and turn this seat into a Sarwar vs. Sturgeon contest, even though she won’t be standing. One would expect the SNP candidate to be high profile here. There were previously rumours of Aamer Anwar facing off against Jeane Freeman to win the nomination, but Anwar has since decided not to stand, and I’m unclear if Freeman is still intending to stand.

  16. Technically this is a marginal by Glasgow standards because it is categorised as a very safe Labour seat as opposed to an ultra safe LABOUR seat..

    My view is that Central, North and South are the 3 of 7 constituencies that will be competitive if the YES vote translates into support for the SNP.

    This constituency is completely within SNP Holyrood constituencies (mostly Southside and largely Kelvin but also perhaps a very small part of Shettleston).

  17. Ashcroft:
    SNP 46
    LAB 36
    CON 5
    LD 2
    OTH 10

    Sarwar is in a lot of trouble here – perhaps not quite a hopeless fight, but unless he can put together a hell of a campaign the SNP look likely to make the capture here.

  18. Who were the large Other votes for here in 2001 and 2005?

  19. Without checking, I’d assume the SSP largely.

  20. The Ashcroft polling is indeed a political earthquake but I still think come May 7th that the SNP will not gain as many seats as are currently indicated. Might well be wrong as it is getting late in the day but I do see some SNP-Labour swingback.

    May well be badly wrong, and am conscious Glasgow was a yes area in the referendum, but personally I think Sarwar will just hold on here.

  21. I think Sarwar is toast here.

    In addition to the poll results, there are two pertinent points:

    There seems to be no discernible incumbency factor for Labour seats. Standard voting intention in this seat for Labour is 36%, but this drops one point to 35% when voters are asked about their own constituency. Sarwar’s profile is not particularly high in Glasgow, despite his elevated role in the Labour Party and despite his dad.

    Secondly, in the question, “Are there any parties you definitely would not vote for”, just 52% of Labour voters say the SNP (the average in other seats is 60-70%). That suggests that half of that 35% Labour vote could still, potentially, move to the SNP, which is astonishingly high in a Lab-SNP battleground. By contrast, 68% of SNP voters have ruled out voting Labour.

  22. What will the Sarwar family do. This seat was “inherited” and the incumbent seems particularly vulnerable.

    I agree with both Mike S and Piemonteis. I think Mike is right to suggest that the SNP won’t gain as many labour seats as Ashcroft and polls are currently suggesting. I think there will be a reversion to the mean in May.

    Having said that, I agree with Piemonteis that Sarwar may well have to revert to dentistry post May 7th.

  23. does anyone have any intelligence on the ground here? how vulnerable is Sarwar? I get the impression he might not be that active on the ground…but who knows?

    The SNP are 1/2 on here, so looks likely that Sarwar is under considerable pressure. He is the son of a rich man, I wonder how much “fight” he has to hold on.

  24. A rich man with a lot of enemies and a lot of skeletons in the closet….remember the scandal here just after the 97 election.

    If the SNP surge goes ahead as forecast, this is one of the two Labour defeats I’m really looking forward to. The other is the clueless idiot in Airdrie & Shotts who gave one of the most brainless and insensitive interviews I’ve ever heard after Thatcher’s death, talking horseshit about the miners strike despite the fact that she wasn’t even born when it started.

    It is nice, once in a while, for timeservers in “rock solid safe” seats to get kicked out….it is democracy in action. It happened to many Tories in 1997 and Scottish Labour could do with a dose of it.

  25. 100% agree with “It is nice, once in a while, for timeservers in “rock solid safe” seats to get kicked out….it is democracy in action. It happened to many Tories in 1997 and Scottish Labour could do with a dose of it”

    “The other is the clueless idiot in Airdrie & Shotts ”
    This did cross my mind and despite not being one to wish the SNP well, I think I’d sneakily enjoy that result.

  26. I think few tears will be shed in the Labour Party membership if she loses – although I will be sad that the seat no longer remains Labour.

  27. In all seriousness I do wonder whether we’ll see any Scottish Alan Howarths or Shaun Woodwards, defecting from Labour to the SNP at the 11th hour to save their seats?

  28. I have a strong suspicion the SNP would deselect them if they tried.

  29. Yes, the hatred between the two parties and their respective politicians is probably too strong for it to fly. But it’s happened before with maverick MPs like Dick Douglas and Jim Sillars. I could see someone like Katy Clark being comfortable in the SNP.

  30. I currently both Sarwar & Pamela Nash (the one you described as a clueless idiot from Airdrie & Shotts) down as defeats to the SNP. There have been slight, though not conclusive, signs of a cooling in the SNP lead, which looks more like 10-15% at the moment than the 20+ it was just over a week ago. The chances of Nash holding on look a little better than they did, though she will probably need the SNP lead to come fairly close to disappearing altogether if she is to do so. Sarwar in my opinion has a slightly harder task on his hands even than Nash.

  31. Though Nash doesn’t benefit from being a prominent Asian in a very Asian seat. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a Tower Hamlets style result here…it’s not as if the Sarwars are strangers to those kind of allegations already.

  32. “I could see someone like Katy Clark being comfortable in the SNP.”

    I’m sure Katy Clark would be accepted into the SNP with open arms. I think there is a begrudging respect of Clark within the SNP, which perhaps stretches to no other Scottish Labour MP.

    Regarding Nash, there are rumours of infighting among the SNP in Airdrie, and the selection process seems to have been keenly fought, with one candidate also controversially removed from the shortlist. I don’t think it will be enough to keep Nash in her seat, but it could ensure a decent SSP or Independent vote.

    Although Glasgow Central has a large Asian population, most of this falls into Sturgeon’s seat, and the in-roads made by the SNP among the Asian community has been impressive. There is also a strong Asian presence within the party in this area. Sarwar can no longer rely on these votes.

  33. Would that the world you lived in were real but there’s still a significant SNP lead even if it does look like disappearing a bit in the last few days. I still predict the SNP on roughly 20 seats.

  34. Shaun Woodward did defect, but not to save his seat… he was the tory MP for Witney, married to a Sainsbury, and rich as Midas. He could have stayed there as long as he wanted.

    HH has good sense, though an acerbic manner at times, but this was below the belt.

  35. Maramaduke.. thanks for the diatribe.. jazzed up my morning..

  36. “Shaun Woodward did defect, but not to save his seat… he was the tory MP for Witney, married to a Sainsbury, and rich as Midas. He could have stayed there as long as he wanted.

    HH has good sense, though an acerbic manner at times, but this was below the belt.”

    You misread me….I didn’t mean to say that either Woodward or Howarth defected to save their seats (Howarth’s was also very safe). I merely used them as examples of defectors from a sinking ship.

  37. “Scotland has still one hated Tory MP”

    Hated by who? The nats?

    I can’t imagine David Mundell being vehemently hated by his constituents. He represents a seat likely to be far more pro-union than those in the central belt especially the Borders part.

  38. I agree. I can think of any number of Tories who are hated more than David Mundell. This sort of glib phrase is pointless on this site in particular. Meanwhile, I think we have to calm down a little about the Scottish polls. There is not yet convincing evidence that the SNP lead is narrowing, though a couple more consecutive polls showing this would start to look more convincing. It could still be little more than statistical noise.

  39. There was a Panelbase poll some weeks ago that showed the SNP lead reduced to 10% but that was then superceded by a whole bunch of polls putting the SNP back ahead.

    I understand that the latest narrower lead poll had some parts of its fieldwork that were older than the Ashcroft polls?

    Regarding David Mundell….I have said this before….but his borders seat could be more influenced by adjacent English border seats like Penrith & the Border and Hexham more than constituencies in Central Scotland.

    If Mundell is so ‘hated’ how could he have more than doubled his majority in an election which saw a swing from Con to Lab in Scotland?

  40. Bbcqt from Glasgow. The panel includes Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander MP, SNP minister for Europe Humza Yousaf MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson MSP, Labour’s deputy leader in Scotland Kezia Dugdale MSP, & journalist Toby Young #bbcqt

  41. What a hideous panel. They should have invited David Coburn from UKIP, who called Ruth Davidson “a fat lesbian”.

  42. I will be in GLASGOW for 2 days this week and hope to carry out 5 or 6 straw polls, will put up the results later in the week, a number of people have requested straw polls in Glasgow, I won’t have time to do all of them but as I say I try and do 5 or 6 straw polls in person

  43. Paul, Be sure to wear a Green Scarf.

  44. Straw Poll carried out 15-April


  45. Labour Hold

  46. Surprising prediction.

  47. When Nicola Sturgeon’s Glasgow Govan was abolished in 2011, she gained a new notional Labour constituency that merged her old constituency (minus Govan plus Gorbals and Hutchensontown from Glasgow Shettleston).

    I thought she may lose when it was not clear that there would be a swing to the SNP in 2011. In fact, she won by over 4000.

    SNP Nicola Sturgeon 12,306 54.4 +14.8
    Labour Stephen Curran 7,957 35.2 -4.6
    Conservative David Meikle 1,733 7.7 0
    Liberal Democrats Kenn Elder 612 2.7 -6.9
    Majority 4,349 19.2
    Turnout 22,608 43.1

    She must be on course for a very large majority here next May, say –

    SNP Nicola Sturgeon 16000
    Labour 4500
    Conservative 1500
    Liberal Democrats 500
    Majority 11500

  48. Some interesting facts about the Glasgow Kelvin constituency:

    • In the 2014 European parliamentary elections the seat had the highest Green vote of any of the Glasgow Scottish Parliament seats: taking 4,764 votes. The Green vote across Glasgow fell in the 2015 General Election, likely due to tactical voting in favour of the SNP.
    • Glasgow Kelvin has the second largest combined Liberal Democrat/Conservative vote in Glasgow.
    • The seat had a Yes vote of 52.4%.
    • Labour received around 40% of the vote in 2011.

    With this in mind, I think that it is perhaps possible for Labour to take the seat in the Scottish Parliament: if the Liberal Democrat vote collapses in the constituency as has been experienced right across Scotland and tactically votes for the Labour party, there is a large Green vote in 2016 (Patrick Harvey is standing here: I imagine they will pull off an impressive performance in the seat, yet certainly not enough to win it) then there is a very slim possibility – but certainly a possibility none-the-less – that Labour could just squeeze in between the Scottish National Party and Greens to take the seat. It would need a collapse in the Lib Dem vote, which is almost certain in the seat, and possibly a degree of tactical voting from Tory voters in the seat.

    The chances of this is really quite small, but it is definitely possible if the Greens can repeat or enhance their 2014 performance for the seat. For this to occur I’d imagine the Unionist parties would need a slightly better performance than in 2015, and even then it’s quite unlikely, but certainly a possibility – I still have the SNP as favourites in the Kelvin seat though!

  49. A lot of people, even with Patrick Harvey standing, will likely vote SNP in the constituency and Green in the list, especially if there’s a risk of letting Labour in. This is a seat where Labour have likely gone back a fair way since 2011 anyway.

  50. @ Simon – right, so nationalists do vote tactically according to you just now, but Tories and Lib Dems don’t (your comments on Orkney and Shetland page)?

    It’s a very likely SNP hold anyway: most people voted Green in the Europeans because they feel that they are stronger on European issues, whereas the same is not so true in the Scottish Parliament I believe.

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