Glasgow North

2015 Result:
Conservative: 2901 (7.9%)
Labour: 10315 (27.9%)
Lib Dem: 1012 (2.7%)
SNP: 19610 (53.1%)
Green: 2284 (6.2%)
UKIP: 486 (1.3%)
TUSC: 160 (0.4%)
Others: 154 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 9295 (25.2%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

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

Main population centres: Glasgow.

Profile: The north of Glasgow, the seat contains the large council estate of Summerston on the outskirts of the city and the areas of Maryhill, Kelvingrove and Hillhead. While there are tower blocks and poverty here, there are also handsome original sandstone tenements and large Victorian houses that are popular with Glasgow`s middle classes. Glasgow University is contained within the seat, towards the City centre and the many students and academics mean this is one of the best educated seats in the city.

Politics: Even in the days of Labour hegemony on Glasgow this seat was not quite as monolithically Labour as the others. One of its predecessors, Glasgow Hillhead, was the last Conservative seat in Glasgow and following the death of Tom Galbraith (the father of the present Lord Strathclyde) in 1982 it was won by Roy Jenkins of the SDP. In 2015 it fell to the SNP.

Current MP
PATRICK GRADY (SNP) Educated at Strathclyde University. Contested Glasgow North 2010. First elected as MP for Glasgow North in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 2089 (7%)
Lab: 13181 (45%)
LDem: 9283 (31%)
SNP: 3530 (12%)
Oth: 1530 (5%)
MAJ: 3898 (13%)
Con: 2441 (9%)
Lab: 11001 (39%)
LDem: 7663 (27%)
SNP: 3614 (13%)
Oth: 3202 (11%)
MAJ: 3338 (12%)
Con: 1162 (5%)
Lab: 13420 (60%)
LDem: 2372 (11%)
SNP: 3532 (16%)
Oth: 1745 (8%)
MAJ: 9888 (44%)
Con: 1747 (6%)
Lab: 19301 (65%)
LDem: 2119 (7%)
SNP: 5037 (17%)
Oth: 1517 (5%)
MAJ: 14264 (48%)

2015 Candidates
LAUREN HANKINSON (Conservative) Parliamentary advisor.
ANN MCKECHIN (Labour) Born 1961, Paisley. Educated at Paisley Grammar School and Strathclyde University. Solicitor. Contested Scotland 1999 European Election. MP for Glasgow Maryhill 2001 to 2015. PPS to Jacqui Smith 2005. Under-secretary of State for Scotland 2008-2010. Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland 2010-2011.

Comments - 124 Responses on “Glasgow North”
  1. “It is weird looking at the descriptions of these seats which were rock solid for Labour or the Lib Dems now described as safe for another party after just one election, although that may be true.”

    One school of thought is that there could be a significant residual shift back to Labour in Scotland because the SNP were winning what were traditionally rock solid Labour seats.

    Labour’s defeat in their traditional Clydeside and Central Scotland heartland would be the equivalent of Labour being wiped out is South Wales, South Yorkshire or Durham.

    What happened to Labour in Scotland would be like the Tories being wiped out in Surrey, Hertfordshire or Berkshire.

    Indeed, may Tories believed that the Conservatives would recover 50 to 100 seats in 4 or 5 years after 1997. In practice they made a net gain of only 1 seat in 2001.

    The problem for Scottish Labour is that in many respects last years general election effectively more equivalent of 2001 than 1997 because the SNP had already crushed Scottish Labour at the 2011 Holyrood elections 3 years earlier.

    Arguably the huge swings from Labour to SNP in 2015 had already been largely founded on a large swing to the SNP in 2011. Labour’s problem in Scotland is that they have now been consistently defeated by the SNP at a series of elections; 2011 Holyrood, 2012 Scottish Unitary Councils, 2014 Euro and 2015 General Election.

  2. 2012? I thought Labour did reasonably well then on about parity with the SNP. The 2015 results look worse than 2011.

  3. It’s kind of cute how the Tories think their Scottish revival is just around the corner. Realistically, the Tories are the least likely of the three unionist parties to make progress. The Lib Dems have the advantage (in the seats they used to hold) of being by far the easiest tactical vote for most unionists. The Labour party have the advantage of being the main alternative to the SNP in most of Scotland, so may well be best placed to benefit from a drop in SNP support. The Tories still have their historic problem, in that 80% of the Scottish electorate will not consider voting for them.

  4. The thing about the Scottish Tories though is that their core vote is very resilient. 80% of the electorate may not consider voting for them but the other 20% will stick with them through thick and thin. Plus I think Ruth Davidson is fantastic – she has that human touch that most UK politicians lack, particularly those in the blue corner.

    Political systems in the developed world are well-defended against the possibility of a one-party state and so I expect that the SNP will face a challenge to its leadership one day. Maybe it will be after Scotland has seceded from the union, and maybe it will come from an insurgent rather than an already established party, but it will happen eventually.

  5. You say 20% always vote Tory in Scotland, but they only received about 14% at the general election this year IIRC.

  6. Granted I can’t remember the actual figure, but it was pretty close to their 2010 vote share, quite unlike the other unionist parties who haemorrhaged votes to the SNP.

    In any case, if your party is toxic with 80% of the country then getting 14% is pretty good going (I guess a similar situation to UKIP elsewhere in the UK).

  7. The problem they have is that their support is going down ever so slowly. Now 17% would be good, with 14% or so being standard. 10-15 years ago 17% was standard, and below 15% would have been seen as poor.

    And yeah, everyone says Ruth Davidson is good. Then again, everyone also said Annabel Goldie was good. Neither of them has shifted the needle for the Scottish Tories, which makes me think they may be a touch overrated.

  8. ” The thing about the Scottish Tories though is that their core vote is very resilient. 80% of the electorate may not consider voting for them but the other 20% will stick with them through thick and thin. ”

    What drivel this is.

    Take a look at East Renfrewshire where the Conservatives have fallen from 34% in 1997 to 22% in 2015.

    Ditto numerous other once winnable constituences.

  9. As has been noted on these pages before, generally Scottish Tory voters go not to other parties, but to the crematorium.

  10. Actually, most of them do. You just prefer the YouGov results, so you are taking them as gospel and ignoring the other polls.

  11. “As has been noted on these pages before, generally Scottish Tory voters go not to other parties, but to the crematorium.”

    An opinion poll was conducted in Glasgow Hillhead around 1990 that placed the Tories on around 20%. The poll was broken down into age groups and Conservatives scored 10% amongst 18 to 25 and 30% amongst people of 65 +.

    In growing up in Glasgow, I did come across many Labour voters who admitted that their parents and grandparents were Tories together with elderly Tory voters who said that their children were socialists.

    This trend is most evident in generally middle class urban areas like Glasgow Hillhead.

  12. If Scottish Tories don’t go to the crematorium, they move to places south where they are not hated, can get a good job, don’t freeze their balls off for nine tenths of the year and where the lifestyle is healthy enough for them to have a life expectancy above 60.

    Indeed you are such a person Dalek so I’d expect you to understand the trend better than most.

    Prior to independence the Scottish Tories are just as fucked as Scottish Labour. They will only revive in an independent Scotland where real choices have to be made between spending and raising taxes.

  13. Oddschecker has given the first constituency odds for 2 constituencies (Edinburgh Central and Glasgow Kelvin).

    SNP 1/25, Green 12, Lab 16, Con 50 and LD 100.

    It would not only infer that the SNP lead over Labour will widen somewhat but Labour could be beaten into third place by the Greens.

    2011 Result (Glasgow Kelvin) –

    SNP Sandra White 10,640 43.3 +14
    Labour Pauline McNeill 9,758 39.8 +6
    Liberal Democrats Natalie McKee 1,900 7.7 -5.9
    Conservative Ruth Davidson 1,845 7.5 -0.8
    Independent Tom Muirhead 405 1.6 +1.6

  14. Interesting new ward boundary proposals in Glasgow ahead of the 2017 Scottish Local Elections.

    Pollokshields Ward is being extended from being a 3 member ward to a 4 member ward. It’s currently Pollokshields, Shawlands and Strathbungo but will expand to include Dumbreck and Craigton. Craigton was a Labour area but is now likely to be a strong SNP area. Dumbreck use to be Conservative. In fact at the 1988 Glasgow Govan by election it was the only ballot box within the then Glasgow Govan constituency where the Tories won the plurality of the vote. If Pollokshields has maintained enough Conservative vote to return 1 of 3 Conservative councillors then the Tories may have retained some support in Dumbreck.

    Even if the extension to boundaries to Pollokshields are slightly unfavourable the increase from 3 to 4 seats may help the Conservatives to retain their only seat in Glasgow next year.

    In Glasgow’s West End the old Kelvinside Ward is more or less being re-created. Kelvinside and Kelvindale return Tory Councillors as late as 1992 while the combines Kelvindale-Kelvinside Strathclyde Regional Council Division returned a Lib Dem.

    In 1995, three wards were created for the new Glasgow Unitary Authority (all notionally Tory on the 1992 poll). Jordanhill was won by the Lib Dems, Kelvindale was held by the Conservatives and Hyndland returned its first every Labour councillor by the slimiest margin.

    When the new multi member wards were created for the 2003 Scottish Unitary Authority elections Jordanhill went into Partick West, Kelvindale into Maryhill-Kelvin and Hyndland into Hillhead.

    Effectively, three Conservative prospects were merged with three wider Labour areas.

    Now the new Downhill/ Kelvindale Ward will cover Kelvindale, Kelvinside, Hyndland, Downhill and much of Partick.

    On past voting the Conservatives should be able to win 1 of the 4 seats if their vote has held up as strongly as in Pollokshields.

    On 1992 voting, Downhill/ Kelvindale Ward would have been likely to return Con 2, Lab 1 and the 4th seat being either Lib Dem or SNP, however, like many inner city middle class areas the Conservative vote has dwindled.
    The collapse of the Lib Dems, however, means that this ward could be SNP 2 Lab 1 and the 4th seat being a contest between the Tories and the Greens.

  15. Your analysis is interesting, Dalek. However, it will be of limited relevance whilst SNP continue to sweep the board

    I can’t help feeling that aspirant non-SNP politicians, of whatever party, would do best to start by working assiduously on the doorstep, taking up individual political concerns. Then they should pick up on any SNP failures to deliver as well as putting forward a limited number of clear, focussed proposals pf their own. To my mind, such a strategy is more important at the current time than one of playing the numbers game. .

  16. At the Holyrood elections in 2011 the SNP outpolled Labour for the first time in Glasgow and won 5 seats Anniesland, Cathcart, Kelvin, Shettleston, Southside to Labour’s retentions of 3 seats Maryhill & Springburn, Pollok and Provan.

    Labour had been tipped to lose control of Glasgow in 2012 but held on with an overall majority following a poor SNP campaign. In most wards Labour won more seats than the SNP and the SNP equalised with Labour in only a few.

    I would imagine in 2017 the SNP would be most likely to win more council seats than Labour in almost every ward.

  17. The SNP clearly won a number of unionist majority constituencies in 2011 (Aberdeenshire West, Fife North East, Edinburgh Southern and Edinburgh Western).

    However, Edinburgh Central may be an example of a slightly nationalist majority constituency, which saw the pro YES Green Party polling over 4000 votes and a unionist vote that concentrated more around one of the 3 main unionist parties than in 2011.

    Scottish politics is becoming more like Northern Ireland where unionist and nationalist constituencies can be won by the other side due to the relative strength of the DUP, UUP, SF and SDLP.

  18. Edinburgh Central is a heavily unionist constituency in the same line as Edinburgh Southern, Western or Pentlands. The Greens attract votes from a mixed bag of people, not all of whom are supporters of independence, but I think it’s undeniable that their decision to stand in Central made Ruth Davidson’s victory possible.

    In practical terms, anywhere that had a Yes vote of 40%+ is a good bet for the SNP assuming no Green candidate, and any sort of split unionist vote at all.

  19. The Greens deprived the SNP of Edinburgh Central. The Tory vote in Central wasn’t spectacularly different from most seats in the North East, they just managed to split the opposition in an effective manner which gave them the lead.

    It is spectacular result, although arguably so too is the result in most constituencies won by the unionists other than the two border ones and the two northern isle ones.

  20. “Amazing how quickly some on this site dismissed Ruth Davidson’s spectacular gain in Edinburgh Central because the Greens stood.”

    I think Davidson’s increase in support in this constituency was spectacular and don’t dismiss her achievement. I just don’t think that the huge swing that she achieved would not have been enough without the intervention of the Greens.

    Edinburgh Central has been Labour from 1945 with the exception of 1983 to 1987 at Westminster and 2011 and 2016 at Holyrood.

    The reason for the Conservative win in 1983 was the removal of the working class Stenhouse Muir and the gain of the middle class Murrayfield, Dean Village, Stockbridge and New Town.

    Stenhouse Muir was returned in 1997 and Stockbridge and New Town were removed, restoring Central back into being a traditional Labour constituency.

    Davidson increased the Conservative vote by more that 2 fold from 15% to 30.4%. Incredible, but not quite enough to win without the intervention of the Greens.

  21. Dalek is completely right. Remarkable result for Ruth and the Tories but if the Greens hadn’t stood she’d have been a few thousand votes short. It was just one of those nights where breaks like the Greens randomly putting up a candidate there fell their way. There were also a couple of regions where they edged the last list seat extremely marginally.

  22. Exactly right: if the Greens had of intervened elsewhere we would probably had a Tory gain in Perthshire South & Kinros-shire, although Ayr could’ve gone either way.

  23. “Exactly right: if the Greens had of intervened elsewhere we would probably had a Tory gain in Perthshire South & Kinros-shire, although Ayr could’ve gone either way.”

    Glasgow Kelvin and Edinburgh Central were unique in providing Green votes of 6000 + and 4000 +.

    The only other constituencies in Scotland that the Greens could poll as strongly are Edinburgh Southern, Edinburgh Northern & Leith, Glasgow Southside and Glasgow Cathcart.

  24. @ Dalek –
    The Greens took 2,264 votes on the list in Perthshire South & Kinross-shire, well in excess of Roseanna Cunningham’s 1,422 vote majority: a Green candidate here could have given Liz Smith the edge.

    I have no clue who got John Scott back into parliament, the list returns mean that atleast some constituency Tory voters also voted for left-leaning parties on the list such as the SNP and the Greens. If there was a Green candidate on the Ayr constituency vote I have no clue whether this would have helped or hindered John Scott: although I suspect it would have allowed for a split opposition in Ayr, giving him a stronger majority.

    The best indication would be the Ayr East by-election where 76 Green votes transferred as 33 SNP, 12 Labour, 9 Independent, 7 Conservative.

    I’d imagine that the bulk of John Scott’s constituency vote which went to a different party on the list came from UKIP and Independent (who campaigned on a platform against same-sex marriage), there will also have been some minor support from Labour and the Liberal Democrats – that leaves atleast 1,380 votes unaccounted for: split between the SNP, RISE, Solidarity and the Greens. Perhaps the truth behind it is that Labour took a significant chunk of the not SNP left wing vote on the constituency vote, which was made up for on the list by tactical Labour voters who voted John Scott on the constituency vote and Labour on the list,

  25. It was incredible how low the Labour vote was in Moray, during the Blair years Labour had polled strongly in Lossiemouth and Elgin coming a very close second in the constituency from nowhere in even 1992.

    The “New Labour” vote was then hovered up by the SNP but now seems to have gone to the Tories.

  26. Over-analysing list votes leads nowhere fast, because most of the same factors that applied in the constituencies this time will apply again next time. Even in somewhere like Eastwood, there will be a significant challenge to the Tories next time, from either Labour or the SNP or both, and if the Tories aren’t able to maintain their new level of support, they’ll likely lose the seat.

  27. The problem for the Tories is that even a small drop-off could be quite damaging. If they fell back to 18-19%, there’s a fair chance they’d lose all their seats except Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire.

    I think there are a couple of obvious risks for the Tories – firstly, that, assuming a remain victory next month, the constitutional issue is likely to go off the boil somewhat. I can’t see another obvious trigger for a second referendum short of a substantial shift in opinion in favour of independence. Does Ruth Davidson going on about the need to defend the union resonate to the same extent when it’s less of an active issue?

    Secondly, Labour now has some time to go away and try and work out what its role is in Scottish politics. Yes, they’ll get a kicking at the locals next year, but that was always going to happen, and most of it will just be their traditional areas moving over to the SNP there too. If they can come up with something interesting to say, and look like they believe it, then there are sections of the unionist vote they can win back from the Tories.

    The other thing that I think the Tories need to consider is what next. It’s fine being the tough opposition to the SNP, but I think their ceiling is still relatively limited with that approach. They still don’t really speak to vast swathes of Scotland. I’m not sure how they change that. Yes, there are seats they could take from the SNP if they can continue to grow their vote share (although I suspect the SNP were probably a bit complacent in some places this time round), but how much does that matter? In some ways, having the Tories as the main opposition makes it that much less likely that a non-SNP Government can be formed at Holyrood in the foreseeable future.

  28. The open bold tag makes this thread hard to read.

  29. It will be a significant test, especially because the constitution will be less central for local elections.

  30. I’d be very surprised if they won overall control in the Borders, given the number of independents, Borders Party candidates, the remaining Lib Dems and so on. It’s hard to get 2 out of 3 councillors in wards with a variety of contenders, which means that councils like Aberdeenshire and Borders are permanently under NOC. Edinburgh too, although there will be a left of centre majority there between Labour, the SNP and the Greens.

  31. Well Glasgow and a lot of the West coast councils are two horse races mostly, so it’s a lot easier to get an outright win. I suppose the Tories might pick up a few seats in the nicer parts of Glasgow, and the Greens may make some progress, but I would agree the SNP should take control next year.

  32. No: if you look at the list votes it’s quite apparent that the Conservatives cannot win an overall majority anywhere.

    On the subject of East Renfrewshire there’s no reason to assume that it won’t stick with new labour as 1) boundary change will make it an impossible gain for the Tories anyway and 2) Labour is clearly the central opposition to the SNP here at Westminster.

    I suspect the Conservatives could take most seats in South Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Scottish Borders and East Renfrewshire at next year’s locals: Argyll & Bute, Highland, Western Isles and the Northern Isles should retain good independent votes. East Lothian could be good for Labour. East Dunbartonshire should also be an interesting one. I believe that all other council areas will have the SNP ahead as the largest party. They probably won’t get overall majorities in Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Perth & Kinross, (probably) Stirling, Edinburgh, Fife and possibly Sourh/North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. I believe that they should gain an overall majority in all other councils, although this could be skewed by low turnout.

    Some to watch out for:
    Aberdeen- Conservatives should be looking at healthy advances in the Wesr End, and possibly even in Dyce and Bridge of Don.
    Dumfries & Galloway- we could see big Conservative advances in place of the independents here.
    Edinburgh- should return a wide mix of results which could give some indication as to where each party’s respective strengths are. A split opposition should allow the SNP to cleanly take the most seats here: it will not be enough for a majority though.
    Moray- The result here could generally become much more partisan than usual.

    Angus could have more Conservative councillors in place of independents, although I don’t see the SNP losing their overall majority here.

  33. Places like Dumfries & Galloway, South Ayrshire and East Renfrewshire should have the SNP pretty close behind the Tories. The other parties will very likely decide who gets to run the show in these areas.

  34. Yes.

    In terms of seats in East Renfrewshire Newton Mearns and Eaglesham should knock over the SNP’s advance in Barrhead (could be equal number of seats, but it looks favourable to the Conservatives right now).

    South Ayrshire is an easy one to work out: Tories should easily retain of their seats on the council (Ayr North could be a challenge although on the basis of last Thursday I’m going for a C Hold): they should also gain one seat in South Carrick. The SNP will gain two seats: one in North Carrick and one in Ayr North, but this will be upset by boundary change which will see them lose a councillor in Ayr East. The Conservatives may be at risk in North Carrick. The result therefore should be along the lines of 10 CON (if they lose N Carrick) 10 SNP (if they gain N Carrick), 8 LAB.

    Dumfries & Galloway will be interesting: the Conservatives should do well in rural wards, SNP doing better in Stranraer and Dumfries.

  35. North Carrick is a difficult call as the referendum result was decidedly tight I believe (around 51% No) but it will only have 3 councillors. Based on last Thursday it could even go 2xSNP 1xCON, as its quite evident that the Tories took second right across the rural side of South Ayrshire, bringing them up close to Labour in Carrick, Cumnock & Doom Valley.

    I would say it’s a close call in South Ayrshire, but on the basis of low turnout I’m inclined to believe it will go Conservative (even if they take fewer votes than the SNP).

  36. It’s hard to imagine that once-upon-a-time Glasgow North was a Liberal Democrat target…

  37. I still can’t believe the vote change the SNP managed last year. To go from12% to 53% in one election is incredible. Mind you, the Lib Dems shedding 28 points is extraordinary as well

  38. “It’s hard to imagine that once-upon-a-time Glasgow North was a Liberal Democrat target…”

    The Lib Dems would have won George Galloway’s old Glasgow Hillhead (1983 to 1997 boundaries) in 2005 and 2010 and would have won on the 1974 to 1983 boundaries by a large margin. What made Glasgow North Labour were the parts of Glasgow Maryhill where the Lib Dems got nothing.

    The results in Scotland in 2015 are more dramatic than the emergence of the Labour Party in Scotland in 1922 sweeping away generations of Liberal representation in a single swoop.

  39. 2015 was really the more significant of the two: it set the stage for a very different dynamic in Scottish politics than what we’re used to!

  40. In all seriousness how many constituencies can the Tories take in a general election? 15 out of 59 at the very most?

  41. Angus really should be possible given they were only 1500 or so adrift in 2005, likewise PNP. They’ve swung appreciably to the SNP since then but, as this year showed, there is the potential for large swings to the Tories if the SNP become unpopular.

  42. “5 at the moment” – well the SNP gaining 50 constituencies trumps the Conservatives gaining 4 by over 5-1.

  43. I don’t see the Conservatives gaining East Renfrewshire in 2020 even on the current boundaries. Once you add Barrhead to the 2016 Eastwood Holyrood result you would have a clear SNP margin of victory and the addition of Johnstone or part of East Kilbride will only help the SNP further.

  44. Yes I agree with Dalek here: although I do believe a Conservative gain is possible given how distant 2020 is…

  45. The Tories should be able to push Labour out if the way as the main challenger here but the are still over 10000 votes behind the SNP and that’s before you add in somewhere like Johnstone which could create a notional lead of over 13000.

    If the Conservatives came within 4000 in 2020 that would be a good result for them.

  46. That forecast is very unlikely. That would put the Conservatives UP from their 2016 list result, which was subject to a low turnout and no (substantial) tactical voting.

    And that swing is ridiculous. Currently the opinion polls in Scotland have the Conservatives up by around 3%, the SNP up by 1-2% – how that constitutes a swing of 11.45 from SNP to Conservative is beyond me.

  47. Based on current opinion polling the only change from 2015 would be a Conservative gain in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

  48. A lot of things can change in four years time. As things stand there is no evidence to support your claim that the Conservative vote will double in East Renfrewshire.

  49. No they shouldn’t: the turnout at the 2017 local election will be too low to compare to any general election. If local elections had any significant resemblance to general elections East Renfrewshire would have went Conservative in 2005.

    IIRC I suggested that the Conservatives would have taken around 28% of the vote in East Renfrewshire without Jim Murphy standing/tactical voting.

  50. Scotland currently has four different electoral systems –

    •The First Past the Post system is used for UK general elections.
    •The Additional Member System is used for elections to the Scottish Parliament.
    •The Single Transferable Vote system is used to elect local councils.
    •The Party List System is used for European Parliament elections.

    I think that the additional member system would work well in Scottish Local Government. Glasgow with 79 councillors could have 47 directly elected single member wards and a further 32 additional members elected within the eight Holyrood constituencies (four from each one).

    In smaller local authorities the additional members could cover the whole council area.

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