Glasgow South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4752 (9.7%)
Labour: 14504 (29.7%)
Lib Dem: 1019 (2.1%)
SNP: 26773 (54.9%)
Green: 1431 (2.9%)
TUSC: 299 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 12269 (25.2%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

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

Main population centres: Glasgow.

Profile: Part of Glasgow South covers the most affluent and well off parts of Glasgow, old Victorian and Edwardian conservation areas with desirable townhouses and historic buildings and large open green spaces like Pollok Country Park. However since the 1950s and 1960s the area has also seen the growth of massive council developments as the tenements and tower blocks of the Castlemilk estate were built to the south of the city, housing families displaced from Glasgow`s slum clearances. To the north of the seat there is also now a growing Pakistani community in the Pollokshields area. The constituency includes Hampden Park, Scotland`s national stadium.

Politics: Politically this was once the most Conservative part of Glasgow, but the growth of the Castlemilk estate and the decline of the Tories in Scotland has changed that. The old Glasgow Cathcart seat was a Conservative banker for fifty-six years until it was lost by the then shadow Scottish secretary Teddy Taylor in the 1979 election. Since then it has become the sort of seat that typifies Glasgow - ultra safe Labour until falling to the SNP in the 2015 landslide.

Current MP
STEWART MCDONALD (SNP) First elected as MP for Glasgow South in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 4592 (11%)
Lab: 20736 (52%)
LDem: 4739 (12%)
SNP: 8078 (20%)
Oth: 1949 (5%)
MAJ: 12658 (32%)
Con: 4836 (13%)
Lab: 18153 (47%)
LDem: 7321 (19%)
SNP: 4860 (13%)
Oth: 3261 (8%)
MAJ: 10832 (28%)
Con: 3662 (13%)
Lab: 14902 (54%)
LDem: 3006 (11%)
SNP: 4086 (15%)
Oth: 1730 (6%)
MAJ: 10816 (39%)
Con: 4248 (12%)
Lab: 19158 (56%)
LDem: 2302 (7%)
SNP: 6913 (20%)
Oth: 1489 (4%)
MAJ: 12245 (36%)

2015 Candidates
KYLE THORNTON (Conservative) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Student.
TOM HARRIS (Labour) Born 1964, Ayrshire. Educated at Garnock Academy and Napier College. Journalist and local authority PR manager. MP for Glasgow Cathcart 2001 to 2015. PPS to John Spellar 2003-2005,PPS to Patricia Hewitt 2005-2006, Under-secretary of State for Transport 2006-2008. Contested the 2011 Scottish Labour leadership election.
EWAN HOYLE (Liberal Democrat)
ALASTAIR WHITELAW (Green) Contested Glasgow Central 2010.
BRIAN SMITH (TUSC) Contested Glasgow South 2010.
Comments - 119 Responses on “Glasgow South”
  1. Glasgow Cathcart saw the largest swing from Conservative to Labour in the 1959 General Election, some 13.42%. That is even greater when considered in the context of the swing to the Conservatives in the UK that year.

    The massive increase in the electorate hides that fact that the Conservative majority was more than cut in half in real terms from being a seat as safe as South Kensington to something that was almost semi-marginal.

    The decline in the Orange Tory vote, the start of Glasgow’s economic decline and the construction of the massive peripheral Castlemilk Housing Estate in the far South of the constituency .

    1955 E 45, 969 Poll 34,779 (75.66%)

    *John Henderson (Con) 25,265 72.64%
    L.P.Thomas (Lab) 9,514 27.36%

    Con Maj 15,751 45.28%

    1959 E 64,703 Poll 51,912 (Poll 80.23%)

    *John Henderson (Con) 30,743 59.22%
    J.Jarvie (Lab) 21,169 40.78%

    Con Maj 9,574 18.44%

  2. “The decline in the Orange Tory vote, the start of Glasgow’s economic decline and the construction of the massive peripheral Castlemilk Housing Estate in the far South of the constituency .”

    Should read –

    “The decline in the Orange Tory vote, the start of Glasgow’s economic decline and the construction of the massive peripheral Castlemilk Housing Estate in the far South of the constituency were all factors that benefited Labour.”

  3. Thanks Peter for this detailed analysis. 1959 also saw a Labour gain in Lanark, presumably because of the construction of much of E Kilbride.

  4. They also gained Glasgow Craigton, Glasgow Scotstoun (Drumchapel) and Ayrshire Central (Irvine) while the Labour majority in Glasgow Provan (Easterhouse) increased more than 20 fold

  5. Perhaps this was the beginning of diverging Scottish general election results? Having said that, I don’t think that the next few elections in Scotland diverged that greatly from the national swing. It was 1979 when things started to diverge most noticeably; it was then of course that this seat’s predecessor Glasgow Cathcart was first won by Labour. It was however Labour’s only outright gain from the Tories (as opposed to recouping a by-election defeat) that year.

  6. “Perhaps this was the beginning of diverging Scottish general election results?”

    Well yes, because it wasn’t just a case of these particular seats swinging to Labour (although obviously they did more heavily). There was a swing to Labour of 1.5% in Scotland in 1959 compared with a swing of 1.8% to the Conservatives in England. In 1955 the vote shares in the two areas had been almost identical.
    If Scotland had swung to the Conservatives in 1959 in the same way as England and had it done so uniformly, the Tories would have gained sic additional seats:
    Dundee West
    Dunbartonshire East
    Edinburgh Central
    Glasgow Provan
    Stirling, Falkirk & Grangemouth

  7. If I may be permitted to make a pedantic point, the Times Guide to the House of Commons has a photo of Nadhim Zahawi instead of Tom Harris for Glasgow South. It is rather a glaring error since they don’t look much like each other, and if you’ve paid £50 for the publication you don’t expect mistakes like that.

  8. That’s an odd one – wonder how they managed that.

  9. Tom Harris has resigned from the front bench – he says that his work-life balance is wrong, and that he can’t be simultaneously a good frontbencher and a good father to his 2 small children.

  10. “If I may be permitted to make a pedantic point, the Times Guide to the House of Commons has a photo of Nadhim Zahawi instead of Tom Harris for Glasgow South. It is rather a glaring error since they don’t look much like each other, and if you’ve paid £50 for the publication you don’t expect mistakes like that.”

    There must be some kind of Glasgow South Gremlin!!! The 2005 guide was just as bad. If you look at the maps, East Refrewshire is listed as Glasgow South.

    I paid £35.00 from Amazon for the 2010 Guide and am angry at its lack of proof reading.

    Have you also noticed that every constituency in the UK is an ultra safe seat with a percentage majority of 50%?

    On the maps, The City of Chester is coloured red and has no number.

  11. As Nadhim’s former colleagues we found Tom Harris’s regeneration into him very amusing when the guide came out 🙂

  12. Was this seat the one that elected the last few remaining Conservative councillors under FPTP? I know that in 1995, the Conservatives still won Cathcart (in this seat presumably), Maxwell Park (presumably the equivalent of Pollokshields West, which is now in Glasgow Central), and Kelvindale, which I presume is in Glasgow North or North West, and only held Maxwell Park in 1999 and 2003. Of course, they won a seat in Pollokshields in 2007 and 2011 under PR (and I think topped the poll in 2011), but where were the seats they won in 1988 and 1992? Newlands? I can’t find Scottish District Council results anywhere, and I think you have to have an academic account to log in to Thrasher and Rallings’ archive, don’t you?

  13. 1984

    Notional Con Hold:

    Aikenhead (Cathcart)
    Newlands (Cathcart)
    Kelvindale (Hillhead)
    Kelvinside (Hillhead)
    Pollokshields (Pollok)

    Notional Lab Gain:

    Broomhill (Hillhead)
    Kings Park (Cathcart)
    Queens Park (Central)
    Shawlands (Pollok)

  14. 1988

    Labour Gain:


  15. 1992

    Con Gain:

    Kings Park

    Lab Gain:


  16. 1995

    Notional Con Hold

    Cathcart (Cathcart)
    Kelvindale (Anniesland)
    Maxwell Park (Govan)

    Notional Lab Gain from Con

    Hyndland (Kelvin)
    Langside (Govan)
    Mount Florida (Cathcart)
    Newlands (Cathcart)

    Notional Lib Dem Gain from Con

    Jordanhill (Anniesland)

  17. Why has Tom Harris undergone major cosmetic surgery to make himself look like Sajid Javid?

  18. Wouldn’t be my choice personally. It would be great if my bank balance resembled Mr Javid’s, though.

  19. I think that Glasgow still has too many constituencies to abandon traditional names and adopt compass points.

    It still has more MP’s than Liverpool or Manchester which have avoided compass points. Looking at each Glasgow constituency the names that I think are appropiate (avoiding names of Holyrood constituencies) are –

    Glasgow Calmachie (East)
    Glasgow Dennistoun (North East)
    Glasgow Govan (South West)
    Glasgow Hillhead (North)
    Glasgow Kelvingrove (Central)
    Glasgow Langside (South)
    Glasgow Scotstoun (North West)

    I think that Edinburgh could also benefit –

    Edinburgh Cramond (West)
    Edinburgh Craiglockhart (South West)
    Edinburgh Leith (North & Leith)
    Edinburgh Morningside (South)
    Edinburgh Portobello (East)

  20. Straw poll I carried out on 15-APRIL


  21. Dalek, in agreement that the compass nomenclature is a bit dull. Glasgow had a tradition of good constituency names although I’d return to Shettleston for the east seat.

    Always thought they could do better in Norfolk too.

  22. @ Dalek – I feel the same way with quite a few constituencies. You’ve missed out Dundee & Aberdeen (which have similar name in Holyrood)

    Aberdeen North – Old Aberdeen (& Kingswells)
    Aberdeen South – Cove Bay & Deeside

    Dundee West – Taybank
    Dundee East – Lochee (& Hill)

    Ayrshire North & Arran – Cunninghame North & West
    Ayrshire Central – Kyle Stewart & Girdle Toll

  23. Alternatively Aberdeen North could be called Aberdeen Woodside and South, Aberdeen Torry.

  24. Labour Hold

  25. Tom Harris has just conceded defeat on BBC radio.

  26. The first of many…

  27. @NTY UK – you couldn’t call Aberdeen South “Torry”, it might contain Torry but also has the most affluent places in Aberdeen in the seat, of which Torry is not, it wouldn’t be a good choice for a name

  28. Former MP for this seat Tom Harris has apparently left the Labour Party.


    Interesting coverage of the 1974 General Election here and the apparent cult of the “Cathcart Tories”.

    Taylor’s personality perhaps allowed the Conservatives to hold on here in Feb and Oct 1974.

  30. Thanks Dalek. There seems to have been a strong right-wing working class vote in Glasgow around this period. I remember on the 1966 election results show (shown on BBC Parliament a few months ago) they did some vox-pops in Glasgow city centre and found lots of support for bringing back hanging and flogging.

  31. In 1966 you would have found those views in every town and city in the country. Though you have a point, I think post war Scottish conservatism was particularly traditionalist on social issues but quite paternalist/collectivist on economic matters, more so than elsewhere, making it an ill fit with Thatcherism. My own views also tend in that direction, in a more modern setting, but I sense that’s not the case for many conservatives these days.

  32. I wouldn’t have imagined you as socially conservative or traditional Hemmelig

  33. Jack S – I still hear those views often in Merseyside and Lances and not just from OAPs. Polls always show a majority support the return of the death penalty in the UK. I think it’s just people in Lpool, Glasgow, Belfast as examples are more upfront about their views.

  34. MP-R – 1992 was even more of a false dawn.

    Look up Ayr or Lord James Douglas Hamilton in Edinburgh for where they ‘held on.’

    The Tories also regained there 10 By-election losses from the Parliament (although only just). Their one net advance[apart from Milton Keynes doubling] was Aberdeen South (due to oil £ and some English voters).

  35. I’ve never heard the English voters claim for Aberdeen South before. I’d be surprised if the proportion of English voters increased significantly between 1987 and 1992. The Tories did relatively well in a number of seats in the North East on that occasion. The impact of oil on the local economy, meaning that it can do well when the rest of the country is in the doldrums and vice versa, is the usual explanation for the Tories doing well.

    Max – the only seat that the Tories were fortunate to win was Edinburgh Central, which they undoubtedly won because of the Greens choosing to run a candidate. Without that, it would have been a relatively comfortable SNP hold.

  36. “I wouldn’t have imagined you as socially conservative or traditional Hemmelig”

    I think at least compared to the Cameroon types I am. I was not keen on gay marriage though the nice gay couple next door persuaded me to change my mind (ooo er missus). I think the rush to force all mothers back to work and the total lack of support for stay at home parents (from both parties) has been disgraceful. I generally oppose further privatisations and deeply dislike state functions such as prisons being taken over by halfwits like G4S. So yes I am quite a traditional conservative by today’s standards.

  37. I Cameroon like views were a side effect of living in London, you prove to be the exception. I too have never understood the Tory party’s fetish for privatisation of all things.

  38. Without the Greens in Central the SNP would’ve probably taken the constituency with a majority of around 5% ahead of Ruth Davidson.

    The only other constituency result where a Green vote on the constituency vote could have directly impacted the result would be Perthshire South & Kinross-shire, which could have been won by the Tories had there been a Green constituency candidate. The net impact of this on the overall composition of the Parliament would have been +1 LAB MSP -1 SNP MSP, no change for the Tories.

  39. You gotta love UKPR

    The UK is just about to leave the EU on a knife edge result in the most important national election for a generation…yet a couple of saddos are still more bothered about the theoretical Green vote in Perthshire.

  40. If you want a seat where English voters likely made the difference, I’d imagine Edinburgh Central is a much better shout than Aberdeenshire West. Not that the fixation on the ethnicity or religion of voters is desperately helpful, or tells us a whole lot.

  41. Also, one saddo is particularly concerned about people on the internet being concerned about the non-existent Green vote in Perthshire.

    Oh, and I saw my first EU referendum poster the other day. Remain leads 1-0 in the Edinburgh poster war.

  42. I saw a UKIP billboard at Scottish election if that counts. I have received one Remain leaflet and one Leave leaflet on the street. One Leave leaflet through the mail (possibly one Remain).

    It’s quite a stale campaign imo: I was more engaged with the Scottish election last month and have no strong opinions on Europe.

  43. To be honest it seems like people in Scotland aren’t that bothered about the referendum: the SNP least of all.

  44. Bound to be more stale in Scotland I guess.

    Down south it’s anything but. Reports of people fighting each other on trains and all sorts.

  45. I suspect English Labour voters may be finding the referendum debate a little stale as well – the referendum has been predominantly centred around the Conservatives and UKIP.

  46. It’s kind of bizarre. It just doesn’t seem to have caught people’s imagination here at all. I suspect the turnout in England will be substantially higher than here.

  47. Am I alone in thinking that a leave vote may not result in withdrawal?

  48. No. Especially if the result is close, there’ll surely be some kind of compromise, perhaps even a second vote on an “improved” deal.

  49. I’m not entirely sure about England although I do believe that turnout for Great Britain as a whole will be down from the general election: it will be lower in Northern Ireland and substantially high in Gibraltar.

  50. DC was asked that specific Q at PMQs today re any 2nd Ref.

    He said “I agree. If we vote Leave, we Leave.”

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