Previewing the Airdrie & Shotts by-election (13 May 2021)

After the excitement of last week, there is one by-election on 13th May 2021:

Airdrie and Shotts

House of Commons; caused by the resignation of Scottish National Party MP Neil Gray.

An honest man’s the noblest work of God.

– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

It all started with the monks. In 1140 a group of monks came to the Lothian area from Melrose abbey, under the patronage of King David I, and founded a Cistercian religious house called Newbattle Abbey. The abbey thrived, with many kings of Scotland making generous bequests, including (in 1160) a grant from Malcolm IV of extensive lands in central Scotland. That area became known as the Monklands.

The largest town in the Monklands was traditionally Airdrie, located on high ground in the middle of the Central Belt. Airdrie became a market town in 1695 by an Act of the old Scottish Parliament, and by the early nineteenth century it was an important weaving and coalmining centre. Following the Radical War of 1820 the town became an independent burgh with a rather wide franchise for the time: anybody who could scrape together three guineas was entitled to vote here, and in the first local elections here in 1821 a boy under the age of 10 is recorded as having cast a vote.

Airdrie marks the eastern end of what might be termed the Greater Glasgow area, and the area to the east of Airdrie is still mostly agricultural with no large towns until Livingston. This rural area is at a relatively high altitude, which explains why Airdrie was bypassed by the original railway and canal links between Edinburgh and Glasgow (which ran on lower ground via Falkirk). The railway line through Airdrie is very much a secondary route between the two major cities, and wasn’t fully reopened until 2010.

The only other significant population centre in this area is Shotts, where Andrew’s Previews has been very recently. Shotts was primarily a mining town with some ironworking, but one of the major local employers now is the high-security prison HMP Shotts. The town lies on a different Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line, which has recently been electrified.

Normally in these Parliamentary Specials I start in 1885, because the redistribution of that year arising from the Third Reform Act more or less created the single-member constituency system we have in Westminster to this day. Lanarkshire was a big winner from the Third Reform Act: its representation went up from two MPs to six, while the city of Glasgow (which was physically much smaller then than it is today) increased from three to seven members of Parliament. Part of this increase was masterminded by Donald Crawford, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an advocate and political secretary to the Lord Advocate. Crawford was appointed to the Boundary Commission for Scotland in 1884 by Sir Charles Dilke, who was the president of the Local Government Board, one of the prime movers behind the Third Reform Act, the MP for Chelsea and a rising star of the Liberal Party. A year later Crawford was elected as an MP for the newly-drawn constituency of North East Lanarkshire, covering most of the area around Airdrie.

Donald Crawford wasted no time at all in making his mark in public affairs. In 1881 he had married Virginia Smith, a daughter of the Liberal MP and shipping magnate Thomas Smith. The marriage was not a happy one. By the time of the 1885 election, which Donald Crawford won with a narrow majority of 159 over the Unionists, Donald had sued for divorce on the grounds of an affair between Virginia and Sir Charles Dilke. A sensational trial in early 1886 granted the divorce and essentially destroyed the political career of Dilke, who lost his seat in the 1886 general election and never returned to the frontbenches. (By contrast, Virginia’s representation did recover: she became a prominent feminist and suffragist.) Crawford was re-elected as MP for North East Lanarkshire in 1886 with an increased majority of 279 over the Liberal Unionists, although his seat was still very marginal. In 1892 he won a third term by 5,281 votes to 5,184 for the Unionists, a majority of 97.

Donald Crawford left the Commons in 1895 to become Sheriff of Aberdeen, and his seat was taken over in that year’s general election by John Colville with a 537-vote majority over the Unionists. The father of the future Scottish secretary of the same name, John Colville was the Provost of Motherwell, a Lanarkshire county councillor, and ran an iron and steel manufacturing firm in Motherwell. He was re-elected easily in 1900 and the seat looked safe.

Not so. John Colville died in 1901 at the early age of 49, and the resulting North East Lanarkshire by-election was contested by John Smillie as the Scottish Workers candidate. Smillie, who by this time already had a number of parliamentary campaigns under his belt, was the president of the Scottish Miners’ Federation and a founder member of the Independent Labour Party. The defending Liberal candidate was Cecil Harmsworth, the younger brother of the newspaper proprietors Alfred and Harold Harmsworth. Harmsworth and Smillie split the left-wing vote, allowing the Liberal Unionist Sir William Rattigan to win with a majority of 904. The 1901 North East Lanarkshire poll goes down as something which had become increasingly rare in recent years -a government gain in a parliamentary by-election.

Sir William Rattigan had come to the UK from a prominent legal career in India, having previously been vice-chancellor of Punjab University and a member of the Punjab’s legislative council. One wonders whether the Scottish weather was all that agreeable to him. He died in 1904 at the age of 61, and by this time the Liberals were on the up. The Liberal Unionists had passed the right-wing nomination over to their Unionist partners who selected George Touch for the second North East Lanarkshire by-election. Touche, as George changed his name to a couple of years later after getting tired of people mispronouncing his surname, was a chartered accountant whose name survives as the Touche in the modern Big 4 accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (to give it its full name). The Scottish Workers candidate was the up-and-coming trade unionist John Robertson, who had started work down the pits at 13 and eventually rose to become MP for Bothwell. However, the winner on this occasion was the Liberals’ Alexander Findlay, who ran a structural engineering firm in Motherwell and was provost of the town. Findlay won with a majority of 942, reversing the Liberal Unionists’ gain in the 1901 by-election

Findlay stood down at the January 1910 election and his seat was taken over by Thomas Wilson, a Glasgow solicitor and long-serving Lanarkshire county councillor who had been a Liberal election agent for many years. Wilson was re-elected in December 1910 but resigned from the Commons almost immediately, forcing a third North East Lanarkshire by-election in March 1911. James Millar, who held the by-election for the Liberals with a reduced majority of 1,200, was a prominent advocate who had been the MP for the St Andrews Burghs in the January-December 1910 Parliament; this by-election represented a quick return for him.

The mention of St Andrews Burghs brings up one of the more curious aspects of Scottish elections during this period: the use of District of Burghs constituencies grouping together a number of disconnected towns. One of these was the Falkirk District of Burghs, which from 1885 to 1910 connected together Falkirk (in Stirlingshire), Linlithgow (in the county now called West Lothian) and three Lanarkshire burghs: Lanark, Hamilton, and Airdrie. This separation could cause some tension, as was seen in 1885 when there was a dispute over the Liberal selection and the Hamilton Liberal Association nominated its own candidate (who subsequently withdrew, but was credited with 14 votes at the declaration). The Falkirk Burghs were generally Liberal during this period, but did return Liberal Unionist candidates in 1886 (by 19 votes), 1895 and 1900 and a number of other elections were marginal.

The 1918 redistribution dissolved the Falkirk Burghs and placed Airdrie in a new constituency with the name of Coatbridge, while most of the rural area around it (from Shotts to Easterhouse) became part of the North Lanarkshire constituency. The blast furnaces of the Industrial Revolution had created Coatbridge from almost nothing in the middle of the nineteenth century; the town grew up on a site west of Airdrie which was low-lying, relatively flat, and thus much easier for the canals and railways to serve than Airdrie was. Immigration from Ireland caused Coatbridge to boom and turned it into a strongly Catholic town, in contrast to Airdrie which remained a Protestant centre.

But by 1918 Coatbridge was already on the economic slide. All the ironstone under the Monklands had been worked out, raw materials were having to be imported from elsewhere, and the town’s housing stock – which was horrifically overcrowded from the day it was built – had never been improved. Even in the 1930s, when the blast furnaces ceased firing and after a large proportion of the population had decamped south of the border to Corby, Coatbridge was still the most overcrowded town in Scotland.

It’s in this context that we start to look at Airdrie’s parliamentary history, as part of the Coatbridge constituency. Coatbridge’s first election in 1918 was a Unionist versus Labour contest, with the government endorsing the Unionist candidate Arthur Buchanan who won easily. Buchanan came to the Commons from a long career in the Army including 25 years serving with the Gordon Highlanders; he had fought in the Boer War, and had spent the Great War at the Gordon Highlanders’ depots in Aberdeen and France.

Buchanan was defeated in 1922 by the first Labour MP for Coatbridge. James C Welsh had started work in the pits at 12 and was a full-time mining official by this point. He was also a published novelist, drawing on his experience down the pits for his books Songs of a Miner and The Underworld. Buchanan won four terms as MP for the seat, being re-elected in 1924 by the narrow margin of 12,782 votes against 12,725 for the Unionist candidate Thomas Moore (later a long-serving MP for the Ayr Burghs).

In 1929 the Unionists changed candidate to a talented young sportsman called Lord Dunglass, who had played first-class cricket for Oxford University, Middlesex and MCC (on their tour of Argentina in 1926-27). The heir to the Earl of Home, Dunglass had joined the TA and by this point he was a captain in the Lanarkshire Yeomanry. Today we know him better as Alec Douglas-Home. This was the first parliamentary contest for the future Conservative prime minister, who lost Coatbridge in 1929 by 7,669 votes but learned valuable lessons for his later election campaigns.

The Labour collapse of 1931 swept away James C Welsh, who lost his seat to the Unionists’ William Templeton by 1,501 votes. Templeton had been the MP for Banffshire in the 1924-29 parliament. He stood down in 1935 and Coatbridge resoundingly returned to the Labour fold: their candidate was the Reverend James Barr, who had been the MP for Motherwell from 1924 to 1931. Barr was a Presbyterian minister who had been strongly opposed to the 1929 merger of the United Free Church with the Church of Scotland, which may have helped him to pick up some extra votes in Airdrie.

Barr retired in 1945 and handed a safe seat on to Labour’s Jean Mann, a campaigner for better housing and planning. This was not without controversy. At the time of the election Mann was a remunerated member of the Rent Tribunals established under the Rent of Furnished Houses Control (Scotland) Act 1943, and a select committee subsequently decided this was an “office of profit under the Crown” which disqualified her from being an MP. A special Act of Parliament (the Coatbridge and Springburn Elections (Validation) Act 1945) had to be rushed through to confirm her election and regularise her position.

The Coatbridge constituency’s electorate grew from 31,557 in 1918 to 40,104 in 1945, partly as a result of the granting of the vote to women under 30 during this period. However, there was much higher population growth in the North Lanarkshire seat, which went from 40,014 electors in 1918 to 69,064 at the 1945 election – by far the largest seat in the county – thanks to the development of Glasgow suburbs within its boundaries. The former North East Lanarkshire Liberal MP James Millar didn’t seek re-election here in 1918, choosing to contest Motherwell (which he lost), and the seat went to the Unionists’ Robert McLaren who had the coalition’s coupon. McLaren lost his seat in 1922 to Labour’s Joseph Sullivan, the president of the Lanarkshire Miners’ County Union and the first Labour MP for the area.

Sullivan lost his seat in 1924, the Unionists’ Sir Alexander Sprot winning North Lanarkshire with a majority of 2,028. Sprot had a distinguished military career, serving in Afghanistan and the Boer War, and had had the distinction of defeating the former Prime Minister Herbert Asquith in the 1918 general election. He went on to serve as MP for Asquith’s old seat of East Fife until 1922.

Sir Alexander Sprot died in February 1929 at the age of 75, forcing a tricky by-election for the government. The Unionists nominated Lord Scone, the 29-year-old heir to the earldom of Mansfield and Mansfield. Joseph Sullivan had by now returned to Parliament by winning a by-election in Bothwell, and Labour needed a new candidate: they selected a 24-year-old schoolteacher from Fife called Jennie Lee who, like Scone, was fighting her first election campaign. Scone was old enough to vote; Lee was not, because only women aged 30 or over had the vote at the time. By the time the by-election took place on 21 March it was clear that a general election was imminent and the by-election winner would not serve for long. Jennie Lee won with a majority of 6,578, gaining the seat for Labour with a swing of almost 16%, and became the Baby of the House. She was re-elected in the general election two months later with a reduced majority over Scone, following the withdrawal of the Liberals.

Jennie Lee started as she meant to go on as a fiery left-winger. Her maiden speech was an all-out attack on the Conservatives’ budget which included accusing Winston Churchill, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of “cant, corruption and incompetence”. Churchill was impressed by the style, if not the content. Lee was opposed to the formation of the National Government under Ramsay MacDonald; she sought re-election in 1931 for the Independent Labour Party, but was one of many left-wingers swept away by the National Government landslide.

The Unionist candidate who defeated Lee was even younger than she was. Aged 26 at the time of the 1931 election, William Anstruther-Gray came from a military family and had gone from Eton and Oxford into the Coldstream Guards, serving in the Shanghai Defence Force in 1927-28. He enjoyed a majority of 4,693 over Jennie Lee in 1931, which increased to 5,034 at the 1935 election when the left-wing vote was split between Lee and an official Labour candidate.

Anstruther-Gray, who later represented Berwick and East Lothian for thirteen years, was the last Conservative or Unionist MP for North Lanarkshire. He was defeated in the 1945 Attlee landslide by Labour’s Peggy Herbison, an English and history teacher who had been born and brought up in Shotts. Her father had recently died in a colliery accident, and his colleagues had put Herbison forward for the Labour nomination.

Peggy Herbison went on to serve as MP for North Lanarkshire for 25 years, retiring in 1970 from a seat where she had never been seriously threatened. She was a member of Harold Wilson’s first Cabinet as Pensions and National Insurance minister (renamed to Social Security minister in 1966), serving at the top table until 1967. Herbison is also thought to have been the only woman to attend the first parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe in 1949.

The neighbouring Coatbridge seat – which was renamed in 1950 as Coatbridge and Airdrie – also developed into a safe Labour constituency after the Second World War, with the exception of the 1959 election when Jean Mann retired and Labour changed candidate. James Dempsey won his first election by 22,747 votes to 21,953 votes for the Unionists, a majority of 794, but was not threatened thereafter.

Dempsey served seven terms as MP for Coatbridge and Airdrie, dying in office in 1982 at the age of 65. The resulting Coatbridge and Airdrie by-election in June 1982 returned Labour’s Tom Clarke, who had started his political career in that 1959 election, aged 18, as James Dempsey’s election agent. Clarke had served on Coatbridge town council from 1964 until its abolition in 1975, and had been provost of the successor Monklands council – covering Airdrie and Coatbridge – from 1974 to 1982. He won the by-election with no fuss whatsoever.

Tom Clarke went on to serve in the Commons until 2015, and is still with us at the age of 80. In the last New Year honours list he was knighted for his political and public service. However, he now leaves the story of Airdrie and Shotts. The 1983 redistribution radically redrew the parliamentary boundaries in this corner of Lanarkshire, placing Airdrie and Coatbridge into separate constituencies. The North Lanarkshire seat disappeared, with Shotts becoming part of the new constituency of Motherwell North, and much of the area to the north of Shotts joining with Airdrie to become the Monklands East constituency. Tom Clarke sought re-election in the Coatbridge-based seat of Monklands West, leaving Monklands East free for the Labour MP who had represented North Lanarkshire since 1970.

That man had also started his electoral career early, fighting the 1961 East Fife by-election as the Labour candidate while he was a 23-year-old law student. He graduated from Glasgow University in 1962 and became an advocate at the Scottish bar in 1967. John Smith was 31 years old when he was elected in 1970 as MP for North Lanarkshire, and he quickly rose through the ranks. He got on the ministerial ladder in October 1974 in the Department of Energy, and had the responsibility of getting the Callaghan government’s bills for Scottish and Welsh devolution through the Commons. In November 1978 John Smith made the Cabinet, as President of the Board of Trade. It was his only Cabinet position.

John Smith served in the Shadow Cabinet throughout the 1979, 1983 and 1987 Parliaments, and he was elected leader of the Labour Party in 1992. With his election coming straight after Britain’s ignominious exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, Smith quickly took the Labour Party to a big lead in the opinion polls. The local elections on 5 May 1994 saw huge losses for the Major government.

Seven days later, on 12 May 1994, John Smith suffered a fatal heart attack. He left behind a wife, three daughters (one of whom, Sarah, is now the Scotland editor of BBC News) and a very tricky by-election for Labour to defend. While John Smith had dominated the national stage, things were not going well for the ruling Labour group on Monklands council. A well-publicised scandal, inevitably dubbed “Monklandsgate” by the press, alleged that there was a sectarian bias in the council’s spending in favour of Coatbridge (it may be relevant to note here that all 17 Labour councillors were Catholics, although I should point out that the sectarian allegations were never proven) and that relatives of Labour councillors had been given preference for council jobs. The controversy led to a big increase in support for the Scottish National Party, which had run a distant second here in April 1992. They selected social worker Kay Ullrich who was standing for Parliament for the fourth time, while the Labour candidate was Helen Liddell, a former journalist and former aide to the press baron Robert Maxwell. Liddell won with a majority of just 1,640 votes over the SNP.

The constituency name of Airdrie and Shotts was created for the 1997 general election, with the Shotts area added to the Monklands East constituency. On the new boundaries, Liddell’s seat reverted to safety in 1997 and 2001. Helen Liddell’s parliamentary career peaked in 2001-03, when she served in Cabinet as Scottish secretary. She retired from the Commons in 2005 to become the British High Commissioner to Australia, and now sits in the Lords.

The most recent Scottish redistribution, in 2005, had reduced the number of constituencies in Scotland following the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Airdrie and Shotts was left relatively untouched by this process, losing a small area to Motherwell and Wishaw and gaining the Holytown area from the abolished seat of Hamilton North and Bellshill. It also gained the MP for Hamilton North and Bellshill, John Reid. An MP since 1987 (originally representing Motherwell North), Reid was one of the big hitters of the Blair government and held a remarkable number of government posts. He entered Cabinet in 1999 as Scottish secretary, and served successively as Northern Ireland secretary (the first Catholic to hold that role), Labour Party chairman, Leader of the Commons, and Health Secretary. Following the 2005 election he was reshuffled to Defence Secretary, and finished his time in government with a year as Home Secretary – his seventh Cabinet position in eight years. Reid stepped down from the frontbenches at the end of the Blair administration, and retired to the Lords in 2010.

John Reid passed his seat on in 2010 to his parliamentary assistant Pamela Nash. She was 25 years old at the time of the election and became the Baby of the House. Iain Gray, then leader of the Labour group in the Scottish Parliament, went so far as to say that Nash had a “big future in Scottish politics”.

To date that hasn’t come to pass, thanks to the political realignment in Scotland following the 2014 independence referendum. Nash was defeated in 2015 on a 27% swing by the Scottish National Party candidate Neil Gray, who enjoyed a majority of almost 20%. A former athlete who represented Scotland in the 400 metre race, Gray was 29 at the time of his election and had worked as a reporter for BBC Radio Orkney and as the office manager for the Nationalist MSP Alex Neil.

Which is a good point to discuss what has happened to this area in the Scottish Parliament. When the Holyrood Parliament was originally set up its 73 constituencies were the same as the Westminster seats (except that Orkney and Shetland were given separate representation), and as such there has been an Airdrie and Shotts constituency since 1999. Its first MSP was Karen Whitefield, who won easily in 1999 and 2003 but saw her majority fall to 1,446 votes in 2007.

The SNP’s Alex Neil gained the seat in 2011 with a majority of 2,001 votes, and was re-elected easily in 2016. He retired at last week’s Holyrood election after 22 years in office, having been elected from the SNP list for Central Scotland in 1999, 2003 and 2007. Neil served in the Scottish cabinet from 2011 to 2016, holding the Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Health and Wellbeing, and Social Justice portfolios. He was the only Scottish National Party MSP to have declared on the record a Leave vote in the 2016 EU membership referendum.

In the six years since 2015 Neil Gray has been re-elected twice to the House of Commons. His majority was cut to just 195 votes over Labour in June 2017, but recovered to 5,201 votes in December 2019. On that occasion he polled 45%, with Labour’s Helen McFarlane on 32%, the Conservatives’ Lorraine Nolan on 18% and no other candidate saving their deposit.

Following Alex Neil’s retirement, Neil Gray sought and won the SNP nomination for the Holyrood Airdrie and Shotts constituency. On the Holyrood boundaries (which are slightly smaller than the Westminster seat, excluding Holytown and the village of Newmains) he beat Labour last week by 51% to 33%, a reduced majority of 5,468 votes. The Labour candidate here was Richard Leonard, who was leader of Scottish Labour from 2017 until January this year; Leonard is, however, back in Holyrood as one of the seven MSPs for the Central Scotland region.

The seat is entirely within the North Lanarkshire council area. The most recent Scottish council elections were in May 2017; the ward boundaries don’t quite match up with the parliamentary boundaries, but across the four wards wholly in the seat (the three Airdrie wards and Fortissat) the SNP polled 33% of the first preferences against 32% for Labour and 18% for the Conservatives; with proportional representation in effect this translated into six SNP councillors, five Labour, four Conservatives and an independent. The seat also contains part of the Mossend and Holytown ward, which was close between Labour and the SNP in May 2017, and a small corner of the Murdostoun ward which had a large independent vote in May 2017. The independent councillor for Murdostoun ward, Robert McKendrick, has recently died and this column will return to North Lanarkshire in due course once the by-election to replace him is held.

The Scottish National Party had required Gray to resign his Westminster seat in order to stand for Holyrood. The original plan had been to hold the two polls at the same time, but the returning officer for North Lanarkshire was unhappy with this citing public health grounds. As a result, the voters of Airdrie and Shotts are having to travel to the polls two weeks in succession.

Due in part to the high turnover of Scottish MPs at the last three Westminster elections, this is the first Westminster by-election in Scotland since Inverclyde in June 2011. It’s also the first ever parliamentary by-election at which the Scottish National Party are defending. Their candidate is Anum Qaisar-Javed, a modern studies teacher and (in a previous political life) a former general secretary of Muslim Friends of Labour. She was an SNP candidate for Murdostoun ward in 2017, finishing in sixth place.

The Scottish Labour Party have selected Kenneth Stevenson, who has been a North Lanarkshire councillor since 2017 representing the Fortissat ward (based on Shotts and the surrounding rural area). In May 2017 the council seats in Fortissat split two to Labour and one each to the SNP and Conservatives; Labour have since gained both the Conservative and the SNP seats in by-elections (in September 2017 and March 2021 respectively). Stevenson defeated Pamela Nash for the Labour nomination.

The Conservative candidate is Ben Callaghan, who has appeared in this column very recently as the Conservative candidate in the March 2021 Fortissat by-election. On that occasion he polled 23% of the vote and finished in third place; his transfers ensured that Labour won the election very comfortably over the SNP. However, the usual Scottish disclaimers do not apply here: this is a Westminster election, so it’s Votes at 18 and there is no transferable voting.

There are a total of eight candidates for the Airdrie and Shotts by-election. The Lib Dems have selected Stephen Arrundale, who was their parliamentary candidate for Midlothian in December 2019; according to his Twitter he’s the treasurer of the party’s Scottish branch and a (presumably long-suffering) Hartlepool United fan. (Up the Pools!) The other four candidates are all from fringe Unionist parties. Reform UK’s Martyn Greene was an election agent for the party in last week’s Holyrood elections. Donald Mackay turned up in this column back in March as the leader of Scottish UKIP, contesting a council by-election in Glasgow. On that occasion he polled 0.5% in Partick East/Kelvindale ward, finishing last out of six candidates; last week he topped the UKIP list for the Lothian region, which polled 0.11% and finished 17th out of 19. One of the two lists which UKIP Lothian beat was that of the Social Democratic Party, which polled 0.06% and finished in eighteenth place; second on the SDP’s Lothian list was Neil Manson, one of two candidates in this by-election (along with Labour’s Kenneth Stevenson) to give an address in this constituency. Finally, former UKIP figure Jonathan Stanley, who was second on the All for Unity list which polled 0.8% in the Central Scotland region last week, has the nomination of the Scottish Unionist Party.

This column will now take a rest before returning in mid-June for our next by-elections.

Scottish Parliament constituency: Airdrie and Shotts (most), Motherwell and Wishaw (part), Uddingston and Bellshill (part)
North Lanarkshire wards: Airdrie Central, Airdrie North, Airdrie South, Fortissat, Mossend and Holytown (part), Murdostoun (part)
ONS Travel to Work Area: Motherwell and Airdrie
Postcode districts: EH47, FK1, G67, ML1, ML2, ML4, ML5, ML6, ML7

Stephen Arrundale (LD)
Ben Callaghan (C)
Martyn Greene (Reform UK)
Donald Mackay (UKIP)
Neil Manson (SDP)
Anum Qaisar-Javed (SNP)
Jonathan Stanley (Scottish Unionist Party)
Kenneth Stevenson (Lab)

December 2019 result SNP 17929 Lab 12728 C 7011 LD 1419 Grn 685
June 2017 result SNP 14291 Lab 14096 C 8813 LD 802
May 2015 result SNP 23887 Lab 15108 C 3389 UKIP 1088 LD 678 Ind 136
May 2010 result Lab 20849 SNP 8441 C 3133 LD 2898 Ind 528
May 2005 result Lab 19568 SNP 5484 LD 3792 C 3271 SSP 706 Scottish Independence Party 337