Every day until the election we will profile all 59 of Scotland’s contests. Can the SNP hold what they have or win any new seats? James Kelly of ScotGoesPop has the answers


Winner in 2017: Joanna Cherry (SNP)

The SNP led a charmed life in Edinburgh at the last General Election. They came out of it with three of the city’s five seats, a loss of just one, but the seats they retained were all narrow victories. Joanna Cherry in Edinburgh South West was the luckiest survivor of all, holding off a Tory challenge by just two percentage points.

If history is any guide, Cherry’s constituency is one that the SNP really had no business winning in the first place. In its former incarnation as Edinburgh Pentlands, it was one of the handful of Scottish seats that the Tories managed to retain during the last 10 years of the Thatcher/Major government and Labour, not the SNP, were the only credible challengers.

Under both the old and new boundaries, the SNP’s local vote share always tracked well below the party’s national figure – for example, the SNP candidate in 2005 limped into fourth with just 11% of the vote, compared with a national vote share of 18%.

The Tories must have looked at their near-miss in 2017 and fully anticipated that normal service would be resumed at the next election. At the very least they would have expected to finish the SNP off this time and they might even have dared to hope that the constituency would revert to its former status as a ConservativeLabour battleground, with the SNP out of the running completely.

If so, they reckoned they would without the problem of an election taking place before Brexit is resolved. Edinburgh South West is one of the most pro-Remain constituencies in the whole of the UK and at the 2016 referendum voted to stay in the EU by a margin of nearly three to one. Can any party hope to win such a constituency on a platform of delivering a hard Brexit deal within the first few weeks of the new parliament? It seems improbable, especially given that the incumbent MP has become something of a folk hero for Remainers as a result of her leading role in the successful legal challenge to the lengthy prorogation of parliament a few weeks ago.

READ MORE: General Election analysis: SNP bidding to oust Tories in Banff and Buchan

READ MORE: General Election analysis: The SNP can retake Edinburgh West

In fact, the circumstances look so unpromising for the Tories that it might not be entirely outlandish to ponder whether the real danger to Cherry, pictured, will come from another direction. On paper, Labour are well within striking distance in third place but at the moment look set to go backwards themselves. It’s very likely that the LibDems will pick up votes, but they start from much too far back to be realistically in contention – they took just 4% of the vote two years ago.

So it does appear the most probable outcome is that the Unionist vote will split in a way that allows the SNP to keep the seat.