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: Drew Hendry (SNP)

It’s hard to think of a constituency that’s geographically more different from Dundee East than the enormous Highland seat held by Drew Hendry, pictured, but the two are superficially similar in one respect: they are both safe-looking SNP seats in which the second-placed Tories are probably too far back to pose a serious threat.

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey boasts the fifth-biggest SNP majority in the country and is the seventh-safest SNP seat in terms of percentage lead over the nearest challenger. On the face of it, the SNP only need to maintain their 40% vote share from 2017 to make themselves very difficult to compete with under first-past-the-post, especially in a four-party system.

The reason for wondering whether the constituency is quite as secure as it appears, though, is that it’s only actually been held by the SNP since 2015. Prior to that it was the seat of LibDem cabinet minister Danny Alexander and the SNP languished in a distant third place behind Labour.

Before the boundary changes in 2005, the predecessor seat was held by Labour. Going even further back, the LibDem grandee Russell Johnston was the very long-serving local MP. The only minor look-in that the SNP ever had was in the Nairn portion of the current constituency, which used to be part of the old Moray and Nairn seat and was represented by Winnie Ewing between 1974 and 1979.

Given that the LibDem tradition in the area appears to run deeper than the SNP tradition, could the LibDems’ recent recovery in the public’s affections pave the way for them to make a shock gain in Inverness? It looks very unlikely. They slumped to fourth place on a dismal 12% of the vote two years ago, meaning they would require a monumental swing of around 14% to take the seat back in one heave.

Much more probable is that they’ll get back in the game and perhaps recover to third or even second place – but the votes they take in doing so may come disproportionately from other Unionist parties, thus making the SNP’s own task simpler.

This looks like an SNP hold all the way.