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: Tommy Sheppard (SNP)

The SNP carry a lead of less than eight percentage points in Edinburgh East into this election from last time, which strictly speaking means the seat should be categorised as a marginal. But the 2017 election threw up such an extraordinarily large number of evenly balanced contests in Scotland that Tommy Sheppard’s position looks almost comfortable in a relative sense. He has the 12th-largest majority of the 35 SNP incumbents, and the 10th-largest percentage lead over a runner-up. As it turns out, what makes the seat extremely safe in practice is the identity of that runner-up: it’s Labour, and they are the only one of the three main Unionist parties that appear to have suffered a dramatic loss of support over the last two years.

On a uniform swing, Jeremy Corbyn’s party would need to close the Scotland-wide gap between themselves and the SNP to around 2% before Edinburgh East would fall. Even in an age of electoral volatility and opinion poll unreliability, it’s fair to say that’s phenomenally unlikely to happen.

Just as the icing on the cake, Sheppard also has the luxury of knowing that both the Conservatives and the LibDems will start from too far back to have a credible chance of mounting a challenge from third or fourth place. So, with an SNP win looking close to nailed-on, the real interest on election night will probably be a jostling for position between the Unionist parties as they seek to establish themselves as Sheppard’s principal rival in future elections. (Assuming that there will be any future UK General Elections in Scotland, that is!) Given Labour’s pedigree in the constituency, it would be utterly humiliating for them to slip below second place, and opinion poll trends suggest they’ll probably hold off the Tories – but it could be a little too close for comfort.

READ MORE: General Election analysis: SNP hoping to reclaim East Renfrewshire

The LibDems will want to somehow break out of fourth place, and they may have a better chance of doing so than their 4% of the vote in 2017 suggests. In past elections when the national LibDem or Liberal vote has reached high watermarks, they’ve managed to top 20% in Edinburgh East, though if they repeat that feat this time, it’s not clear whether Labour or the Tories would suffer the most.

The Greens are returning to the fray after sitting out the 2017 contest. They saved their deposit in 2015 with a respectable 6% of the vote, and it’s possible that their absence two years later helped Sheppard retain more of a safety-net than he would otherwise have had. But even if the Green intervention this year does cost Sheppard some votes, it shouldn’t have a worse effect than simply reducing his winning margin.