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: Brendan O’Hara (SNP)

One thing everyone knows about the LibDems is that they support reform of the voting system because, in general, first-past-the-post works against them. But there is the occasional exception to that rule.

For 28 years between 1987 and 2015, they held Argyll and Bute even though it was far from clear that they were the most popular party in the constituency. The joke used to be that Labour and SNP supporters voted LibDem to stop the Tories, that Tory supporters voted LibDem to stop the SNP and Labour, and that if everyone had just voted for their first-choice party, the LibDems would actually have come fourth.

Nobody will be able to make that claim if the LibDems somehow regain the constituency this time, because after the seismic changes of the last two elections it has reverted to being what its predecessor seat of Argyll was in the 1970s – a very tight SNP/Tory marginal. The previous incentives for tactical LibDem votes have been replaced by a very strong incentive for Remain supporters, including LibDems, to back the SNP to prevent a needless Tory gain. And in that respect the SNP may start with an in-built advantage, because at the EU referendum Argyll and Bute’s voting patterns were very much in line with Scotland as a whole, with 61% voting to Remain.

READ MORE: General Election analysis: Edinburgh East will likely stay SNP

The Tory mission will be to prevent this from becoming a Remain versus Leave proxy battle that they would be likely to lose. Instead they’ll want to squeeze the LibDem and Labour vote in their own favour by convincing voters that this is primarily an election about independence, not about Brexit. But that could be a tall order for as long as both Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson are banging on about Brexit relentlessly. As in other constituencies, the LibDems might even help the SNP by grabbing the type of pro-Remain, anti-independence Tory voter that Nicola Sturgeon can’t quite reach. And it’s highly debatable whether the 13% of voters in the constituency who stuck with Labour when Ruth Davidson was in her pomp two years ago will be any more receptive to the Tories’ “No to indyref2” pitch now.

The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara had a majority of less than 3% over the Tories last time, and may well fancy his chances of improving on that.