Every day until the election, James Kelly of ScotGoesPop is profiling Scotland’s UK Parliament constituencies


Winner in 2017: Lesley Laird (Labour)

ASSUMING Jo Swinson is unlikely to be ousted, the SNP will have to look elsewhere for a prize scalp. Probably the best chance of removing a senior Unionist is the shadow Scottish secretary in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. Lesley Laird is hardly a household name, but there are always bragging rights to be had from ending the parliamentary career of a shadow cabinet member – who in this case is also the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

READ MORE: Will the SNP oust Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire?

At the moment, it looks like it ought to be a simple enough task. In spite of the large swing of 10% with which Laird gained the seat two years ago, she still only had a tiny advantage of 0.5% over the SNP. That means on a uniform swing the SNP would only need to be around 10 or 11 percentage points ahead of Labour across Scotland to take Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath back, and recent polling data suggests they’re doing far better than that.

The Tories shouldn’t be any sort of obstacle. Their 23% share of the vote last time round was their best showing in the area since the 1980s, but it’s not enough to mount a credible challenge. In fact, they may have problems of their own, because this is one of a relatively small number of constituencies in Scotland where they won’t have a monopoly on the Eurosceptic vote. The Brexit Party are putting up a candidate, perhaps encouraged by a local Leave vote that was estimated to be somewhat higher than the Scottish average at around 42%.

But of course Laird would never have become an MP in the first place if Labour hadn’t made a very late comeback just before polling day in 2017, so she won’t be giving up hope completely until she sees whether Jeremy Corbyn reaps the full benefits of the SNP being excluded from the main TV debates.