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


Winner in 2017: Lisa Cameron (SNP)

The New Town of East Kilbride has a special place in SNP history.

Linda Fabiani’s breakthrough there in the 2011 Holyrood election, at the expense of former Labour cabinet minister Andy Kerr, was an early sign that the national swing was much bigger than expected and that the numbers might be there to bring about an independence referendum.

But even after that result, the idea of the SNP gaining the equivalent Westminster seat of East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow still seemed fanciful – Labour’s majority was an intimidating 14,503, and the SNP had no track record of replicating Holyrood successes in UK General Elections.

Perhaps Labour should have heeded a warning sign from a few decades earlier, though. The SNP had come within a few percentage points of taking the old East Kilbride seat in the October 1974 General Election, demonstrating that the town was somewhere they could prosper when their national vote was high enough.

In the end, the story in the modern-day constituency proved to be the same as in so many other seats in traditional Labour heartlands – the SNP took it easily on a scarcely believable swing in 2015, but then saw a sizeable chunk of that swing reversed in 2017 as the seat became a marginal. But this isn’t one of the numerous marginals that would return to the Labour fold on the tiniest of swings. The SNP’s Lisa Cameron still has a cushion of 7%, which means that on a uniform trend Labour would have to close the gap on the SNP to just 3% nationwide before they would take East Kilbride.

So far there isn’t the slightest indication in the polls that they’ll get anywhere close to that. With the Tories too far off the pace to be a credible alternative threat, this is looking like a routine SNP hold, probably with an increased majority.