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


Winner in 2017: Ged Killen (Labour)

Election night in 2017 got off to a nightmare start for the SNP with the first declaration in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Given that they were defending 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies and the Unionist Former SNP MP Ferrier looking set for return media had conveniently decreed in advance that anything more than a handful of losses would constitute a disaster for them, the last thing they needed from the opening result was a Labour gain right in the heart of the central belt, but that’s exactly what happened.

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If that had proved typical of the remainder of the results, the SNP wouldn’t even have come close to winning a majority of seats in Scotland. That said, in one sense the Rutherglen and Hamilton West result was indeed typical, because it was one of a large number that proved to be on a knife-edge between the SNP and Labour. Fortunately for the independence movement, the SNP’s national vote share was just about high enough to allow them to take the lion’s share of the seats that are now simply hyper-marginal. Rutherglen and Hamilton West just happened to be one of the handful where the dice fell in Labour’s favour.

It perhaps shouldn’t be a massive surprise that it worked out that way, because the Holyrood constituency of Rutherglen was also one of the minority of first-pastthe-post seats that had remained in Labour’s grasp in the 2011 SNP landslide. In the immediate aftermath of the 2017 result, the interpretation of many was that Rutherglen and Hamilton West was a vanguard seat, leading Scotland to a restoration of Labour dominance. But now it looks far more likely that the constituency will come back into line with the rest of the central belt this month by returning the former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier to office. She needs only a tiny swing of 0.25%, and even the most pessimistic of recent opinion polls suggest that should be easily achieved.