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


Winner in 2017: Danielle Rowley (Labour)

THE SNP leadership must feel conflicted as the campaign moves through its final days with the polls continuing to point to a Tory overall majority.

It probably robs them of the chance to bring about an independence referendum by the most direct route, but on the other hand, the lack of a Labour comeback should make it more likely that the SNP will gain four or five Labour-held seats, of which Midlothian is a prime example.

That could make all the difference between winning 35 seats again and winning 40 – with the latter probably being the minimum required if the Unionist media are to acknowledge that the SNP have had a successful election.

Labour’s Danielle Rowley is defending an advantage of only 2% over the SNP, which means the SNP would need to have a national lead over Labour of 12 points or higher to take the seat on a uniform swing. Every poll so far has suggested they’ll do that well. But if Labour are heading for disaster in Scotland, they’ll be looking to secure their long-term survival by demonstrating the same cockroach-like resilience that the Liberals displayed in a handful of constituencies after ceasing to be a major party in the mid-20th century.

There is at least one reason for wondering whether Labour may be capable of defying the national trend, and that’s their unexpected success in holding off the SNP in the 2017 Midlothian council election. That victory occurred weeks before there was any sign of a Corbyn surge, and suggests there may be an unusually strong attachment to the Labour brand in the area.

But, there again, this is the SNP’s fifth top target seat, and they hold both of the overlapping Holyrood constituencies by a wide margin. The likelihood must be that the former SNP MP for Midlothian, Owen Thompson, will be returning to Westminster after a two-year gap.

READ MORE: General Election analysis: Edinburgh South not as safe you think​