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It is a much changed seat from the one Alison Thewliss won in 2019.

Until recently the MP for Glasgow Central – which has now ceased to exist with boundary changes – she is now running for a seat which has absorbed just 23% of it: Glasgow North.

Glasgow North is very much a seat in which the timing of the election could play a huge factor. Why? University students.

The seat includes Glasgow University and much of the surrounding area, where many students will live during term time.

READ MORE: Who is Alison Thewliss? Glasgow MP set to run for SNP Westminster leader role

But when the UK goes to the polls on July 4, many will be away for the summer. And currently in the midst of exams, some may struggle to make the postal vote deadline of June 18.

Don’t get me wrong, Glasgow North is a diverse seat – stretching from Argyll Street to Summerston via Kelvingrove park and areas including Possilpark and Maryhill. Many issues and factors will be at play here.

But this is also a marginal seat, where small advantages could make all the difference. 

(Image: Newsquest)

If the polls are to be believed, Thewliss has a real fight on her hands despite the fact the SNP’s Patrick Grady took the seat comfortably in 2019. with Labour expected to not only challenge but win the seat. Their candidate? Martin Rhodes.

A veteran councillor in the area, currently for ​​the Partick East/Kelvindale ward on Glasgow City Council – he was also elected an honorary president of LGBT+ Labour Scotland in 2020.

YouGov polling from April indicated that Labour’s lead could be substantial, predicting they are set for 48% of the vote to the SNP’s 30%.

Other challengers include Scottish Greens candidate Iris Duane and Scottish Tory Naveed Asghar.

Let's hear from the candidates

Thewliss (below) was more bullish about her chances, however, when I asked her about the campaign so far over a coffee at the Kelvingrove Gallery.

“It’s going well. We've been out and about in a whole range of different areas. But the campaign hasn't just started now, it started ages ago – getting out and about speaking to people, getting my face known in these new parts.”

Asked about some differences between her old constituency and the new one, she joked: “It's got a lot more front doors.

“In Glasgow Central, there were lots of tenement stairs which is a treat for any campaign.

“But it's really interesting speaking to folk and many of the issues, of course, being in Glasgow are much the same.”

I ask her which one has cropped up more than most.

“Very much the cost of living,” she responded.

“People are still really worried about how they’re going to pay for things. There is a lot of pressure still there and it's not really reflected, I don’t think, in the campaigns from the Westminster parties so far.”

Thewliss added: “Issues, as well, around austerity and the prospect of more cuts because public services have really been hammered over the past 15 years with austerity from Westminster.

Brexit is also still a big issue. When you're chatting to people on the doorsteps, they still feel that Westminster parties are not talking about that. Particularly people who are connected to the university, but not exclusively.”

Thewliss added that when it comes to what potential constituents can expect from her at Westminster is an MP who stands up for them.

“There's so many stories of people who've been helped,” Thewliss said.

“There was a particular woman who was being threatened with removal back to Afghanistan. I raised that with the Prime Minister and we got that case resolved, and she's able to continue her life here.”

She added: “The thing that's also been kind of a constant through my time at Westminster has been the campaign on the two-child limit and rape clause. I have campaigned on that relentlessly.”

When asked why voters should vote SNP after recent troubles, Thewliss said: “Because it's the only way that Scotland's voice will be heard at Westminster.

“When we all got elected in 2015 and went down there as an SNP group, you had folk saying ‘Oh, the Scots have arrived’."

She added: “There's always been Scottish MPs at Westminster, but they weren't visible. They weren't standing up for Scotland. They weren't making the case on behalf of the people of Scotland and that's really important.”

The importance of independence is another issue Thewliss said she sees time and time again on the doorstep.

“There are many people I speak to who are still absolutely committed to the cause of independence.

“They look at Westminster and the Westminster system that doesn't represent them anymore.

“It's getting further and further away from the values that people in Scotland have.”

(Image: Scottish Greens)

The Scottish Greens candidate for Glasgow North is Iris Duane (above), who hopes to be the first trans woman of colour elected to Westminster.

She also made the Young Women’s Movement’s 30 under 30 list in 2023 at the age of just 21 for her work supporting survivors of gender-based violence at the University of Glasgow.

Asked what one policy makes her stand out compared with her competitors, Duane said: “It would certainly be a wealth tax on the wealthiest that could provide for investment in our public services and lift millions out of poverty.

“Unfortunately, we're seeing a consensus across Labour, the Conservatives and now, to an extent, the SNP as well that we need to cut spending and that there’s no money in the bank.

“I truly don't believe that.”

She added: “I think if we tax fairly, like many of our neighbours do, with a more progressive tax system across the entire UK, we'll have much more money that we could use to, , improve local services here in Glasgow North and across the entire country.”

Many independence supporters – including former first minister Humza Yousaf – have suggested that voting Scottish Greens would be a “wasted vote” but Duane rejects this notion.

“Less than 10 years ago, people said the same about the SNP. That if you want to get rid of the Tories, you can't vote for the SNP. Less than 100 years ago, they said that about the Labour party.

“If that was true, we'd still be in a situation where it was the Tories against the Whigs.

She added: “If we carry on thinking like this, seats often will only change between two main parties and that very line of argument could see the SNP never win a seat itself again.”

“I don't believe we are splitting in vote. We're getting up there. We're putting forward our key policies, which are different to the SNP.

“We need to make sure everyone has the option to vote for someone who reflects their views and their voice.”

Martin Rhodes didn’t respond to a request for an interview.

What do the people of Glasgow North think? 

After speaking with some of the candidates, it was time to speak with the people. Where? A wee stroll around Kelvingrove Park.

(Image: James Walker)

20-year-old Madeleine Miles (above) is graduating from the University of Glasgow on July 4 and is getting a postal vote.

“In our circle, we are passionate about getting the Tories out. It’s been too long,” she said.

“But other than that, I like to do a bit of research about who I’m voting for. I usually teeter towards Labour but obviously there’s a bit of contention with their policies at the moment, including on Gaza. More research needed before a proper decision.”

Sean McCulloch, 24, sees the housing crisis in Glasgow as the biggest issue going into the General Election as well as homelessness.

He is likely voting for the Scottish Greens and said the rest of the parties are a “bit meh” and said the fact it is looking like a battleground seat between SNP and Labour wouldn't change the way he is going to vote.

“I don’t like both of them so I don’t know how I’d come between that,” he added.

32-year-old Emma Crichton said the most important issue for her is how Westminster policies will impact Scotland.

She hasn’t given too much thought on who she will vote for yet and doesn’t have a huge party allegiance for anyone.

(Image: James Walker)

Angus Macdonald (above), 25, is pro-independence and said he would likely vote SNP to have someone who can “stand up for Scotland”.

“I can be a Green voter too but if the SNP goes in with an independence manifesto then definitely them,” he added.