Edinburgh Central (UK Parliament constituency)

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Edinburgh Central
Former Burgh constituency
for the House of Commons
Subdivisions of Scotland City of Edinburgh
18852005
Number of members One
Replaced by Edinburgh East
Edinburgh North & Leith
Edinburgh South West
Edinburgh West
Created from Edinburgh

Edinburgh Central was a burgh constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (at Westminster) from 1885 to 2005. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

In 1999, a Scottish Parliament constituency was created with the same name and boundaries, and continues in use. See Edinburgh Central (Scottish Parliament constituency).

From 1925 until 1999, the Member of Parliament for the Westminster constituency was an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of the National Library of Scotland. Since 1999, that role has been taken by the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Scottish Parliament constituency.[citation needed]

Boundaries[edit]

The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 provided that the constituency was to consist of the Municipal Wards of St. Giles, George Square, and St. Leonard, except so much as is comprised in the Edinburgh East Division (being the part to the north of a line drawn along the centres of East and West Richmond Streets).[1]

In 1918 the constituency consisted of the "George Square, St. Giles' and St. Leonard's Municipal Wards of Edinburgh."

"George Square, Holyrood, St Giles" was the description of the Central seat between 1950 and 1955, following the Representation of the People Act 1948.[2] This changed until 1974, when part of Gorgie-Dalry was added,[3] and again after 1974 until 1983 to include part of Merchiston.[4]

Until 1997 the wards comprising Edinburgh Central were numbers 20-21, and 27-29, which changed to parts of wards 5-7, 9-11, and 14-15 until the abolition of the constituency in 2005.

The 1997-2005 boundaries covered a central portion of the City of Edinburgh council area, including Edinburgh Old Town, the West End, Holyrood and Murrayfield. The constituency was one of six covering the city council area.

At the 2005 general election, the constituency area was divided between Edinburgh East, Edinburgh North and Leith, Edinburgh South West and Edinburgh West.[5]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[6] Party
1885 John Wilson Independent Liberal
1886 William McEwan Liberal
1900 George Mackenzie Brown Liberal
1906 Charles Edward Price Liberal
1918 William Graham Labour
1931 James Campbell Morrison Guy Unionist
1941 by-election Francis Clifford Watt Unionist
1945 Andrew Gilzean Labour
1951 Thomas Oswald Labour
Feb. 1974 Robin Cook Labour
1983 Alex Fletcher Conservative
1987 Alastair Darling Labour

Election results[edit]

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2001: Edinburgh Central[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alistair Darling 14,495 42.1 -5.0
Liberal Democrat Andrew Myles 6,353 18.5 +5.4
Conservative Alastair Orr 5,643 16.4 -4.8
SNP Ian McKee 4,832 14.1 -1.7
Scottish Green Graeme William Farmer 1,809 5.3 +3.9
Scottish Socialist Kevin Williamson 1,258 3.7 N/A
Majority 8,142 23.7
Turnout 34,390 52.0 -15.1
Labour hold Swing -5.2

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General Election 1997: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alistair Darling 20,125 47.1
Conservative Mike D.A. Scott-Hayward 9,055 21.2
SNP Fiona Hyslop 6,750 15.8
Liberal Democrat Miss Karen J. Utting 5,605 13.1
Scottish Green Miss Linda M. Hendry 607 1.4
Referendum Party Austin G. Skinner 495 1.2
Independent Mark E. Benson 98 0.2
Majority 11,070 25.9
Turnout 63,969 66.8
Labour hold Swing +8.4
General Election 1992: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alistair Darling 15,189 38.8
Conservative Paul Martin 13,063 33.4
SNP Ms. Lynne J. Devine 5,539 14.2
Liberal Democrat Andrew B. Myles 4,500 11.5
Scottish Green Robin C. Harper 630 1.6
Liberal Richard Wilson 235 0.6
Majority 2,126 5.4
Turnout 56,527 69.3
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General Election 1987: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alistair Darling 16,502 40.2
Conservative Alex Fletcher 14,240 34.7
Liberal A. Myles 7,333 17.9
SNP B. Shaw 2,559 6.2
Scottish Green L.M. Hendry 438 1.1
Majority 2,262 5.5
Turnout 59,529 69.0
Labour gain from Conservative Swing
General Election 1983: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Alex Fletcher 14,095 38.04
Labour R Kelley 11,529 31.12
Social Democratic M Macleod 9,498 25.63
SNP R Halliday 1,810 4.89
Communist D Carson 119 0.32
Majority 2,566 6.93
Turnout 64.93
Conservative gain from Labour Swing

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robin Cook 12,191 47.85
Conservative David McLetchie 7,530 29.55
Liberal S Donaldson 3,096 12.15
SNP G Kennedy 2,486 9.76
Labour CD Boyd 176 0.69
Majority 4,661 18.29
Turnout 67.51
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robin Cook 11,129 40.27
Conservative P Jones 7,176 25.97
SNP AWS Rae 6,866 24.85
Liberal C Scott 2,463 8.91
Majority 3,953 14.30
Turnout 67.47
Labour hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Robin Cook 11,354 37.85
Conservative P Jones 10,393 34.64
Liberal C Scott 4,180 13.93
SNP AWS Rae 4,074 13.58
Majority 961 3.20
Turnout 73.57
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1970: Edinburgh Central

Electorate 31,385

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas Oswald 9,561 46.16
Conservative Malcolm Leslie Rifkind 8,000 38.62
SNP Rena Moore 1,666 8.04
Liberal Dr. Anthony Oliver 1,486 7.17
Majority 1,561 7.54
Turnout 20,713 66.00
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Edinburgh Central

Electorate 33,910

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas Oswald 13,682 58.60
Conservative Nicholas Hardwick Fairbairn 9,667 41.40
Majority 4,015 17.20
Turnout 26,256 68.86
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1964: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas Oswald 14,124 53.90
Unionist Nicholas Hardwick Fairbairn 12,082 46.10
Majority 2,042 7.79
Turnout 71.62
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas Oswald 15,849 50.99
Unionist NR Wylie 15,232 49.01
Majority 617 1.99
Turnout 72.65
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1955: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas Oswald 16,735 51.44
Unionist Rolf Harris 15,796 48.56
Majority 939 2.89
Turnout 68.85
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1951: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Thomas Oswald 18,429 52.24
Unionist WJM Kean 16,847 47.76
Majority 1,582 4.48
Turnout 76.70
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1950: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Andrew Gilzean 16,568 47.92
Unionist Francis Clifford Watt 13,631 39.43
Liberal Leonard Gellatly 3,446 9.97
Communist D Renton 646 1.87
National Independent Maj. Hume Sleigh 283 0.82
Majority 2,937 8.49
Turnout 74.33
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1940s[edit]

General Election 1945: Edinburgh Central[8]

Electorate 33,682

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Andrew Gilzean 10,921 54.3 +12.9
Unionist Francis Clifford Watt 6,701 33.3 −20.7
Liberal Maj. N. A. Donald 2,262 11.2 +6.6
National Independent Maj. Hume Sleigh 232 1.2 N/A
Majority 4,220 21.0
Turnout 59.7
Labour gain from Unionist Swing 16.8
Edinburgh Central by-election, 11 December 1941[9]

Electorate

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Francis Clifford Watt 4,771 71.0
Ind. Labour Party T. Taylor 1,950 29.0
Majority 2,821 42.0
Turnout 20.0
Unionist hold Swing

Elections in the 1930s[edit]

General Election 1939/40: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940. The political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place from 1939 and by the end of this year, the following candidates had been selected;

General Election 1935: Edinburgh Central[10]

Electorate 36,201

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist James Campbell Morrison Guy 12,612 54.0
Labour Andrew Gilzean 9,659 41.3
Liberal Dr Richard Archibald Barlow 1,086 4.7
Majority 2,953 12.6
Turnout 23,357 64.5
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1931: Edinburgh Central[11]

Electorate 39,306

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist James Campbell Morrison Guy 17,293 59.3
Labour Rt Hon. William Graham 10,566 36.2
Communist Fred Douglas 1,319 4.5
Majority 6,727 23.1
Turnout 29,178 74.2
Unionist gain from Labour Swing

Elections in the 1920s[edit]

General Election 1929: Edinburgh Central[12]

Electorate 40,975

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Rt Hon. William Graham 16,762 59.0
Liberal Harold Alexander 6,745 23.8
Unionist John Hamilton McKie 4,889 17.2
Majority
Turnout 69.3
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1924: Edinburgh Central[13]

Electorate 32,744

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Rt Hon. William Graham 13,628 60.5
Unionist A. Beaton 8,897 39.5
Majority 4,731 21.0
Turnout 68.8
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1923: Edinburgh Central[14]

Electorate 32,492

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour William Graham 13,186 67.9
Liberal Thomas Lamb 6,225 32.1
Majority 6,961 35.8
Turnout 59.7
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1922 : Edinburgh Central[15]

Electorate 30,970

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour William Graham 12,876 57.9
National Liberal Sir George McCrae 9,371 42.1
Majority 3,505 15.8
Turnout 71.8
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election 1918 Edinburgh Central[16]

Electorate

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour William Graham 7,161 51.3
Liberal Joseph Dobbie 6,797 48.7
Majority 364 2.6
Turnout
Labour gain from Liberal Swing
General Election Dec 1910: Edinburgh Central[17]

Registered electors

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Charles Edward Price 3,771
Conservative G.R.Y. Radcliffe 1,947
Majority
Turnout
Liberal hold Swing
General Election Jan 1910: Edinburgh Central[17]

Registered electors

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Charles Edward Price 3,985
Liberal Unionist David A. Scott 1,947
Majority
Turnout
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

Charles Edward Price
General Election 1906: Edinburgh Central[18]

Registered electors 6,926

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Charles Edward Price 3,935 67.9
Liberal Unionist J.D.G. Walker 1,857 32.1
Majority
Turnout 83.6
Liberal hold Swing
Arthur Conan Doyle
General Election 1900: Edinburgh Central[19]

Registered electors

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal George Mackenzie Brown 3,028 55.2 n/a
Liberal Unionist Dr. Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle 2,459 44.8 n/a
Majority 569 10.4 n/a
Turnout 71.9 n/a
Liberal hold Swing n/a

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

General Election 1895: Edinburgh Central[19]

Registered electors

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William McEwan unopposed n/a n/a
Liberal hold Swing n/a
William McEwan
General Election 1892: Edinburgh Central[20]

Registered electors 7,725

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William McEwan 3,733 63.0
Liberal Unionist Arthur K Connell 1,758 29.7
Scottish United Trades Councils Labour Party John Wilson 434 7.3
Majority 1,975 33.3
Turnout 76.7
Liberal hold Swing

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1886: Edinburgh Central[21]

Registered electors 8,269

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal William McEwan 3,760 62.7
Liberal Unionist John Wilson 2,236 37.3
Majority 1,524 25.4
Turnout 72.5
Liberal gain from Liberal Unionist Swing
General Election 1885: Edinburgh Central[21]

Registered electors 8,269

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Liberal John Wilson 2,930 41.9 n/a
Liberal James Hall Renton 1,684 24.1 n/a
Conservative Hon. John Scott Napier 1,606 23.0 n/a
Independent Liberal Adam William Black 770 11.0 n/a
Majority 1,247 17.8 n/a
Turnout 84.5 n/a
Independent Liberal win

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, Sixth Schedule
  2. ^ [1] Boundary Commission for Scotland
  3. ^ [2] Boundary Commission for Scotland
  4. ^ [3] Boundary Commission for Scotland
  5. ^ Fifth Periodical Review, Boundary Commission for Scotland
  6. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "E" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
  7. ^ Vote 2001: Edinburgh Central, BBC News
  8. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  9. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1944
  10. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1939
  11. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1934
  12. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  13. ^ Oliver and Boyd's Edinburgh Almanack, 1927
  14. ^ The Times, 8 December 1923
  15. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  16. ^ Craig, F. W. S. (1983). British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3 ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
  17. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1916
  18. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1907
  19. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench, 1901
  20. ^ Whitaker's Almanack, 1893
  21. ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons and Judicial Bench, 1889

See also[edit]