North Ayrshire and Arran (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 55°38′13″N 4°54′54″W / 55.637°N 4.915°W / 55.637; -4.915

North Ayrshire and Arran
county constituency
for the House of Commons
NorthAyrshireArranConstituency.svg
North Ayrshire and Arran shown within Scotland.
Population 135,000 (2008, approx.)
Electorate 74,985 (approx.)
Current constituency
Created 2005
Member of Parliament Katy Clark (Labour)
Created from Cunninghame North
19832005
Replaced by North Ayrshire and Arran
Created from Bute and Northern Ayrshire
Overlaps
European Parliament constituency Scotland

North Ayrshire and Arran is a constituency of the British House of Commons, located in the south-west of Scotland within the North Ayrshire council area. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) at least once every five years using the first-past-the-post voting system of voting.

Once a longtime Conservative seat, the area has been represented by Labour MPs since 1987. The current MP is Katy Clark, who has held the seat since 2005. Despite a considerable SNP challenge, Clark was re-elected comfortably with a majority of over 9,000 in 2010. During the election campaign, the seat attained national prominence following the Conservative candidate Philip Lardener's declaration that homosexuality was "not normal", and he was subsequently expelled from the party, running as an Independent instead. However he still appeared as the Conservative candidate on the ballot paper, it being too late for the Conservatives to select another candidate.

A diverse seat, it contains the affluent towns of Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride to the north, as well as the more working class towns of Ardrossan, Kilbirnie, the Garnock Valley, Kilwinning, Saltcoats and Stevenston to the south. The Isle of Arran and Great Cumbrae are also within the constituency.

Boundaries[edit]

The constituency is entirely within the North Ayrshire council area. Part of the same council area is covered by the Central Ayrshire constituency.

The boundaries of North Ayrshire and Arran extend to, and include, Skelmorlie in the north of the council area, Stevenston in the south, Beith in the east, and the islands of Arran and Cumbrae in the west.

Constituency profile[edit]

A view of Ardrossan

The towns of Skelmorlie, Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride in the north are affluent commuter towns, while Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston and Kilwinning in the south are rather more industrial and beset with relatively high unemployment. However, regeneration is taking place at Ardrossan Harbour and there has been a rapid increase in new build housing in recent years. Inland, the seat takes in the Garnock valley towns of Dalry, Beith and Kilbirnie, once a centre of steel and textile production long since gone. Tourism is the main industry on Arran and Cumbrae, however the number of holiday homes on the latter has begun to squeeze locals out of the housing market. The seat has two nuclear power stations, Hunterston A nuclear power station (currently being decommissioned) and Hunterston B nuclear power station, as well as a windfarm at Ardrossan.

History[edit]

The constituency of North Ayrshire was created in 1868 and was much larger than the present constituency, as it also included the towns of Irvine and Kilmarnock. It returned various Liberal, Liberal Unionist and Conservative MP's, the most well known of whom being Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, a general in the First World War who served as MP from 1916-1935 first for North Ayrshire and then for Bute and Northern Ayrshire which was created in 1918. Another well-known MP was Sir Fitzroy Maclean, a major-general in the Second World War who was rumoured to be one of Ian Fleming's inspirations for James Bond. In 1983, the Cunninghame North constituency was created. From 1911 to 1987, the constituencies containing North Ayrshire returned either Conservative Party or Unionist Party MP's until the 1987 General Election when the constituency was lost to the Labour Party.

Members of Parliament[edit]

The current MP Katy Clark

The current MP is Katy Clark. There have been no previous members of parliament for this new constituency. The previous seat of Cunninghame North was held by Brian Wilson. Brian Donohoe, who previously held Cunninghame South, is now the Member for Central Ayrshire.

Election Member[1] Party
1868 William Finnie Liberal
1874 Roger Montgomerie
1880 Robert William Cochran-Patrick Conservative
1885 Hugh Elliot Liberal
1886 Liberal Unionist
1892 Thomas Cochrane Liberal Unionist
1910 Andrew Macbeth Anderson Liberal
1911 Duncan Frederick Campbell Conservative
1916 Sir Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston Conservative
1918 Bute and Northern Ayrshire constituency created.
1918 Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston Unionist
1935 Sir Charles MacAndrew Unionist
1959 Sir Fitzroy Maclean Conservative
Feb 1974 John Corrie Conservative
1983 Cunninghame North constituency created
1983 John Corrie Conservative
1987 Brian Wilson Labour
2005 North Ayrshire and Arran constituency created
2005 Katy Clark Labour

Election results[edit]

2010[edit]

General Election 2010: North Ayrshire and Arran
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Katy Clark 21,860 47.4 +3.5
SNP Patricia Gibson 11,965 25.9 +8.0
Conservative Philip Lardner 7,212 15.6 -2.7
Liberal Democrat Gillian Cole-Hamilton 4,630 10.0 -6.4
Socialist Labour Louise McDaid 449 1.0 +0.3
Majority 9,895 21.5
Turnout 46,116 61.5 +1.0
Labour hold Swing

2010 General Election Campaign[edit]

The Conservative Party candidate Philip Lardner was dropped as their official candidate and suspended from his job (but later reinstated) as a Primary School teacher following comments he had made, in which (as a Christian) he described homosexuality as "not normal behaviour". As nominations for candidates had closed, however, the Conservatives were unable to replace him. In 2008 he had previously been suspended as a candidate for the same seat by the Conservatives over claims he made racist remarks, but was later reinstated as the candidate for this seat and exonerated by the Party. Lardner is recorded by the BBC as an "Independent", due to him being "disowned" by the Conservative Party prior to polling day, however, on the actual ballot paper he was still described as a "Scottish Conservatives & Unionist".[2]

The Labour Party chose Katy Clark, the incumbent MP and former trade union official to re-contest the seat. Clark is considered to be quite a left-wing Labour MP as she voted against replacing Trident and is a member of the Scottish Campaign for Socialism.

The Scottish National Party narrowly won the seat of Cunninghame North during the 2007 Scottish parliamentary election and wished to capitalise on this success during the general election. They chose 41 year-old retired English teacher Cllr Patricia Gibson to contest the seat.

The Liberal Democrats chose primary teacher Gillian Cole-Hamilton and Louise McDaid of the Socialist Labour Party also contested the seat as she has done for several elections.

Percentage vote change and percentage swing for the 2005 results are based on notional results on how this constituency would have performed in the 2001 UK General Election.

2005[edit]

General Election 2005: North Ayrshire and Arran
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Katy Clark 19,417 43.9 -4.5
Conservative Stewart Connell 8,121 18.4 +0.9
SNP Tony Gurney 7,938 18.0 -3.0
Liberal Democrat George White 7,264 16.4 +7.6
Scottish Socialist Colin Turbett 780 1.8 -1.4
UKIP John Pursley 382 0.9 +0.9
Socialist Labour Louise McDaid 303 0.7 -0.5
Majority 11,296 25.6 -1.9
Turnout 44,205 59.9 -0.8
Labour hold Swing -2.7

References[edit]