Ayr (Scottish Parliament constituency)

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Ayr
burgh constituency
for the Scottish Parliament
Ayr (Scottish Parliament constituency).svg
South Scotland (Scottish Parliament electoral region).svg
Ayr shown within the South Scotland electoral region and the region shown within Scotland
Population 76,620 (2012)[1]
Electorate 59,233 (2015)[2]
Current constituency
Created 1999
Party Conservative
MSP John Scott
Council area South Ayrshire

Ayr is a burgh constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) which elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) via the plurality (first past the post) electoral system. It is also one of nine constituencies in the South Scotland electoral region which elects seven additional members to the Scottish Parliament via a proportional electoral system known as the Additional Members System (abbreviated AMS) which allows for fairer representation for the region as a whole.

Electoral region[edit]

The other eight constituencies of the South Scotland region are Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley; Clydesdale; Dumfriesshire; East Lothian; Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire; Galloway and West Dumfries; Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley and Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale. The region covers the Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, Scottish Borders and South Ayrshire council areas in full and elements of the East Lothian, Midlothian and South Lanarkshire council areas.

Constituency boundaries and council area[edit]

Wards of the Ayr Scottish Parliament constituency as of 2011.

1999-2011[edit]

The Ayr constituency was created at the same time as the Scottish Parliament, in 1999, following the same boundaries as the existing Ayr constituency at Westminster. In 2005 however most UK Parliamentary constituencies in Scotland were replaced with new constituencies, with the Ayr constituency being abolished and replaced by the Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock and Central Ayrshire constituencies.[3] This had no impact on the boundaries of the Ayr constituency in the Scottish Parliament which used the old Westminster boundaries during the 2007 election to the Scottish Parliament.

The constituency covered the 1995 South Ayrshire electoral wards of:

  • Dundonald; East Kyle; Fort; Lochside and Craigie; Heathfield; Kingscase; Newton; Seafield; St Cuthbert's; St Nicholas; Troon Central; Troon East; Troon West; Wallacetown and Whitletts, covering Dundonald, Loans, Monkton, Prestwick, Symington, Tarbolton, Troon and the north and west of Ayr.[4]

The remaining section of South Ayrshire was covered by the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency.

2011-[edit]

Following the First Periodic Review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries in time for the 2011 Scottish Parliament election the Boundary Commission for Scotland recommended alterations to the existing Ayr constituency which were then implemented and used at the 2011 and 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections. These boundaries remain in place today and will be used at the next election to the Scottish Parliament.

The review suggested that the Ayr constituency take in the electoral wards of:

  • Troon, Prestwick, Ayr North, Ayr East and Ayr West, covering the towns of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon.

All remaining wards in South Ayrshire form part of the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency.

Constituency profile and voting patterns[edit]

Constituency profile[edit]

The Ayr constituency covers a thin stretch of land situated along the north-west coast of South Ayrshire, taking in the adjoining coastal towns of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon. The constituency is a popular coastal resort on Scotland's west coast. The town of Ayr serves as the administrative centre of the South Ayrshire Council area and is the most populated section of the constituency. The town annually hosts the Scottish Grand National horse-racing steeplechase and the Scottish Airshow. Towards the south of the town is Robert Burns Cottage in the suburb of Alloway. In Prestwick and Troon, the exclusive Royal Troon and Prestwick Golf Clubs regularly host the British Open Championship. The seat also takes in Glasgow Prestwick International Airport.

The constituency covers a diverse and muddled mix of wealthy middle class suburbs and deprived council estates, divided between suburban housing based around parts of Prestwick, Troon and the south of Ayr and social housing based around the industrial north of Ayr. Although the constituency is prosperous, it is also littered with pockets of deprivation, with data derived from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation indicating that 27% of the seat's populous reside in the 30% most deprived datazones in Scotland whilst 42% reside in the 30% most affluent datazones in Scotland.[5] Demographically, the constituency has a high percentage of elderly voters, Church of Scotland Protestants and home-owners, with a higher percentage of outright home-owners compared to the national average. According to census data, 29.7% of the seat's population are aged 60 and over (compared to the Scottish national figure of 23.2%), 42.7% of residents are Church of Scotland Protestant (over 10% greater than the Scottish average)[6] and 63.8% reside in owned "whole houses or bungalows", with 26.3% residing in owned outright "whole houses or bungalows" (comparing to the Scottish national figures of 54.3% and 20.2% respectively).[7][8] At the 2011 census the unemployment rate in the constituency was registered as 4.9%, the same as the Scottish national average.[9]

Voting patterns[edit]

Historically the Ayr seat has held a higher level of support for the Conservative Party in comparison to elsewhere in Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole. The equivalent Westminster constituency of Ayr was gained by the Conservative Party at its creation in 1950. In subsequent elections the seat went onto return Conservative MP's to Parliament until the 1997 UK general election, when the boundaries of the constituency were altered in a move involving the transfer of a number of Conservative-voting suburbs towards the south of Ayr to the adjoining Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency which subsequently altered the demographics of the Ayr constituency - benefiting the Labour Party. In spite of this at the 1997 election the Ayr seat returned one of the smallest pro-Labour swings in Great Britain at just over 5%.[10] Prior to this the Ayr Burghs constituency (which incorporated a number of towns in coastal Ayrshire including Irvine, Troon, Prestwick, Ayr, Saltcoats and Ardrossan) continuously returned Conservative MP's to Parliament from 1906 until it's abolishment in 1950, making Ayr the longest seat to be held continuously by the Conservatives in Scotland (continuously having a Conservative MP at Westminster for 91 years). Ayr has been represented by a Conservative MP or MSP for a total of approximately 119 years - the longest of any constituency in Scotland.

Bungalows in Seafield.

At the 2003 South Ayrshire council election the Conservative Party's support in Ayr was largely concentrated in affluent suburban areas located to the south of Ayr and around Prestwick and Troon, primarily contained within the suburbs of Doonfoot, Seafield, Alloway, Ayr Fort, St Leonard's, north Belmont, Masonhill, Holmston and Castlehill in the town of Ayr; Barassie, Muirhead and south Troon in Troon and in north, west and central Prestwick. The Labour Party have traditionally found success in the more deprived parts of the constituency, winning in council estates such as Kincaidston, Forehill, Marchburn and Prestwick Toll, throughout north Ayr and in west Troon at the 2003 local council election.[11][12]

Chart of Ayr election results since 1999.

Until the late 2000s the Labour Party held a significant level of support across the Ayr constituency and were able to win the constituency by 25 votes at the 1999 Scottish Parliamentary election as a consequence of a high turnout and the constituency's boundaries, which excluded various Conservative-voting suburbs in southern Ayr (including Alloway, Doonfoot, Masonhill, Holmston and Castlehill). Labour's decline in support in the Scottish Parliament coupled with a lower turnout allowed for the Conservatives to secure the constituency comfortably at the 2000 Ayr by-election following the resignation of Ayr's first MSP, Ian Welsh. The by-election was the first by-election of the Scottish Parliament, making Ayr the first Scottish Conservative constituency seat in the Scottish Parliament (who won no constituency seats at the 1999 Scottish Parliament election). The Conservatives went onto hold the constituency at the 2003 and 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, despite marginally missing out in the Westminster seat of Ayr to the Labour Party at the 2001 UK general election. In 2011 the constituency boundaries were altered, with the electoral ward of Kyle being transferred to the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency. At the same time the remaining portion of the town of Ayr covered by the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency was transferred over to the Ayr constituency. The Ayr constituency went onto return Conservative MSP John Scott to Parliament with a reduced majority at the 2011 and 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.

South Ayrshire Council[edit]

At the most recent South Ayrshire Council election in 2012 the composition of Councillors elected in the equivalent area of the Ayr constituency was as follows:

Conservative Scottish National Party Labour
8 6 6

Members of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

At the 1999 Scottish Parliament election Labour's Ian Welsh became Ayr's first constituency MSP at Holyrood, winning the constituency with a majority of 25 votes ahead of former Ayr MP Phil Gallie. The constituency went onto elect Conservative John Scott to Parliament in a subsequent by-election held in 2000. John Scott has held the position of constituency MSP for Ayr since.

Election Member Party
1999 Ian Welsh Scottish Labour Party
2000 by-election John Scott Scottish Conservative Party
2003
2007
2011
2016

Election results[edit]

John Scott

2016 election[edit]

Scottish Parliament election, 2016: Ayr[13][14]

Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party Votes % ±%
Conservative Green tickY John Scott 16,183 43.0% +4.1% 13,991 37.1% +11.5%
SNP Jennifer Dunn 15,433 41.0% +5.4% 14,938 39.6% -3.4%
Labour Brian McGinley 5,283 14.0% -9.3% 5,306 14.1% -8.4%
Liberal Democrats Robbie Simpson 716 1.9% -0.2% 742 2.0% -0.3%
Scottish Green   1,601 4.2% +2.2%
UKIP   639 1.7% +0.8%
RISE   195 0.5% +0.5%
Solidarity   155 0.4% +0.3%
Independent   119 0.3% +0.3%
Informal votes 115 64
Total Valid votes 37,615 37,750
Conservative hold Majority 750 2.0% -1.3%

2011 election[edit]

Scottish Parliament election, 2011: Ayr[15]

Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party Votes % ±%
Conservative Green tickY John Scott 12,997 38.9% -1.7% 8,539 25.5%
SNP Chic Brodie 11,884 35.6% +10.0% 14,377 43.0%
Labour Gordon McKenzie 7,779 23.3% -4.8% 7,513 22.45%
Liberal Democrats Eileen Taylor 713 2.1% -3.5% 744 2.2%
Scottish Green   685 2.0%
All Scotland Pensioners Party 595 1.8%
UKIP   293 0.9%
Scottish Christian   237 0.7%
BNP   211 0.6%
Socialist Labour   168 0.5%
Scottish Socialist   76 0.2%
Solidarity   30 0.1%
Informal votes 118 67
Total Valid votes 33,373 33,468
Conservative hold Majority 1,113 3.3% -8.9%
Scottish Parliament election, 2007 Notional Result: Ayr[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative 13,820 40.0% -0.7%
Labour 9,445 27.3% -0.8%
SNP 9,101 26.3% +0.7%
Liberal Democrats 2,013 5.8% +0.2%
Others 187 0.5% +0.5%
Majority 4,375 12.7% +0.4%
Conservative hold Swing

2007 election result[edit]

Scottish Parliament election, 2007: Ayr[17]

Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party Votes % ±%
Conservative Green tickY John Scott 12,619 40.7% -0.0% 8,983 28.9% -6.6%
Labour John Duncan 8,713 28.1% -6.7% 8,871 28.5% -2.3%
SNP Iain White 7,952 25.6% +11.9% 8,560 27.5% +13.7%
Liberal Democrats Stuart Ritchie 1,741 5.6% +0.0% 1,601 5.0% -0.2%
Scottish Green   840 2.7% -1.9%
Scottish Senior Citizens   723 2.3% -0.25%(a)
Solidarity   346 1.1% +1.1%
BNP   338 1.1% +1.1%
Scottish Christian   253 0.8% +0.8%
Socialist Labour   146 0.5% -0.3%
Scottish Socialist   134 0.4% -5.3%
UKIP   120 0.4% -0.1%
Christian Peoples   90 0.3% +0.3%
Independent - Paddy Scott Hogg 46 0.1% +0.1%
Scottish Voice   27 0.1% +0.1%
Informal votes 873 820
Total Valid votes 31,898 31,708
Turnout 32,681
Conservative hold Majority 3,906 12.5% +6.5%

(a)-comparison with Pensioners Party (Scotland)

2003 election result[edit]

Scottish Parliament election, 2003: Ayr[18]

Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party Votes % ±%
Conservative Green tickY John Scott 12,865 40.7% +2.7% 11,221 35.5% +4.6%
Labour Rita Miller 10,975 34.7% -3.3% 9,745 30.8% -1.3%
SNP James Dornan 4,334 13.7% -5.6% 4,366 13.8% -8.8%
Liberal Democrats Stuart David Ritchie 1,769 5.6% +1.2% 1,684 5.3% -0.8%
Scottish Socialist James Scott Stewart 1,648 5.2% +5.2% 1,808 5.7% +4.8%
Scottish Green   1,462 4.6% +2.4%
Pensioners Party 813 2.6% +2.6%
Socialist Labour   240 0.8% -3.3%
UKIP   166 0.5% +0.2%
Scottish People's   65 0.21 +0.2%
Am Partaidh Dhuthchail - The Rural Party 32 0.1% +0.1%
Informal votes 145 136
Total Valid votes 31,591 31,602
Conservative hold Majority 1,890 6.0% +6.0%

2000 by-election result [19][edit]

Ayr by-election, 2000

Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the by-election.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list prior to the by-election.
Yellow background denotes the winner of the by-election, who was a list MP prior to the by-election.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative John Scott 12,580 39.4% +1.4%
SNP Jim Mather 9,236 29.0% +9.5%
Labour Rita Miller 7,054 22.1% -16.0%
Scottish Socialist James Stewart 1,345 4.2% +4.2%
Liberal Democrats Stuart Ritchie 800 2.5% -1.9%
Scottish Green Gavin Nelson Corbett 460 1.4% +1.4%
The Radio Vet William Clifton Botcherby 186 0.5% +0.5%
UKIP Alistair David Mconnachie 113 0.4% 0.4%
ProLife Alliance Robert Graham 111 0.3% +0.3%
Independent Kevin James Dillion 15 0.0% +0.0%
Informal votes 58
Total Valid votes 31,900
Conservative gain from Labour Majority 3,344 10.5% +10.5%

1999 election result[edit]

Scottish Parliament election, 1999: Ayr[20]

Notes: Green background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party Votes % ±%
Labour Ian Welsh 14,263 38.1% 12,039 32.1%
Conservative Phil Gallie 14,238 38.0% 11,582 30.9%
SNP Roger Mullin 7,291 19.5% 8,477 22.6%
Liberal Democrats Elaine Morris 1,662 4.4% 2,312 6.2%
Socialist Labour   1,510 4.0%
Scottish Green   832 2.2%
Scottish Socialist   347 0.9%
Liberal   150 0.4%
UKIP   119 0.3%
Natural Law   87 0.2%
Informal votes 114 97
Total Valid votes 37,454 37,455
Labour win new seat Majority 25 0.1%

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Mid-2012 Populations Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Electorate - 2018 Review". Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  3. ^ See The 5th Periodical Report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ See Scottish Parliament constituencies 1999 - 2011
  5. ^ 'Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016'
  6. ^ 'Area Profiles'
  7. ^ 'Accommodation type by tenure - people (Ayr)'
  8. ^ 'Accommodation type by tenure - people (Scotland)'
  9. ^ 'Area Profiles'
  10. ^ Waller, R. Criddle, B. The Almanac of British Politics. 88.
  11. ^ 'South Ayrshire Council - Election Results - 2003'
  12. ^ 'Consumer Data Research Centre 2011 ONS Area Classification'
  13. ^ 'Scottish Parliamentary Election 5 May 2016 Ayr Constituency' - accessed 6 May 2016
  14. ^ 'Scottish Parliamentary Election 5 May 2016 Result Statement (South of Scotland Region)'
  15. ^ 'Scottish Parliament Election 2011 - Results for the AYR constituency' - accessed 2 May 2015
  16. ^ 'The New Scottish Parliament Constituencies 2011' - accessed 19 Sep 2015
  17. ^ 'Scottish Parliament Election Results - Thursday 3 May 2007' - accessed 2 May 2015
  18. ^ "Scottish Parliament Election Results 2003". www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  19. ^ 'Scottish Parliamentary Election - 16 March 2000 (By election - resignation of Ian Welsh MSP)' - accessed 2 May 2015
  20. ^ 'Scottish Parliamentary Election - 6 May 1999' - accessed 2 May 2015