Ayr (Scottish Parliament constituency)
for the Scottish Parliament
|Council area||South Ayrshire|
Ayr is a burgh constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) covering the town of Ayr in the council area of South Ayrshire. It 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 greater accuracy in representation for the region as a whole.
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
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. 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.
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, 2016 and 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections. These boundaries remain in place today and will be used at the next election to the Scottish Parliament.
All of these are wards of South Ayrshire Council. The remaining wards in South Ayrshire form part of the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley .
Constituency profile and voting patterns
Ayr is a burgh constituency of the Scottish Parliament covering the adjoining coastal towns of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon in north-west South Ayrshire. 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-west of Ayr and social housing based around the industrial north of Ayr and parts of south-east Ayr including the council estates of Kincaidston, Forehill and South Belmont.
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 on to 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%. 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 its 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 was represented by a Conservative MP or MSP for a total of approximately 124 years until the SNP gained the constituency in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
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 on to 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 on to return Conservative MSP John Scott to Parliament with a reduced majority at the 2011 and 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. At the 2017 UK general election, Conservative candidate Bill Grant gained the overlapping Westminster constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock from the SNP with a majority of 2,774 votes (6.0%), but the SNP regained it at the 2019 UK general election with a majority of over 2,000 votes. In 2021, the SNP's Siobhian Brown gained the Ayr constituency from Scott with a narrow majority of 170 votes on a record high turnout of 68%. This was the smallest majority in Scotland.
In past local elections, the Conservatives have performed better in Ayr West, Troon and Prestwick, with the SNP and Labour performing better in more deprived areas within the constituency such as Ayr North and parts of Ayr East.
Members of the Scottish Parliament
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 on to elect Conservative John Scott to Parliament in a subsequent by-election held in 2000. Scott held the position of constituency MSP for Ayr until his 2021 defeat by the SNP's Siobhian Brown, who won the constituency for the first time with a majority of 170 votes.
Ayr became the most marginal constituency in the Scottish Parliament after the 2021 election, with the SNP winning it by just 170 votes.
|Liberal Democrats||Jamie Ross||808||1.9||0.0||876||2.0||0.0|
|All for Unity||734||1.4||New|
|Independent Green Voice||198||0.5||New|
|Abolish the Scottish Parliament||93||0.2||New|
|Scotia Future||Chic Brodie||267||0.6||New||67||0.2||New|
|Vanguard Party (UK)||5||0.0||New|
|SNP gain from Conservative||Swing||1.3|
|Liberal Democrats||Robbie Simpson||716||1.9||0.2||742||2.0||0.2|
|Clydesdale and South Scotland Independent||119||0.3||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Eileen Taylor||713||2.1||N/A||744||2.2||N/A|
|All-Scotland Pensioners Party||595||1.8||N/A|
|Conservative win (new boundaries)|
|Liberal Democrats||Stuart Ritchie||1,741||5.6||±0.0|
|Liberal Democrats||Stuart Ritchie||1,769||5.6||+1.2|
|Scottish Socialist||James Stewart||1,648||5.2||N/A|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing|
|Scottish Socialist||James Stewart||1,345||4.2||New|
|Liberal Democrats||Stuart Ritchie||800||2.5||-1.9|
|The Radio Vet||William Botcherby||186||0.6||New|
|ProLife Alliance||Robert Graham||111||0.4||New|
|Conservative gain from Labour||Swing|
|Liberal Democrats||Elaine Morris||1,662||4.4||N/A|
|Labour win (new seat)|
- Scottish Parliamentary Constituency (SPC) Population Estimates (2011 Data Zone based), National Records of Scotland; retrieved 6 May 2021 (accompanying summary notes)
- "Electorate - 2018 Review". Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- See The 5th Periodical Report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland Archived 21 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- See Scottish Parliament constituencies 1999 - 2011
- "First Periodic Review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries Final Report" (PDF). Boundaries Scotland. May 2010. p. 111. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
- Waller, R. Criddle, B. The Almanac of British Politics. 88.
- Wilson, Stuart (7 May 2021). "SNP claim dramatic win in Ayr to end Tory dominance". Daily Record. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- Sim, Philip (10 May 2021). "Scottish election 2021: The numbers behind the result". BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- "Result Statement - Ayr Constituency [70.61KB]" (PDF). South Ayshire Council. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
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- "Results and turnout at the 2011 Scottish Parliament election". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
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- "Scottish Parliament Election Results 2003". www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
- 'Scottish Parliamentary Election - 6 May 1999' - accessed 2 May 2015