Central Ayrshire (UK Parliament constituency)

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Central Ayrshire
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Central Ayrshire in Scotland for the 2005 general election.
Subdivisions of Scotland North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire
Current constituency
Created 2005
Member of parliament Philippa Whitford (SNP)
Created from Cunninghame South, Ayr
Replaced by Cunninghame South, Cunninghame North and Ayr[1]
Created from Ayr Burghs, Bute and Northern Ayrshire, and Kilmarnock
Scottish Parliament Ayr,
Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley,
Cunninghame South
European Parliament constituency Scotland

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

The seat has mostly belonged to the Labour Party since the 1950s, with the former MP Brian Donohoe having represented the seat since its creation in 2005, and was MP for the predecessor seat of Cunninghame South since 1992. Until the 2015 General Election in which the SNP's Philippa Whitford was elected with a majority of 13,589.

A diverse seat, the constituency covers more working class towns such as Irvine and parts of Kilwinning to the north, as well as the more affluent coastal resorts of Troon and Prestwick to the south. The seat also takes in a set of villages in rural South Ayrshire including the former mining communities of Annbank, Mossblown and Tarbolton alongside the villages of Loans, Dundonald and Symington.


As created in 1950 the constituency merged parts of the Bute and Northern Ayrshire and Kilmarnock constituencies. Following the Representation of the People Act 1948 the Central Ayrshire constituency between 1950 and 1955 consisted of Irvine, Kilwinning, Stewarton, Troon, Kilbirnie and part of the district of Kilmarnock.[2] When abolished in 1983 the constituency was largely replaced by Cunninghame South, with Troon and its surrounding area forming part of the Ayr constituency.

The constituency was re-established in 2005, centred around the historic burgh of Irvine which was designated in the 1970s as a Glasgow overspill new town. Irvine is among the most deprived parts of Scotland and made up mostly of social housing, with patches of suburban developments around Perceton, central Irvine and in parts of Girdle Toll. In recent local council elections the SNP have performed strongly in the town of Irvine. The affluent coastal towns of Prestwick and Troon join the town as part of the constituency as well as outlying rural areas located south and east of Troon and Prestwick: these areas have held a considerable level of support for Conservative candidates locally and as part of the Ayr constituency in the Scottish parliament. Labour, and more recently[when?] the SNP, have performed strongly in west Troon, south and east Prestwick and in the former Mossblown, Annbank and St. Quivox electoral ward. Heathfield in Ayr north also forms part of the constituency: this area is relatively small and has elected Labour councillors locally.

Since the 2005 general election aspects of the Ayr, Cunninghame South and Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituencies were grouped together to form the Central Ayrshire constituency: it takes up the majority of former the Cunninghame South constituency, around half of the former Ayr constituency and a group of villages which formed part of the former Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency. The constituency incorporates the 2007 electoral wards of Kilwinning (part: excludes the majority of the electoral ward west of the river Garnock and north of the B778, and B785: it effectively covers the south east of the town of Kilwinning and rural areas east of the river Lugton), Irvine West, Irvine East, Kyle, Troon, Prestwick, and the northern elements of the Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton electoral ward covering the stretch of the B744 from Belston to Annbank and the Auchincruive Agricultural College.[3] The constituency also cuts into the Ayr North electoral ward with its southern boundaries following Seaforth Road and Lochside Road to include part of Heathfield in Ayr.

The constituency overlaps the Scottish Parliamentary constituencies of Ayr, Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and Cunninghame South. The Ayr constituency has been represented by Conservative MSP John Scott since a by-election in 2000, marginally ahead of the SNP in second place. Cunninghame South is currently represented by SNP MSP Ruth Maguire, who sustained a significant majority of 22.1% of the vote at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election ahead of Labour's Joe Cullinane in second place.

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1950–1983[edit]

Election Member[4] Party
1950 Archie Manuel Labour
1955 Douglas Spencer-Nairn Unionist
1959 Archie Manuel Labour
1970 David Lambie Labour
February 1974
October 1974
1983 constituency abolished: see Ayr and Cunninghame South

MPs 2005–present[edit]

Election Member[4] Party Notes
2005 constituency created, see Ayr, Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and Cunninghame South
2005 Brian Donohoe Labour Previously MP for Cunninghame South
2015 Philippa Whitford Scottish National Party First female MP to represent Irvine


Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2015: Central Ayrshire[5][6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
SNP Philippa Whitford 26,999 53.2 +34.1
Labour Brian Donohoe 13,410 26.4 −21.3
Conservative Marc Hope[7] 8,803 17.3 −3.0
Liberal Democrat Gordon Bain[8] 917 1.8 -10.1
Scottish Green Veronika Tudhope[9] 645 1.3 N/A
Majority 13,589 26.8 n/a
Turnout 50,774 72.5 +8.3
SNP gain from Labour Swing +27.7
General Election 2010: Central Ayrshire[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Brian Donohoe 20,950 47.7 +1.3
Conservative Maurice Golden 8,943 20.4 −1.8
SNP John Mullen 8,364 19.0 +7.5
Liberal Democrat Andrew Chamberlain 5,236 11.9 -4.1
Socialist Labour James McDaid 422 1.0 −0.1
Majority 12,007 27.3
Turnout 43,915 64.2 +1.1
Labour hold Swing +1.5

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: Central Ayrshire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Brian Donohoe 19,905 46.4 −2.8
Conservative Garry Clark 9,482 22.1 −4.1
Liberal Democrat Iain Kennedy 6,881 16.1 +9.7
SNP Jahangir Hanif 4,969 11.6% −3.0
Scottish Socialist Denise Morton 820 1.9 −1.0
Socialist Labour Robert Cochrane 468 1.1 +0.5
UKIP Jim Groves 346 0.8 +0.7
Majority 10,423 24.3
Turnout 42,871 62.5 +1.0
Labour win (new seat)

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour David Lambie 27,438 51.13
Conservative R Wilkinson 15,734 29.32
SNP Ian Macdonald 5,596 10.43
Liberal I Clarkson 4,896 9.12
Majority 11,704 21.82
Turnout 79.75
Labour hold Swing
General Election October 1974: Central Ayrshire [12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour David Lambie 21,188 45.09
Conservative M. Carse 11,633 24.75
SNP L. Anderson 11,533 24.54
Liberal J. Watts 2,640 5.62
Majority 9,555 20.33
Turnout 79.28
Labour hold Swing
General Election February 1974: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour David Lambie 23,639 48.99
Conservative R Gavin 17,362 35.98
SNP L Anderson 7,255 15.03
Majority 6,277 13.01
Turnout 82.08
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1970: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour David Lambie 24,536 52.40
Conservative Ian Lang 19,569 41.79
SNP A MacDonald 2,383 5.09
Independent T Menzies 339 0.72
Majority 4,967 10.61
Turnout 80.56
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Archibald Manuel 24,035 57.68
Conservative John Corrie 17,637 42.32
Majority 6,398 15.35
Turnout 82.12
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1964: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Archibald Manuel 23,999 56.44
Conservative GR Rickman 18,523 43.56
Majority 5,476 12.88
Turnout 84.19
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Central Ayrshire[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Archibald Manuel 21,901 51.99
Unionist Douglas Spencer-Nairn 20,225 48.01
Majority 1,676 3.98
Turnout 86.69
Labour gain from Unionist Swing
General Election 1955: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist Douglas Spencer-Nairn 19,713 50.21
Labour Archibald Manuel 19,546 49.79
Majority 167 0.43
Turnout 83.33
Unionist gain from Labour Swing
General Election 1951: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Archibald Manuel 21,003 52.10
Unionist William Rankine Milligan 19,310 47.90
Majority 1,693 4.20
Turnout 86.26
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1950: Central Ayrshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Archibald Manuel 18,792 48.96
Unionist William Rankine Milligan 16,830 43.85
Liberal Charles Jack Coleman 2,760 7.19
Majority 1,962 5.11
Turnout 85.56
Labour hold Swing


  1. ^ "'Ayrshire Central', Feb 1974 - May 1983". ElectionWeb Project. Cognitive Computing Limited. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-02-24.  Boundary Commission for Scotland
  3. ^ [1][permanent dead link] Boundary Commission for Scotland
  4. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
  5. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  6. ^ http://www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/documents/central%20ayrshire%20results.pdf
  7. ^ "Marc Hope PPC for Central Ayrshire". South Ayrshire Conservatives. Archived from the original on 9 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "List of selected candidates". Liberal Democrats. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  9. ^ http://www.irvinetimes.com/news/kilwinning/articles/2015/01/15/521405-green-party-name-central-ayrshire-candidate/
  10. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  12. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1977
  13. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1963