East Dunbartonshire (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 55°58′34″N 4°12′40″W / 55.976°N 4.211°W / 55.976; -4.211

East Dunbartonshire
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of East Dunbartonshire in Scotland.
Local government in EastDunbartonshire East Dunbartonshire
Current constituency
Created 2005
Member of parliament Jo Swinson (Liberal Democrat)
Number of members One
Created from Strathkelvin & Bearsden
Clydebank & Milngavie
Coatbridge & Chryston
Number of members One
Type of constituency County constituency
Replaced by Strathkelvin & Bearsden and Cumbernauld and Kilsyth[1]
Created from Dunbartonshire
Dumbarton Burghs
European Parliament constituency Scotland

East Dunbartonshire is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster). It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The current MP for East Dunbartonshire is Jo Swinson.

The current constituency was first used at the 2005 general election. There was also an earlier East Dunbartonshire constituency, from 1950-83.


Council areas
grouped by the Fifth Periodical Review
East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire.png
East Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire


The existing constituency was created as a result of the Fifth Periodical Review of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, as one of two covering the East Dunbartonshire council area and one of five covering the East Dunbartonshire council area and the North Lanarkshire council area.[2]

The East Dunbartonshire constituency is entirely within the East Dunbartonshire council area, and the rest of the council area is covered by the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency, which also covers part of the North Lanarkshire council area. The rest of the North Lanarkshire area is covered by the Airdrie and Shotts, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, and Motherwell and Wishaw constituencies.[2]

The East Dunbartonshire constituency replaced most of the Strathkelvin and Bearsden constituency and some of the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency and some of the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency.[2]

The Fifth Periodical Review did not affect the boundaries of Scottish Parliament constituencies, which retain the boundaries of Westminster constituencies prior to implementation of the results of the review.


The historic constituency was created under the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949, and first used in the 1950 general election.[3]

As created in 1950, the constituency was one of two covering the county of Dunbarton. The other was West Dunbartonshire. The two new constituencies replaced the earlier constituencies of Dunbartonshire and Dumbarton Burghs.[3]

East Dunbartonshire covered the Cumbernauld, Kirkintilloch, and New Kilpatrick districts of the county and the burghs of Clydebank, Kirkintilloch, and Milngavie.[3]

For the 1951 general election the constituency boundaries were adjusted to take account of a change to the boundaries of the burgh of Clydebank.[3]

The results of the First Periodical Review of the Boundary Commission were implemented for the 1955 general election, but there was no change to the boundaries of East Dunbartonshire, and the boundaries of 1951 and 1955 were used also in the general elections of 1959, 1964, 1966 and 1970.[3]

The results of the Second Periodical Review were implemented for the February 1974 general election. The review took account of population growth in the county of Dunbarton, caused by overspill from the city of Glasgow into the new town of Cumbernauld and elsewhere,[citation needed] and East Dunbartonshire became one of three constituencies covering the county. East Dunbartonshire now covered the Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld districts of the county and the burghs of Bearsden, Cumbernauld, and Kirkintilloch, but it lost Clydebank and Milngavie to the new constituency of Central Dunbartonshire. These boundaries were used also for the general elections of October 1974 and 1979.[citation needed]

In 1975, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, Scottish counties were abolished in favour of regions and districts and islands council areas, and the county of Dunbarton was divided between several districts of the new region of Strathclyde. The Third Periodical Review took account of new local government boundaries, and the results were implemented for the 1983 general election.[citation needed]

Members of Parliament[edit]

MPs 1950–1983[edit]

Election Member[4] Party
1950 David Kirkwood Labour
1951 Cyril Bence Labour
1970 Hugh McCartney Labour
Feb 1974 Barry Henderson Conservative
Oct 1974 Margaret Bain SNP
1979 Norman Hogg Labour
1983 constituency abolished

MPs since 2005[edit]

Election Member[4] Party
2005 constituency recreated
2005 Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat
2015 John Nicolson SNP
2017 Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat

Election results[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General Election 2017: East Dunbartonshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 21,023 40.6 +4.3
SNP John Nicolson 15,684 30.3 -10.0
Conservative Sheila Mechan 7,563 14.6 +6.0
Labour Callum McNally 7,531 14.5 +2.2
Majority 5,339 10.3 N/A
Turnout 51,801 78.8 -3.1
Liberal Democrats gain from SNP Swing
General Election 2015: East Dunbartonshire[6][7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
SNP John Nicolson 22,093 40.3 +29.8
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 19,926 36.3 -2.4
Labour Amanjit Jhund 6,754 12.3 −21.8
Conservative Andrew Polson 4,727 8.6 −6.9
Scottish Green Ross Greer 804 1.5 N/A
UKIP Wilfred Arasaratnam 567 1.0 −0.1
Majority 2,167 4.0 N/A
Turnout 54,871 81.91 +6.7
SNP gain from Liberal Democrat Swing +16.0

1 This was the highest turnout in the May 2015 General Election.[8]

General Election 2010: East Dunbartonshire[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 18,551 38.7 −3.1
Labour Mary Galbraith 16,367 34.1 +1.0
Conservative Mark Nolan 7,431 15.5 −1.0
SNP Iain White 5,054 10.5 +4.7
UKIP James Beeley 545 1.1 +1.1
Majority 2,184 4.6
Turnout 47,948 75.2 +2.1
Liberal Democrats hold Swing −2.1

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General Election 2005: East Dunbartonshire[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson 19,533 41.8 +14.7
Labour John Lyons 15,472 33.1 −0.2
Conservative David Jack 7,708 16.5 −6.0
SNP Chris Sagan 2,716 5.8 −8.9
Scottish Green Stuart Callison 876 1.9 +1.9
Scottish Socialist Pamela Page 419 0.9 −1.5
Majority 4,061 8.7
Turnout 46,724 73.1 +10.1
Liberal Democrats gain from Labour Swing +7.4

The constituency of 1950 to 1983 has an unusual electoral history, in that in two consecutive general elections it was gained by the party in third place at the previous election. In October 1974 the SNP leapfrogged Labour to defeat the Conservatives, and in 1979 Labour leapfrogged the Conservatives to beat the SNP. Furthermore, the constituency went the opposite way to the nation in two consecutive changes of government. In February 1974, the Conservatives gained it from Labour, though losing nationally, while in 1979 Labour regained the seat from the SNP, though losing nationally. Apart from Ynys Môn in Wales, East Dunbartonshire is the only seat to have been represented by the three main parties and the nationalists.

Elections in the 1970s[edit]

General Election 1979: East Dunbartonshire[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Norman Hogg 23,268 37.9 +7.6
Conservative Michael Hirst 20,944 34.1 +1.9
SNP Margaret Bain 12,654 20.6 −10.6
Liberal R Waddell 4,600 7.5 +0.2
Majority 2,324 3.8
Turnout 61,466 83.9
Labour gain from SNP Swing

The October 1974 result was particularly unusual since it produced both the smallest majority in the country at that election, and the closest three-way result since 1945.

General Election October 1974: East Dunbartonshire[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
SNP Margaret Bain 15,551 31.2 +8.9
Conservative Barry Henderson 15,529 31.2 −5.5
Labour Edward McGarry 15,122 30.3 +0.7
Liberal J.A. Thompson 3,636 7.3 −4.1
Majority 22 0.0
Turnout 49,838 80.6 −4.4
SNP gain from Conservative Swing
General Election February 1974: East Dunbartonshire
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Barry Henderson 19,092 36.7 −0.3
Labour Edward McGarry 15,416 29.6 −15.0
SNP Margaret Bain 11,635 22.3 +11.0
Liberal J. Cameron 5,936 11.4 +6.6
Majority 3,676 7.1
Turnout 52,079 85.0
Conservative gain from Labour Swing
General Election 1970: Dunbartonshire East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Hugh McCartney 32,527 44.6
Conservative Barry Henderson 26,972 37.0
SNP Gordon Murray 8,257 11.3
Liberal James G Brown 3,460 4.8
Communist Jimmy Reid 1,656 2.3
Majority 5,555 7.6
Turnout 72,872 77.6
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1960s[edit]

General Election 1966: Dunbartonshire East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Cyril Bence 32,988 52.15
Conservative Kenneth B Miller 23,001 36.36
SNP William Johnston 5,715 9.04
Communist Jimmy Reid 1,548 2.45
Majority 9,987 15.79
Turnout 80.62
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1964: Dunbartonshire East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Cyril Bence 32,948 55.60
Unionist T Warren Strachan 25,137 42.42
Communist Jimmy Reid 1,171 1.98
Majority 7,811 13.18
Turnout 81.70
Labour hold Swing

Elections in the 1950s[edit]

General Election 1959: Dunbartonshire East[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Cyril Bence 27,942 51.05
Unionist David Anderson 24,593 44.93
Communist Arnold E Henderson 2,200 4.02
Majority 3,349 6.12
Turnout 84.26
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1955: Dunbartonshire East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Cyril Bence 24,216 48.68
Unionist Norman Macleod Glen 23,086 46.40
Communist Arnold E Henderson 2,448 4.92
Majority 1,130 2.27
Turnout 81.55
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1951: Dunbartonshire East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Cyril Bence 26,678 51.22
Unionist William Whitelaw 23,252 44.64
Communist Arnold E Henderson 2,158 4.14
Majority 3,426 6.58
Turnout 86.83
Labour hold Swing
General Election 1950: Dunbartonshire East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour David Kirkwood 25,943 52.7 N/A
Unionist William Whitelaw 21,367 43.4 N/A
Liberal Charles E Forrester 1,952 4.0 N/A
Majority 4,576 9.3 N/A
Turnout 49,262 86.0 N/A
Labour win (new seat)

Notes and references[edit]