Gordon (UK Parliament constituency)

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Coordinates: 56°58′08″N 3°10′41″W / 56.969°N 3.178°W / 56.969; -3.178

County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Gordon in Scotland
Subdivisions of ScotlandAberdeenshire and City of Aberdeen
Major settlementsDyce, Huntly, Insch, Inverurie
Current constituency
Member of ParliamentRichard Thomson (SNP)
Created fromEast Aberdeenshire and West Aberdeenshire[1]

Gordon is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster), which elects one member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The constituency first returned a member in the 1983 general election, but has undergone boundary changes since that date.

The constituency has been represented since 12 December 2019 by Richard Thomson of the Scottish National Party.


Map of current boundaries

1983–1997: Gordon District, and the City of Aberdeen District electoral divisions of East Don and West Don.

1997–2005: The Gordon District electoral divisions of East Gordon, Formartine, Garioch, Inverurie, Kintore and Newmachar, and West Gordon, the Banff and Buchan District electoral division of Lower Deveron and Upper Ythan, and the Moray District electoral division of Keith-Strathisla.

2005–present: The Aberdeenshire Council wards of Tarves, Ythan, Ellon Town, Logie Buchan, Meldrum, Udny-Slains, Belhelvie, Insch, Chapel and Gadie, Inverurie North, Inverurie Central, Inverurie South and Port Elphinstone, Kintore and Keithhall, Newmachar and Fintray, Huntly West, Huntly East, and Strathbogie, and the Aberdeen City Council wards of Pitmedden, Bankhead/Stoneywood, Danestone, Jesmond, Oldmachar, and Bridge of Don.

New boundaries were used for the 2005 general election. Prior to that election the constituency covered a central portion of the Aberdeenshire council area and a small eastern portion of the Moray council area. As a result of the 2005 boundary changes, in accordance with the Fifth Periodical Report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland,[2] the Gordon constituency is now one of five covering the Aberdeenshire council area and the Aberdeen City council area.

The Gordon constituency now covers a central portion of the Aberdeenshire area and a northern portion of the Aberdeen City area. Entirely within the Aberdeenshire area, there is also Banff and Buchan, to the north of Gordon, and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, to the south. Entirely within the Aberdeen City area, there is also Aberdeen North, to the south of Gordon, and Aberdeen South, further south.

The towns of Ellon, Huntly and Inverurie remain within the constituency.

Keith (within the Moray council area) was transferred to the Moray constituency, Turriff was transferred to the Banff and Buchan constituency, and Kemnay and Westhill were transferred to the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency.

The Bridge of Don and Dyce areas (within the Aberdeen City council area) were transferred to the Gordon constituency from the Aberdeen North constituency.

Constituency profile and voting patterns[edit]

Gordon Square, Huntly.

Constituency profile[edit]

An affluent, semi-rural constituency spanning across central Aberdeenshire and northern Aberdeen, the Gordon constituency is among the least deprived and highest-earning seats in Scotland,[3][4] with a high proportion of skilled and professional workers.[5]

The constituency covers the A90 and A96 corridors in Aberdeenshire north of Aberdeen, covering the towns of Huntly, Inverurie and Kintore situated along the Valleys of the River Don in the region of Garioch, and the towns of Ellon and Oldmeldrum in Formartine. The boundaries of the constituency stretch south into Aberdeen to the south-east, to cover the city's northern suburbs of Bankhead, Bridge of Don, Danestone and Dyce.

Oil, agriculture and tourism form an important part of the local economy, with most of the constituency's settlements around Aberdeen serving as commuter territory for the city, including the towns of Inverurie and Kintore and the villages of Balmedie and Newmachar, where there is rapid population growth, with many areas seeing their population double within the last decade. Various energy companies have representations in Dyce and Bridge of Don, among which are EMS Oil and GE Oil and Gas. The constituency also covers Aberdeen International Airport in Dyce, Scotland's third-busiest airport by passenger numbers. Huntly, approximately 40 miles north-west of Aberdeen, is the historic home of the Gordon Highlanders regiment and is the site of Huntly Castle, the ancestral home of the chief of Clan Gordon. Huntly is also the headquarters of Dean's bakers, who produce shortbread. Ellon, approximately 16 miles north of Aberdeen, is a coastal resort sitting on the mouth of the River Ythan. On the outskirts of the town is a brewery owned by BrewDog.

Voting patterns[edit]

In the UK Parliament, Gordon was traditionally a Liberal-Conservative marginal. The constituency's predecessor seats of East Aberdeenshire and West Aberdeenshire were previously represented by the Conservatives. When Gordon was first formed in 1983, it was narrowly won by Malcolm Bruce of the Liberals, with a slender majority of 850 votes. Bruce subsequently increased his majority tenfold in 1987, before seeing it cut to just 274 in 1992, in new boundaries which benefited the Conservative Party. Since the Conservatives' landslide defeat in 1997, Gordon had returned Bruce of the Liberal Democrats with an increasing strong majority until Richard Thomson of the Scottish National Party cut his majority down by nearly 4,000 votes in 2010. In the nationwide SNP landslide victory in 2015, Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland and SNP Leader, gained the seat for the SNP with a majority of 8,687 votes ahead of the Liberal Democrats; with Bruce standing down. Salmond previously represented the coterminous Gordon constituency in the Scottish Parliament from 2007 until his retirement from the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

In the Scottish Parliament, Gordon was first represented by Nora Radcliffe of the Liberal Democrats in 1999. The constituency was a three-way marginal between the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and SNP. Alex Salmond gained the constituency in 2007 with a 2,000 majority, increasing it to over 15,000 votes in 2011. More recently the Conservatives have made a strong comeback in Gordon, gaining the overlapping Aberdeenshire West constituency in 2016, and coming second behind the SNP in the overlapping constituencies of Aberdeen Donside and Aberdeenshire East.

At the 2016 European Union membership referendum, the Gordon constituency is estimated to have voted to Remain within the European Union on a margin of 55.5% Remain 44.5% Leave, an above-average Leave vote relative to the rest of Scotland.

The Scottish Conservatives took the most votes in the area at the 2017 local council elections, prompting party leader Ruth Davidson to say on a visit to Inverurie that "We won the local government election in Gordon this week, beating the SNP into second place. It means that in this seat, as in many others, it is a two-horse race between us and the [Scottish] Nationalists."[6] In response to Davidson's comments, the SNP MP for Gordon at the time, Alex Salmond said: “It’s just arrogance, for Ruth Davidson to continue the line of ‘we’re going to take this seat, and we’re going to take that seat’. Once it doesn't happen, it's very bad news for Ruth Davidson's credibility.”[7]

Salmond was later unseated by Conservative Colin Clark at the 2017 snap election on 8 June. The swing to the Conservatives was 20.4%, the party's largest swing in the whole of Britain. The defeat of Salmond was a bitter blow to SNP activists in the North East who characterised it to The Guardian as, “So disrespectful”, “How could local people do that to him?”[8]

However, in the 2019 election, Richard Thomson narrowly regained the seat for the SNP with a majority of 819 (1.4%), meaning the seat remains an SNP-Conservative marginal.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[9] Party
1983 Sir Malcolm Bruce Liberal
1988 Liberal Democrat
2015 Alex Salmond SNP
2017 Colin Clark Conservative
2019 Richard Thomson SNP

Election results[edit]

Gordon election results

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General election 2019: Gordon[10][11][12][13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Richard Thomson 23,885 42.7 +6.8
Conservative Colin Clark 23,066 41.3 +0.6
Liberal Democrats James Oates 5,913 10.6 −1.0
Labour Heather Herbert 3,052 5.5 −6.3
Majority 819 1.4 N/A
Turnout 55,916 70.2 +1.8
SNP gain from Conservative Swing +3.2
General election 2017: Gordon[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Colin Clark 21,861 40.7 +29.0
SNP Alex Salmond[15] 19,254 35.9 −11.8
Labour Kirsten Muat[16] 6,340 11.8 +5.9
Liberal Democrats David Evans[17] 6,230 11.6 −21.1
Majority 2,607 4.8 N/A
Turnout 53,740 68.4 −4.9
Conservative gain from SNP Swing +20.4

This was the largest swing towards the Conservatives within the United Kingdom at the 2017 general election.

General election 2015: Gordon[18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Alex Salmond[19] 27,717 47.7 +25.5
Liberal Democrats Christine Jardine 19,030 32.7 −3.3
Conservative Colin Clark 6,807 11.7 −7.0
Labour Braden Davy 3,441 5.9 −14.2
UKIP Emily Santos[20] 1,166 2.0 New
Majority 8,687 15.0 N/A
Turnout 58,161 73.3 +6.9
SNP gain from Liberal Democrats Swing +14.4
General election 2010: Gordon[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce 17,575 36.0 −9.0
SNP Richard Thomson 10,827 22.2 +6.2
Labour Barney Crockett 9,811 20.1 −0.1
Conservative Ross Thomson 9,111 18.7 +1.1
Green Sue Edwards 752 1.5 New
BNP Elise Jones 699 1.4 New
Majority 6,748 13.8 −9.0
Turnout 48,755 66.4 +4.6
Liberal Democrats hold Swing −7.6

Elections of the 2000s[edit]

General election 2005: Gordon[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce 20,008 45.0 +6.2
Labour Iain Brotchie 8,982 20.2 −1.3
Conservative Philip Atkinson 7,842 17.6 −1.4
SNP Joanna Strathdee 7,098 16.0 −3.3
Scottish Socialist Tommy Paterson 508 1.1 −0.4
Majority 11,026 24.8 +19.9
Turnout 44,438 61.8 +5.2
Liberal Democrats hold Swing +3.8

Before the 2005 general election, Scotland went through major boundary changes.

General election 2001: Gordon[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce 17,928 48.5 +5.9
Conservative Nanette Milne 8,049 21.8 −4.2
SNP Rhona Kemp 5,760 15.6 −4.4
Labour Ellis Thorpe 4,730 12.8 +2.5
Scottish Socialist John Sangster 534 1.4 New
Majority 9,879 27.7 +11.1
Turnout 35,001 58.3 −13.6
Liberal Democrats hold Swing

Elections of the 1990s[edit]

General election 1997: Gordon[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce 17,999 42.6 +15.4 [25]
Conservative John Porter 11,002 26.0 −22.0
SNP Richard Lochhead 8,435 20.0 +1.4
Labour Lindsey Kirkhill 4,350 10.3 +4.0
Referendum Fred Pidcock 459 1.1 New
Majority 6,997 16.6 +16.1
Turnout 42,245 71.9 −2.4
Liberal Democrats win
Notional general election of 1992[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative 19,596 48.0
Liberal Democrats 11,110 27.2
SNP 7,593 18.6
Labour 2,561 6.3
Majority 8,486 20.8
General election 1992: Gordon[27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce 22,158 37.4 −12.0
Conservative John Porter 21,884 37.0 +5.1
SNP Brian Adam 8,445 14.3 +7.1
Labour Peter Morrell 6,682 11.3 −0.2
Majority 274 0.4 -17.1
Turnout 59,169 74.3 +0.6
Liberal Democrats hold Swing

Elections of the 1980s[edit]

General election 1987: Gordon[28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Malcolm Bruce 26,770 49.4 +5.6
Conservative Peter Leckie 17,251 31.9 −10.1
Labour Morag Morrell 6,228 11.5 +3.0
SNP George Wright 3,876 7.2 +1.5
Majority 9,519 17.5 +15.7
Turnout 54,125 73.7 +3.6
Liberal hold Swing
General election 1983: Gordon[29]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Malcolm Bruce 20,134 43.8 +13.1
Conservative James Cran 19,284 42.0 +0.2
Labour George Grant 3,899 8.5 −5.7
SNP Kenneth Guild 2,636 5.7 −7.6
Majority 850 1.8 N/A
Turnout 45,953 70.1 N/A
Liberal win (new seat)


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  2. ^ "Fifth Periodical Review". Boundary Commission for Scotland. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007.
  3. ^ "SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) 2016".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  7. ^ "Alex Salmond: 'arrogant' Ruth Davidson's bubble has burst". www.scotsman.com.
  8. ^ Carrell, Severin (27 June 2017). "Moray: 'We are fed up with the SNP. It's as simple as that'". The Guardian.
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  11. ^ "Gordon parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". Retrieved 15 December 2019.
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  15. ^ "General Election: SNP reselects 54 MPs". www.scotsman.com. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  16. ^ "General Election 2017 Candidates". www.scottishlabour.org.uk. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Lib Dems announce candidate to stand against Alex Salmond". Press and Journal.
  18. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond announces he is to stand for UK Parliament". BBC News. 7 December 2014.
  20. ^ "UK Polling Report". ukpollingreport.co.uk.
  21. ^ "Election Data 2010". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Election Data 2005". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  25. ^ "General Election Results, 1 May 1997" (PDF). House of Commons Library. 1998. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Media Guide to the New Parliament Constituencies", compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre, 1995, p. 87
  27. ^ "Election Data 1992". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  28. ^ "Election Data 1987". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Election Data 1983". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.