Moray (UK Parliament constituency)

Coordinates: 57°30′43″N 3°14′53″W / 57.512°N 3.248°W / 57.512; -3.248
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Moray in Scotland
Subdivisions of ScotlandMoray
Major settlementsElgin, Forres, Keith
Current constituency
Member of ParliamentDouglas Ross (Conservative)
Created fromMoray & Nairn and Banffshire[1]

Moray (/ˈmʌri/ MURR-ee; Scots: Moray; Scottish Gaelic: Moireibh or Moireabh) is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

A rural constituency, Elgin is the main town, with the rest of the population sprinkled across several small fishing and farming communities.

The constituency voted against Scottish independence in a referendum held in 2014 on an above-average margin of 57.6% "No" 42.4% "Yes", and had the highest percentage for "Leave" of any council area in Scotland at the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum at 50.1% "Remain" 49.9% "Leave".[2]

Further to the completion of the 2023 Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies, the seat will be subject to boundary changes, losing eastern parts, including Buckie and Keith and expanding to the west, gaining Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey. As a consequence, it will be renamed Moray West, Nairn and Strathspey, to be first contested at the next general election.[3]


Map of current boundaries

1983–1997: Moray District.

1997–2005: The Moray District electoral divisions of Buckie, Burghsea, Elgin North East, Elgin South West, Ernedal, Innes-Heldon, Rathford-Lennox, and Speyside-Glenlivet.

2005–present: The Moray council area.

The constituency covers the whole of the Moray council area. Between 1997 and 2005, it covered a slightly smaller area. A similar constituency, also called Moray, is used for elections to the Scottish Parliament.

The seat is bordered by the constituencies of Banff and Buchan, Gordon, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.


The constituency was created in 1983 from parts of the former seats of Moray and Nairn, and Banffshire.[citation needed]

Constituency profile and voting patterns[edit]

Constituency profile[edit]

Houses in Lossiemouth.

Moray is an affluent rural constituency in the north-east of Scotland. The constituency follows the southern coastline of the Moray Firth between Cullen to the east and Dyke to the west, on the outskirts of Forres, and extends up towards the northern fringes of the Cairngorms National Park along the River Spey and its tributaries. The constituency also covers the River Lossie and its tributaries, and the lower reaches of the River Findhorn.

Agriculture, fishing, tourism and whisky distilling are important in the local economy. Along the north coast of Moray is a mixture of fishing towns and villages such as Lossiemouth, Portessie and Portknockie. Lossiemouth houses the RAF Lossiemouth Royal Air Force station, which is among the busiest and largest fast-jet stations in the Royal Air Force, and is an important source of employment for those living in the Laich of Moray between Elgin, Forres and Lossiemouth. On the eastern banks of the River Findhorn, 15 miles south-west of Lossiemouth, is the larger town of Forres, which is the site of Sueno's Stone, Brodie Castle and the Dallas Dhu Distillery.

There is a cluster of whisky distilleries along the River Spey and along the A941 corridor between Craigellachie and Moray's capital of Elgin. Elgin is Moray's largest town and the site of the Elgin Cathedral. It houses about 25% of Moray's population, and is often referred to as a city despite lacking official recognition. According to a 2006 survey conducted by HBOS, Elgin has among the highest property prices of any town in Scotland.

South and east of Elgin, the River Spey and areas east of the river historically belonged to the former county of Banffshire, while Moray instead incorporated parts of Nairn, which is today included in the Highland council area and in the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey parliamentary constituency. The upper reaches of the River Spey stretch down from mountainous terrain in the south to still thinly populated rolling plains. Rural communities in this region predominantly rely upon tourism, whisky distilling and agriculture for employment. In the north-east of Moray, Buckie is a prominent fishing port.

Oil also forms a substantial part of the local economy: over 10% of Moray's population commute to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, primarily working in the oil and gas industry.[citation needed]

Voting patterns[edit]

Historically Moray was predominantly represented by the Conservative Party. The constituency's predecessor seats of Banffshire and Moray and Nairn were represented by the Conservatives almost continuously from the 1935 general election until both seats were abolished to form Moray in 1983, with the electorate briefly voting SNP at the February and October general elections in 1974. When the Moray constituency was first established in 1983, it elected Alexander Pollock of the Conservatives as MP with a 1,713 (4.0%) majority, but the SNP's Margaret Ewing won the seat at the following general election in 1987, alongside neighbouring Banff and Buchan as part of a wider breakthrough for the SNP in the north-east of Scotland.

The constituency was a Conservative-SNP marginal until Labour's landslide victory in 1997, when Margaret Ewing doubled her majority to 5,566 (14.0%). Labour made a breakthrough in the constituency at the 2001 general election when Margaret Ewing retired to be replaced by Angus Robertson: Labour came ahead of the Conservatives for the first time, but the SNP beat them by 1,744 votes (5.2%); however the seat reverted to a SNP-Conservative battle from the 2005 general election onwards. Angus Robertson increased his majority at the 2005 general election; it was reduced slightly in 2010 before increasing again in 2015.

At the 2015 general election, the Conservatives had their best result in the constituency since 1997; Moray was their strongest vote increase in the whole of Scotland. The equivalent Scottish Parliamentary constituency of Moray was thought of as very safe for the SNP since the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, however in 2016 the SNP's majority in the constituency was cut by the Conservatives from 10,944 (38.3%) to 2,875 (8.6%).

In the 2017 Moray Council election, the Conservatives were for the first time the largest party by votes cast in Moray; they had the highest first-preference votes in five electoral wards. The party were ahead in all wards in the more densely populated north-west of the council area, an area known as the Laich of Moray, covering the towns of Elgin, Forres, Lossiemouth, Burghead, Hopeman and Lhanbryde; whilst the SNP were ahead in the three electoral wards covering Buckie, Cullen, Keith and Speyside.

Douglas Ross gained the seat for the Conservative Party at the 2017 snap election, securing 22,637 votes (47.5%), ahead of the sitting SNP MP Angus Robertson's 18,478 votes (38.8%). Robertson's loss was one of the high-profile losses for the Scottish National Party at the 2017 general election; the other major loss being former SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond losing his Gordon seat to Colin Clark of the Conservatives. In a profile of the seat for The Guardian after the election, journalist Severin Carrell summarised the result: "Moray had been an SNP seat for 30 years but... using Brexit as the basis for a second independence vote so soon after 2014 crystallised an irritation with the party brewing for several years. The Tory cry that Sturgeon needed “to get on with the day job” resonated."[4]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member[5] Party
1983 Alex Pollock Conservative
1987 Margaret Ewing SNP
2001 Angus Robertson SNP
2017 Douglas Ross Conservative

Election results[edit]

Elections in the 2010s[edit]

General election 2019: Moray[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Douglas Ross 22,112 45.3 −2.2
SNP Laura Mitchell 21,599 44.2 +5.4
Labour Jo Kirby 2,432 5.0 −5.9
Liberal Democrats Fiona Campbell-Trevor 2,269 4.6 +2.3
UKIP Rob Scorer 413 0.8 New
Majority 513 1.1 −7.6
Turnout 48,835 68.7 +1.3
Conservative hold Swing −3.9
General election 2017: Moray[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Douglas Ross 22,637 47.5 +16.4
SNP Angus Robertson 18,478 38.8 −10.7
Labour Joanne Kirby 5,208 10.9 +1.0
Liberal Democrats Alex Linklater 1,078 2.3 −0.5
Independent Anne Glen 204 0.4 New
Majority 4,159 8.7 N/A
Turnout 47,605 67.4 −1.3
Conservative gain from SNP Swing +13.6
General election 2015: Moray[8][9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 24,384 49.5 +9.8
Conservative Douglas Ross 15,319 31.1 +5.0
Labour Sean Morton 4,898 9.9 −7.2
UKIP Robert Scorer 1,939 3.9 +1.3
Liberal Democrats Jamie Paterson 1,395 2.8 −11.7
Scottish Green James MacKessack-Leitch 1,345 2.7 New
Majority 9,065 18.4 +4.8
Turnout 49,280 68.7 +6.5
SNP hold Swing +2.4
General election 2010: Moray[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 16,273 39.7 +3.1
Conservative Douglas Ross 10,683 26.1 +4.1
Labour Kieron Green 7,007 17.1 −3.3
Liberal Democrats James Paterson 5,956 14.5 −4.7
UKIP Donald Gatt 1,085 2.6 New
Majority 5,590 13.6 −1.0
Turnout 41,004 62.2 +3.8
SNP hold Swing −0.5

Elections in the 2000s[edit]

General election 2005: Moray[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 14,196 36.6 +7.2
Conservative Jamie Halcro-Johnston 8,520 22.0 −0.9
Labour Kevin Hutchens 7,919 20.4 −3.9
Liberal Democrats Linda J. Gorn 7,460 19.2 +1.2
Scottish Socialist Norma Anderson 698 1.8 −0.6
Majority 5,676 14.6 +9.4
Turnout 38,793 58.4 +1.2
SNP hold Swing +4.1
General election 2001: Moray[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Angus Robertson 10,076 30.3 −11.3
Labour Catriona M. Munro 8,332 25.1 +5.3
Conservative Frank Spencer-Nairn 7,677 23.1 −4.5
Liberal Democrats Linda J. Gorn 5,224 15.7 +6.8
Scottish Socialist Norma C. Anderson 821 2.5 New
Independent Bill Jappy 802 2.4 New
UKIP Nigel Kenyon 291 0.9 New
Majority 1,744 5.2 -8.8
Turnout 33,223 57.4 −10.8
SNP hold Swing

Elections in the 1990s[edit]

General election 1997: Moray[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Margaret Ewing 16,529 41.6 -2.7
Conservative Andrew J. Findlay 10,963 27.6 -11.5
Labour Lewis Macdonald 7,886 19.8 +7.9
Liberal Democrats Debra M. Storr 3,548 8.9 +3.2
Referendum Paddy Mieklejohn 840 2.1 New
Majority 5,566 14.0 +7.8
Turnout 39,766 68.2 −4.5
SNP hold Swing +3.5
General election 1992: Moray[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Margaret Ewing 20,299 44.3 +1.1
Conservative Roma L. Hossack 17,455 38.1 +3.1
Labour Conal Smith 5,448 11.9 +0.6
Liberal Democrats Brinsley Sheridan 2,634 5.7 −4.8
Majority 2,844 6.2 -2.0
Turnout 45,836 73.2 +0.6
SNP hold Swing +0.9

Elections in the 1980s[edit]

General election 1987: Moray[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Margaret Ewing 19,510 43.2 +8.0
Conservative Alexander Pollock 15,825 35.0 −4.2
Labour Conal Smith 5,118 11.3 +4.0
Liberal Danus Skene 4,724 10.5 −7.8
Majority 3,685 8.2 N/A
Turnout 45,177 72.6 +1.5
SNP gain from Conservative Swing +6.1
General election 1983: Moray[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Alexander Pollock 16,944 39.2 0.0
SNP Hamish Watt 15,231 35.2 -3.4
Liberal Michael Burnett 7,901 18.3 +5.9
Labour Jim Kiddie 3,139 7.3 -2.5
Majority 1,713 4.0 '+3.4
Turnout 43,215 71.1
Conservative win (new seat)


  1. ^ "'Moray', June 1983 up to May 1997". ElectionWeb Project. Cognitive Computing Limited. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  2. ^ Razaq, Lindsay (14 November 2018). "Changing attitudes to Brexit in north-east, report claims". Press and Journal. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  3. ^ Boundary Commission Scotland 2023 Review Report
  4. ^ Carrell, Severin (27 June 2017). "Moray: 'We are fed up with the SNP. It's as simple as that'" – via
  5. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "M" (part 3)
  6. ^ "Moray parliamentary constituency - Election 2019 - BBC News". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  7. ^ "UKPGE notice of poll" (PDF). The Moray Council.
  8. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  9. ^ "8Aug15" (PDF).
  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. ^ "Election Data 2001". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Election Data 1997". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Election Data 1992". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Election Data 1987". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Election Data 1983". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Constituency represented by the Leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster
Succeeded by
Preceded by Constituency represented by the Leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster
Succeeded by

57°30′43″N 3°14′53″W / 57.512°N 3.248°W / 57.512; -3.248