Moray by-election, 2006

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A by-election in the Moray constituency of the Scottish Parliament was held on 27 April 2006 following the death of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Margaret Ewing on 21 March 2006, from breast cancer.[1] The seat was successfully defended by the SNP's Richard Lochhead, increasing the majority over the Scottish Conservative Party by 1073 votes.

Margaret Ewing had held the Holyrood seat since its creation in 1999, having previously represented the Moray constituency as a Westminster Member of Parliament (MP) since the United Kingdom general election, 1987. She had already announced that she would not be contesting the seat in the Scottish Parliament general election, 2007.[2]


Moray By-election 2006[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Richard Lochhead 12,653 46.15 +3.95
Conservative Mary Scanlon 6,268 22.86 +0.35
Liberal Democrats Linda Gorn 5,310 19.37 +7.20
Labour Sandy Keith 2,696 9.83 -9.28
NHSFirst Party Melville Brown 493 1.80 N/A
Majority 6,385 23.3 +3.6
Turnout 27,420 45.7 -0.6
SNP hold Swing +1.8

Notes on candidates[edit]

Richard Lochhead defended the seat for the Scottish National Party.[4] An additional-member MSP for the North East Scotland electoral region since 1999, he had already been selected to contest the seat for the SNP at the Scottish Parliament general election, 2007, beating the incumbent's sister-in-law, former MP Annabelle Ewing.[5] He resigned his list seat to stand in the by-election.

Mary Scanlon, a Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands region (which includes Moray), resigned from her list seat to fight as the Conservative candidate.[4] Any sitting MSP intending to fight the by-election must first resign their current seat under section 9 of the Scotland Act.

The Labour candidate was Elgin councillor Sandy Keith. He saw his party's vote share fall in the by-election, resulting in increases for all the other parties.

The Liberal Democrat candidate was Linda Gorn, came fourth when she fought the seat in 2003 but improved her performance substantially in the by-election, moving to third place not far behind the Conservative candidate and increasing her share of the vote more than any other candidate.

The Scottish Socialist Party announced that they would not be entering a candidate.[6] They decided that they, in common with the Scottish Green Party, will concentrate on campaigning for regional list votes (Additional member system) at the next Scottish Parliament general election, 2007.

Melville Brown, a former Conservative Party candidate for Edinburgh East, stood for the NHS First Party, the first time the party has contested an election. Brown is the party chairman.[7]

2003 election result[edit]

Scottish parliamentary election, 2003: Moray [8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
SNP Margaret Ewing 11,384 42.2 +3.4
Conservative Tim Wood 6,072 22.5 −3.1
Labour Peter Peacock 5,157 19.1 −7.4
Liberal Democrats Linda Gorn 3,283 12.2 +3.1
Scottish Socialist Norma Anderson 1,085 4.0 +4.0
Majority 5,312 19.7
Turnout 26,981 46.3
SNP hold Swing +3.3

Campaign controversies[edit]

The Conservative Party became embroiled in a row with local two local independent councillors. Handwritten notes were sent out in their wards allegedly from the councillors, but the councillors subsequently denied having given permission for the letters to be used.[9]

The following week, a local newspaper, the Northern Scot, reported the Liberal Democrats to the Electoral Commission for attributing quotes in leaflets to the newspaper itself rather than to the specific Liberal Democrats whom the paper had been quoting.[10]

Both of the above were given widespread coverage in the Northern Scot newspaper.

In the final week of the by-election, Robbie Rowantree, the Conservative Party candidate for the neighbouring UK Parliament constituency of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey in the 2005 general election, announced he was joining the Liberal Democrats.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reid names day for Holyrood by-election in Moray seat". The Scotsman. 2006-03-30. Retrieved 2006-03-30. 
  2. ^ "SNP veteran Margaret Ewing dies". BBC News. 2006-03-21. Retrieved 2006-03-21. 
  3. ^ "Election of Member to serve in the Scottish Parliament for the Moray constituency" (PDF). 2006-04-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-24. Retrieved 2006-05-12. 
  4. ^ a b "SNP's joy at by-election victory". BBC News. BBC. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Salmond closer to Holyrood return". BBC News. BBC. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Louise Gray (2006-04-05). "Four-way Moray by-election battle begins". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2006-04-06. 
  7. ^ "Five candidates to contest Moray". BBC News. 2006-04-10. Retrieved 2006-04-11. 
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS - VOTE 2003". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-03-21. 
  9. ^ Frank Urquhart (2006-04-15). "Police urged to investigate 'dishonest and deceitful' Tory election tactics". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2006-04-15. 
  10. ^ "Newspaper takes election action". BBC News. BBC. 21 April 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tory defector hits out at party". icDunbartonshire. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2006-04-24. 

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