United Kingdom general election, 2017 (Scotland)

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United Kingdom general election, 2017

← 2015 8 June 2017 (2017-06-08) Next →

All 59 Scottish seats to the House of Commons
Turnout 66.4%, Decrease4.7%

  First party Second party
  Official portrait of Nicola Sturgeon (cropped 3).jpg Theresa May Official.jpg
Leader Nicola Sturgeon Theresa May
Party SNP Conservative
Leader since 14 November 2014 11 July 2016
Last election 56 seats, 50.0% 1 seat, 14.9%
Seats before 54 1
Seats won 35 13
Seat change Decrease21 Increase12
Popular vote 977,569 757,949
Percentage 36.9% 28.6%
Swing Decrease13.1% Increase13.7%

  Third party Fourth party
  Official portrait of Jeremy Corbyn crop 2.jpg Tim Farron 2016 (cropped).jpg
Leader Jeremy Corbyn Tim Farron
Party Labour Liberal Democrat
Leader since 12 September 2015 16 July 2015
Last election 1 seat, 24.3% 1 seat, 7.5%
Seats before 1 1
Seats won 7 4
Seat change Increase6 Increase3
Popular vote 717,007 179,061
Percentage 27.1% 6.8%
Swing Increase2.8% Decrease0.8%

Colours on map indicate winning party for each constituency

The 2017 United Kingdom general election in Scotland was held on 8 June 2017 and all 59 seats were contested under the first-past-the-post electoral system.

The general election in Scotland was fought in the aftermath of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election in which the SNP won a third term in government but failed to secure an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament. At that election the Scottish Conservative Party increased their number of MSPs, overtaking Labour as the largest opposition party. The 2016 EU referendum was held a month later and the final result was for Britain to leave the EU, despite Scotland voting 62.0% remain. Negotiations are due to shortly since invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in March 2017, which was expected to dominate the election campaign.[1]

In line with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, an election had not been due until 7 May 2020, but a call for a snap election by Prime Minister Theresa May received the necessary two-thirds majority in a 522 to 13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017.[2] The Conservative Party, which has governed since 2015, was defending a majority of 17[3] against the Labour Party, the official opposition. The third-largest party was the Scottish National Party, which won 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies in 2015.

The election resulted in the SNP remaining the largest party despite losing 21 seats, retaining 35 of the 56 seats won two years earlier. The Conservatives doubled their share of vote and won 13 seats while Labour and the Liberal Democrats took 7 and 4 seats respectively. The Conservatives recorded their best result in Scotland since 1983 (in terms of seats won) or 1979 (in terms of share of the popular vote). Until this election, the Conservatives had not been the second largest party in Scotland since 1992 and had not been the largest unionist party in Scotland since 1955.

Defeated SNP MPs included former SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond,[4] SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson,[5] SNP Chief Whip Mike Weir;[6] as well as John Nicolson[7] and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.[8] Commentators suggested that the election might reduce the SNP's case for a second referendum on Scottish independence.[9][10][11] Following the election, the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon acknowledged that her party's plans for a second referendum were 'undoubtedly' a factor in the election results. The SNP also abandoned its fundraiser for a possible referendum after raising half of its £1m target, just over a week before its preset deadline.[12]

Political context[edit]

Following a referendum held on Scottish independence in 2014 which saw 44.7% of voters in Scotland vote for Scotland to become an independent state and 55.3% vote for Scotland to remain a part of the United Kingdom, the SNP won 56 of the 59 UK Parliamentary seats in Scotland at the 2015 UK general election, campaigning on a manifesto focusing on bringing greater devolved powers to Scotland following a promise made by the three main unionist parties in Scotland to bring more devolved powers to the country should it reject independence.[13] The SNP manifesto at the 2015 general election repeatedly stated that "The SNP will always support independence - but that is not what this election is about".[13]

Labour only returned one MP in Edinburgh South, a reduction of 40 compared to the previous election. The party lost out heavily to the SNP in working class areas around central Scotland, with Scottish Labour's safest constituency (Glasgow North East) returning the largest swing in the election at 39.3% from Labour to SNP. The party performed best in its more affluent constituencies, with Scottish Labour's leader Jim Murphy missing out in his former constituency of East Renfrewshire by just 6.6% of the vote. Labour's next closest constituency result came in Edinburgh North and Leith, where they missed out to the SNP by 9.6% of the vote, and in East Lothian, where the SNP polled ahead of Labour by 11.5% of the vote.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats lost 10 of their 11 Westminster constituencies from 2010, with its safest constituency in Great Britain - Orkney and Shetland - becoming the only Liberal Democrat constituency in Scotland. They marginally lost out to the SNP in East Dunbartonshire, where former Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson lost out to the SNP by 4% of the vote. Among those to lose their constituency at the election were former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. The Liberal Democrats came third in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, constituencies which they had held in the previous election.

The Scottish Conservative Party has not held a majority of Scottish seats in a general election since 1955 and it lost all eleven of its seats in the election of 1997. Since 2001, the party had only held one Westminster seat in Scotland. In 2005, following the re-organisation of Scottish constituencies, that seat was Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, a mostly rural constituency near the Scottish borders. In 2015 its share of the vote in Scotland decreased by 1.8% but managed to retain Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, as its only Scottish constituency. It had been reported the party could gain Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk,[14] a seat which they lost out on to the Scottish National Party by 0.6% of the vote.

The SNP polled slightly under half of the votes, 49.97%, in Scotland in 2015, becoming the largest vote share in a general election in Scotland for a party since the Conservatives won a majority of the popular vote, 50.1%, in 1955.

The impact of the 2016 EU referendum and a proposed second Scottish independence referendum were predicted to be a large theme in the 2017 general election.[15] The SNP predicted that many pro-union voters would switch allegiance to the party in order to remain within the European Union.[citation needed] Polling from YouGov suggests people moving towards independence as a result of Brexit would be offset by the number of previously pro-independence Leave voters saying they would vote against independence as a result of Brexit.[16]

A study by Electoral Calculus, published on 14 May 2017, concluded that the Conservatives could win 11 seats in Scotland.[17][18]

Campaign events[edit]

  • On 21 May, BBC Scotland hosted the First live TV debate, all six Scottish leaders.[19]
  • On 24 May, STV was supposed to host the second Live TV debate from the Tramway theatre in Glasgow with the four main Scottish leaders[20] but this was postponed until Tuesday 6 June.[21]

Opinion polling[edit]


Party[22] Seats Votes
Total Gains Losses Net +/- % seats Total votes % votes Change
SNP 35 0 21 Decrease21 59.3 977,569 36.9 Decrease13.1
Conservative 13 12 0 Increase12 22.0 757,949 28.6 Increase13.7
Labour 7 6 0 Increase6 11.9 717,007 27.1 Increase2.8
Liberal Democrat 4 3 0 Increase3 6.8 179,061 6.8 Decrease0.8
Scottish Green 0 0 0 Steady 5,886 0.2 Decrease1.1
UKIP 0 0 0 Steady 5,302 0.2 Decrease1.4
Others 0 0 0 Steady 6,921 0.3 Increase0.3
2,649,695 66.4 Decrease4.7

Votes summary[edit]

Popular vote
Liberal Democrats
Parliament seats
Liberal Democrats

List of Constituencies by Party[edit]

2017 UK General Election (Scottish Westminster Constituencies)
Party Constituency
Liberal Democrat

Description of results[edit]

At the election the SNP remained the largest party in Scotland, taking the vast majority of seats situated around the more industrial Central Belt of the country, between Balloch, Dundee, Irvine, Kilmarnock and Livingston,[22] where the campaign in favour of Scottish independence performed best at the 2014 independence referendum.[23] The party also took the most votes and a majority of seats in three out of four major cities in Scotland (Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh), however Labour were within 1,200 votes of taking the most votes in Edinburgh and were within 200 votes of gaining two additional seats in Glasgow.[24] The SNP failed to win a majority of the vote in any of Scotland's 59 constituencies.[25]

The Scottish Conservatives performed best in areas where the campaign in favour of remaining part of the United Kingdom performed best in at the 2014 independence referendum and in areas where the campaign to leave the European Union performed best in at the 2016 EU membership referendum.[23][26] The Conservatives formed the largest party in the south of the country through Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and South Ayrshire, where they won four seats in total. They also gained the East Renfrewshire constituency, an affluent commuter suburb on the outskirts of Glasgow which was the safest Conservative constituency in Scotland before their collapse at the 1997 general election,[27] and gained the Ochil and South Perthshire and Stirling constituencies in Central Scotland, coming within 21 votes of gaining Perth and North Perthshire, the second closest result in Scotland and the third closest across the United Kingdom as a whole.[24] Six out of seven constituencies in the North-East of Scotland voted Conservative, including former SNP party leader and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond's constituency of Gordon, and the SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson's seat of Moray. Two out of three seats covering the city of Aberdeen returned Conservative MP's.

Scottish Labour retained their Edinburgh South constituency with a significant majority of 15,514 votes (32.4%), making it the safest constituency in Scotland. They also regained a number previously safe Labour working class constituencies in the Central Belt of Scotland, including Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, Glasgow North East, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Rutherglen and Hamilton West, gaining a further two seats in Lothian (East Lothian and Midlothian). The party were within 1,400 votes of gaining a further six seats from the SNP in Greater Glasgow.[25]

The Liberal Democrats gained the suburban constituencies of East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh West on the outskirts of Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively. The party also regained their former heartland of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, a large rural constituency covering the northernmost parts of Great Britain, with Orkney and Shetland again becoming the safest Lib Dem constituency in the UK in vote share terms, with a majority 19.6% of the vote. They lost out to the SNP in the North East Fife constituency by just 2 votes (0.0%), the closest result in the United Kingdom at a general election since the result in Winchester in 1997.[28] However, the party's vote collapsed to the Conservatives in Aberdeenshire, the Borders and in parts of the Highlands.

Target seats[edit]

Scottish Conservative Party[edit]

Rank [29] Constituency [29] Winning party 2015 Swing Required Conservatives' place 2015 Result
1 Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk SNP 0.3% 2nd Conservative
2 Dumfries & Galloway SNP 5.8% 2nd Conservative
3 West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine SNP 6.4% 2nd Conservative
4 Perth and North Perthshire SNP 9.0% 2nd SNP
5 Moray SNP 9.2% 2nd Conservative
6 East Renfrewshire SNP 9.3% 3rd Conservative
7 Aberdeen South SNP 9.4% 3rd Conservative
8 Edinburgh South Labour 10.8% 3rd Labour
9 Stirling SNP 11.3% 3rd Conservative
10 Edinburgh South West SNP 11.4% 3rd SNP
11 East Lothian SNP 11.5% 3rd Labour
12 North East Fife SNP 12.4% 3rd SNP
13 Edinburgh North and Leith SNP 12.4% 3rd SNP
14 Angus SNP 12.6% 2nd Conservative
15 Ochil and South Perthshire SNP 12.6% 3rd Conservative
16 Edinburgh West SNP 13.3% 3rd Liberal Democrats
17 East Dunbartonshire SNP 14.4% 3rd Liberal Democrats
18 Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock SNP 14.5% 3rd Conservative
19 Argyll and Bute SNP 14.7% 3rd SNP
20 Banff and Buchan SNP 15.7% 2nd Conservative
21 Lanark and Hamilton East SNP 16.5% 3rd SNP
22 Central Ayrshire SNP 17.9% 3rd SNP
23 Gordon SNP 18.0% 3rd Conservative

Labour Party[edit]

Rank Constituency Winning party 2015 Swing Required Labour's place 2015 Result
1 East Renfrewshire SNP 3.3% 2nd Conservative
2 Edinburgh North and Leith SNP 4.8% 2nd SNP
3 East Lothian SNP 5.8% 2nd Labour
4 Paisley and Renfrewshire South SNP 6.2% 2nd SNP
5 Aberdeen South SNP 7.5% 2nd Conservative
6 Edinburgh South West SNP 7.9% 2nd SNP
7 Dumfries and Galloway SNP 8.4% 3rd Conservative
8 Rutherglen and Hamilton West SNP 8.7% 2nd Labour
9 Ochil and South Perthshire SNP 8.8% 2nd Conservative
10 Paisley and Renfrewshire North SNP 9.1% 2nd SNP
11 Lanark and Hamilton East SNP 9.1% 2nd SNP
12 Dunfermline and West Fife SNP 9.3% 2nd SNP
13 Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath SNP 9.4% 2nd Labour
14 Edinburgh East SNP 9.7% 2nd SNP
15 Glasgow Central SNP 9.8% 2nd SNP
16 Airdrie and Shotts SNP 9.9% 2nd SNP
17 Stirling SNP 10.1% 2nd Conservative
18 Midlothian SNP 10.2% 2nd Labour
19 Linlithgow and Falkirk East SNP 10.5% 2nd SNP
20 Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock SNP 10.8% 2nd Conservative
21 Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill SNP 11.3% 2nd Labour
22 Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale Conservative 11.7% 3rd Conservative
23 Glasgow North West SNP 11.9% 2nd SNP
24 Glasgow North West SNP 12.2% 2nd SNP
25 Glasgow East SNP 12.2% 2nd SNP
26 Glasgow North East SNP 12.3% 2nd Labour

Scottish Liberal Democrats[edit]

Rank Constituency Winning party 2015 Swing Required Liberal Democrats' place 2015 Result
1 East Dunbartonshire SNP 2.0% 2nd Liberal Democrats
2 Edinburgh West SNP 2.9% 2nd Liberal Democrats
3 North East Fife SNP 4.9% 2nd SNP
4 Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross SNP 5.7% 2nd Liberal Democrats
5 Ross, Skye and Lochaber SNP 6.1% 2nd SNP
6 Gordon SNP 7.5% 2nd Conservative

Scottish National Party[edit]

Rank Constituency Winning party 2015 Swing Required SNP's place 2015 Result
1 Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale Conservative 0.8% 2nd Conservative
2 Orkney and Shetland Liberal Democrats 1.8% 2nd Liberal Democrats
3 Edinburgh South Labour 2.7% 2nd Labour


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  2. ^ "Theresa May seeks general election". BBC News. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Current State of the Parties". UK Parliament. Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Results for the Gordon constituency". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Results for the Moray constituency". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Results for the Angus constituency". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Results for the Dunbartonshire East constituency". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Results for Orchil & South Perthshire constituency". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
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  10. ^ "General election 2017: SNP lose a third of seats amid Tory surge". BBC News. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  11. ^ Thomas, Natalie; Dickie, Mure. "Scottish election results strike blow to SNP plans for IndyRef2". Financial Times. 
  12. ^ "SNP removes independence referendum fundraising page". BBC Scotland. 
  13. ^ a b "SNP Manifesto 2015" (PDF). SNP. 
  14. ^ "The Tories could win more seats in Scotland than Labour or the Lib Dems". May2015: 2015 General Election Guide. 
  15. ^ "Election 2017: How the battle is different in Scotland". BBC News. 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2018-04-23. 
  16. ^ "Why have the polls not shown a shift towards Scottish independence?". YouGov. 2017-01-27. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  17. ^ Aitken, Mark. "Tories tipped to oust SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson and take 11 seats in General Election". Daily Record. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  18. ^ Baxter, Martin. "Full predictions seat-by-seat (Constituency List: Scotland)". Electoral Calculus. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  19. ^ "General election 2017: BBC hosts debate with six Scottish leaders - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  20. ^ Scott Macnab Email (2017-04-27). "Election 2017: Scottish leaders debate on STV confirmed". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  21. ^ "STV invites leaders to rescheduled election debate". Stv.tv. 2017-05-30. Retrieved 2017-06-09. 
  22. ^ a b "Scotland Results". BBC News. 
  23. ^ a b "Scotland Votes NO". BBC. 
  24. ^ a b Gallagher, Paul (2017-06-09). "General election 2017: The smallest majorities of the night". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  25. ^ a b "Constituency List: Scotland". Elecotral Calculus. 
  26. ^ "EU Referendum". BBC. 
  27. ^ "UK Polling Report". Retrieved 24 June 2017. 
  28. ^ "General election 2017: SNP wins Fife North East seat by just two votes". BBC. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  29. ^ a b "Battleground Seats". scotlandvotes.com.