Facing the sixth election in eight years, our political expert Devin Scobie could have made his fortune charging five pounds for every time he’s been asked ‘what do you think is going to happen.’ On Monday we’ll issue an Insider Special with details of all Scotland’s new MPs, key seat changes and any particular surprises – although shockers like the loss of Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson in 2017 are unlikely to be topped in 2019.
So with all the caveats that come with political predictions, here’s what we think will happen in Scotland. We start with 59 seats, all technically vacant until the votes are counted, but they are being defended by 35 SNP MPs (all of whom are standing again), 13 Conservatives (11 of whom are standing again), seven Labour (all re-standing) and four Lib Dems (who are also standing again).
The SNP will hold all but one of their 35 seats; a unionist squeeze will help convert the paper-thin majority of two in Ming Campbell’s old patch of North East Fife into a Lib Dem gain for former police officer and Diageo policy officer Wendy Chamberlain. Interestingly only about half of the SNP MPs who served between 2015 and 2017 are standing again.
The Conservatives will lose most of their 13 seats to the SNP including the two being defended by new candidates (Ayr, Cumnock etc and Aberdeen South, abandoned at the 11th hour by the colourful ex MSP Ross Thomson). I suspect Angus, with Scotland’s only female MP (Kirstene Hair), Ochil and North Perthshire, Gordon and Banff and Buchan are also at risk. David Mundell and rising star Andrew Bowie should survive and seats like East Renfrewshire, Moray and Dumfries and Galloway will go down to the wire.
Labour will lose most of their seven seats with Kirkcaldy (Gordon Brown’s old seat), Paul Sweeney in Glasgow North and Danielle Rowley in Midlothian are most at risk. Ian Murray will survive comfortably in Edinburgh South. There is a chance local factors could see a Labour gain from the SNP in one of the Glasgow seats. But don’t gamble your house on it.
The Lib Dems will hold their four, three of which were won back in 2017, and gain one although ex MSP Jamie Stone is facing a tough fight against the SNP up in Caithness. UK leader Jo Swinson is safe in East Dunbartonshire.
The Greens have never done well at Westminster elections and will struggle to hold their deposit (5% of the vote) in the 20 or so seats they are standing in. There could be a wild card result in Kirkcaldy where the SNP have disowned their candidate due to alleged anti-Semitic comments on Twitter and various pro-independence groups have backed the Green candidate.
P.S. Polls are open till 10pm – remember to vote!
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