Friday, 27 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: East Lothian


2007 Results 
7 Labour
6 Lib Dems
2 Conservative
1 Independent
(SNP/Lib Dem administration)

12 Labour
12 SNP
7 Conservative
6 Lib Dems
4 Independents
1 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Prediction
SNP 9-10
Labour 8-9
Conservative 3
Independents 1
Lib Dems 0-2

East Lothian Council covers the various towns that lie to the east of Edinburgh including Musselburgh, North Berwick and Haddington, where the council's headquarters are located.

Labour won the greatest share of first preferences across the council in 2007, but tied with the SNP for seats, with the Lib Dems just one seat behind them.  A deal was struck between the SNP and the Lib Dems to take control of the former Labour stronghold.

East Lothian is covered by two Holyrood constitiuencies.  Most of the area is in the East Lothian constituency whilst the area nearest Edinburgh around Musselburgh is part of the Midlothian North and Musselburgh seat.  East Lothian was held by the former Labour leader Iain Gray last May with a bare majority of 151 over the SNP.  Midlothian North and Musselburgh was a new seat but notionally an SNP gain from Labour by Colin Beattie with a majority of 2,996 over Labour.

12 seats are needed for an overall majority on East Lothian Council, so both Labour and the SNP are standing the required number of candidates to win outright.  The Lib Dem vote collapsed massively in the Holyrood seats here last year, so most of their seats are effectively up for grabs even though that may result in difficulties for Labour or the SNP in forming a new coalition if neither win outright.  UKIP are standing here for the first time, as are the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition under the description "Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition".

Musselburgh West (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2) / TUSC

Labour topped the poll here in 2007, but not by enough to elect both of their candidates.  This time, they're fielding just one candidate while the SNP have gone for two, which is ambitious after they won just over one quota last time.  The 2007 Conservative candidate is now standing as an independent, whilst the previous Solidarity candidate is now standing for the TUSC.

The Labour seat will be very safe as is the first SNP seat.  This was the second strongest Lib Dem seat last time, but the SNP second candidate will be in contention for the third seat as well, the result a tossup between the two.

Musselburgh East and Carberry (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Ind
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab(x2) / SNP

Labour topped the poll here again last time, but were beaten to a second seat by the independent John Caldwell who is again defending his seat.  The Conservatives aren't competitive here, and the Lib Dems aren't standing despite being close to winning a seat in 2007.

At least one Labour and one SNP seats are pretty much assured.  Caldwell was closer to a quota than Labour were to a second on first preferences last time, so Caldwell is most likely to win the third seat against his Labour challenger.

Preston/Seton/Gosford (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / SNP / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2) / UKIP

A strong Labour ward with the SNP in second place well ahead of other parties last time.  The Lib Dems largely owed their seat to one being left over after the Labour and SNP candidates had all been elected.

This ward should split two Labour, two SNP this time.

Fa'side (4 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Lab / LibDem
Candidates Con / Lab(x3) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

The strongest Labour ward on the council last time, they got two of three candidates elected with a Lib Dem managing to beat their final candidate.  The Conservatives can't win here, while the SNP have fielded an additional candidate.

Two Labour and an SNP hold should be expected, with the final seat most likely to go to the SNP with the Lib Dem vote falling back and the Labour vote not being quite sufficient to have a shot to elect three.

North Berwick Coastal (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP(x2)

A strong Conservative ward, although they've only stood one candidate here this time.  The Lib Dems overtook Labour on transfers in 2007, benefitting from a relatively strong Green vote plus excess Conservative transfers.

A Tory hold and an SNP hold are expected.  The Lib Dem seat is somewhat defensible considering the number of Tory excess transfers that are likely, but it could be a Labour gain, who were next closest to another quota last time.

Haddington and Lammermuir (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / LibDem
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP / UKIP

The Tories just topped this ward, where all four main parties plus an independent polled very closely last time.  The independent this time is a different candidate.

The Tory seat is reasonably likely to be held, with the SNP next safest.  The Lib Dems were just 1% ahead of Labour on first preferences last time, and their seat seems almost certain to be lost to Labour now.

Dunbar and East Linton (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / LibDem / Lab
Candidates Con / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP(x2)

A very close 2007 result with a difference between the combined Labour and SNP votes of just 0.6% and a difference between the Lib Dems and Conservatives of just 0.1%.

Labour and the SNP should each hold a seat.  The last seat is a four-way tossup based upon the closeness of the result last time, though both Labour and the SNP would have to go some way to win a second quota, so a Conservative gain from Lib Dem seems fairly likely.

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