Thursday, 26 November 2015

By-election Previews: 26 November 2015

Nine by-elections on 26th November 2015, five in England, two in Wales and two in Scotland.  In Scotland the SNP have to defend two seats in the Kingdom of Fife.  Your columnist hasn't had a lot of spare time this week, so some of these entries may be slightly abbreviated.

Fife council
Caused respectively by the resignations of Scottish National Party councillors David Mogg and Douglas Chapman.  Chapman is now the Member of Parliament for Dunfermline and West Fife.

Conoisseurs of Fife by-elections have had a vintage year, with these being the fifth and sixth polls of 2015.  Dunfermline North does pretty much what it says on the tin, being the northern third of Dunfermline plus a small rural hinterland.  Rosyth ward covers the whole of that town plus the village of North Queensferry at the northern end of the Forth Bridges - currently two, with a replacement road bridge now under construction.  Rosyth is of course a naval town - the Navy moved out in 1994 but there is still some shipbulding here together with regular freight-only ferries to Zeebrugge in Belgium.

The two wards have fairly similar electoral histories: they both elected one councillor each from Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP in 2007, with Labour gaining the Lib Dem seats in 2012 which was the most recent election here.  In 2012 Labour had 48% in Dunfermline North to 32% for the SNP and 14% for the Lib Dems, while in Rosyth Labour beat the SNP 48-36.  The surge for the SNP since last year's referendum suggests that both these seats are well within their grasp.

Defending for the SNP in Dunfermline North is Ian Ferguson, a hypnotherapist.  The Labour candidate is Joe Long, an exec member of the Scottish Fabians.  On the Lib Dem side, their 2012 candidate James Calder tries again.  Also on the ballot are the Tories' James Reekie, the Greens' Lewis Campbell and UKIP's Chloanne Dodds.

The defending SNP candidate in Rosyth is Sharon Wilson, a publisher and treasurer of the local community council.  She is opposed in the red corner by Labour's Vikki Fairweather, a working mum and occasional boxer.  Also standing are Matthew Hall for the Lib Dems, David Ross of the Tories, UKIP's Colin Mitchelson, Cairinne Macdonald of the Green Party and independent candidate Alastair MacIntyre.

Dunfermline North
Parliamentary constituency: Dunfermline and West Fife
Scottish Parliament constituency: Dunfermline
ONS Travel to Work Area: Dunfermline

May 2012 result Lab 1841 (2 seats) SNP 1204 (1 seat) LD 518 C 253
May 2007 result Lab 1526 (1 seat) LD 1451 (1 seat) SNP 1236 (1 seat) Local Health Concern 690 C 313 Ind 59

Parliamentary constituency: Dunfermline and West Fife
Scottish Parliament constituency: Cowdenbeath
ONS Travel to Work Area: Dunfermline

May 2012 result Lab 1843 (2 seats) SNP 1382 (1 seat) LD 275 C 223 UKIP 101 Ind 41
May 2007 result Lab 2035 (1 seat) SNP 1672 (1 seat) LD 1081 (1 seat) C 415

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