Tuesday, 13 April 2010

A Look @: East Lothian, and Midlothian

East Lothian and Midlothian are the two councils which border Edinburgh on its East and South. Each local council is precisely represented by a single seat at Westminster.




Swing Needed



East Lothian

Anne Moffat





LAB Hold



David Hamilton





LAB Hold


East Lothian is represented by Anne Moffat. Anne Moffat has been deselected by her Constituency Labour Party over dissatisfaction over her expenses, and particularly her travel expenses which were the highest of any MP at almost forty thousand pounds. She was also accused of failing to represent her constituents properly and at one point came under serious fire for comparing SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to Adolf Hitler. The Labour Party's NEC's initial reaction to Moffat's deselection was to suspend the CLP from the Labour Party. While the CLP has been reinstated and Moffat replaced by Fiona O'Donnell this tale will not endear local constituents to the national Labour Party organisation. East Lothian council is controlled by a coalition of the SNP and Liberal Democrats. 32.6% of the vote for Labour, 26.9% for the SNP, 15.4% for the Lib Dems and 17.4% for the Conservatives netted the parties 7 seats for Labour and the SNP, 6 for the Lib Dems and 2 for the Conservatives. The seat is Lib Dem target 66 and SNP target 12. The SNP came fourth last time on 12.8% of the vote, but they will be pouring money and activists into the constituency. With 7 seats on the council they have a good base. Neither the Conservatives nor the Lib Dems can be completely discounted either, but I suspect this will come down to a SNP/Labour fight. Most of the constituency is covered in the Scottish Parliament by the East Lothian seat held by Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray. Sharp was the candidate against him in the 2007 Scottish election (before Gray became leader) and bounced the SNP from 4th to 2nd, with a swing of 10.2%. The SNP will fight hard for this seat, and they cannot be discounted but coming from 4th to win this constituency seems like a bridge too far for the Nationalists; Lab Hold.

Midlothian is held by David Hamilton an 'Old Labour' MP. A member of the Socialist Campaign Group Hamilton participated in the 1988 Miner's Strike and was arrested by the Police during the Strike. The 2007 local elections gave Labour 36.8% of the vote and 9 seats (one short of a majority), the SNP 33.4% and 6 seats, the Lib Dems 12.7% and 3 seats and the Conservatives 10.1% and 0 seats. Hamilton's socialist credentials will aid him her. Sir Thomas Legg's report in the expenses found that Hamilton had been overpaid expenses and that he had not yet repaid any money, however this does not appear to have caused much concern in the local press. The seat is Lib Dem target number 66, and the last SNP target seat, number 14, if they are to reach their target of 20 seats this would be the last seat they need. Neither the Lib Dems nor the SNP can be completely discounted (Ladbrokes has both at 5/1) but it seems unlikely that either will be able to assail Hamilton's majority and they may end up splitting the anti-Labour vote between themselves; Lab Hold.


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