West Scotland - Region Overview

Most of this region is made up of the two highly urbanised counties to the north and west of Glasgow – Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire. In Council terms that means the area fully incorporates Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire. In addition, it also includes the portion of Argyll and Bute around Helensburgh which is historically in Dunbartonshire, plus the entirety of North Ayrshire. When first created in 1999, the region didn’t include the area around Irvine in North Ayrshire.

With a mixture of previously industrialised towns and affluent suburbs, Conservative success lasted until the late 20th Century here in a way it didn’t in other portions of the western Central Belt. In particular, they consistently held the seat of Eastwood and tended to be strong in the western portion of Renfrewshire, in Cunninghame North, and in the Strathkelvin area.

Labour generally held the other seats, which had much more of the working class character, though the SNP very narrowly won the East Dunbartonshire seat in the second 1974 election. When the Conservatives were swept out of Scotland in 1997, Labour would win every seat in this part of the country. Though it wouldn’t bear fruit until boundary changes in 2005 which were never replicated at Holyrood, the Liberal Democrats also began to build a base in the Bearsden and Milngavie portion of East Dunbartonshire.

Labour maintained their constituency dominance into the first Holyrood election, sweeping all nine constituencies. The regional seats then followed a neat pattern of four for the SNP, two for the Conservatives, and one for the Lib Dems.


9 Labour (all Constituency)
4 SNP (all Regional)
2 Conservative (all Regional)
1 Liberal Democrat (Regional)

When the Rainbow Parliament came to the West of Scotland, it did so with something very rare indeed in UK politics – an Independent victory in an FPTP constituency, when Dr Jean Turner won Strathkelvin and Bearsden on a platform to save nearby Stobhill Hospital. She’d stood with much less success, though still placing second, in a 2001 by-election there. In addition to Dr Turner, the SNP lost one of their seats to the SSP.


8 Labour (all Constituency)
3 SNP (all Regional)
2 Conservative (all Regional)
1 Liberal Democrat (Regional)
1 SSP (Regional)
1 Independent (Jean Turner, Strathkelvin and Bearsden)

In line with the almost complete reversion to the traditional party norm across Scotland in 2007, the SSP lost their list seat and Labour regained Strathkelvin and Bearsden from Dr Turner. However, they didn’t return to a clean sweep of constituencies, as the SNP gained the Cunninghame North seat from them. The regional seats then fell exactly as they had in 1999, with four SNP, two Conservative, and 1 Lib Dem.


8 Labour (all Constituency)
5 SNP (4 Regional, 1 Constituency)
2 Conservative (all Regional)
1 Liberal Democrat (Regional)

As part of their surprise majority victory at this election, the SNP picked up six seats in the slightly expanded region. That left Labour with just four, in Dumbarton, Eastwood, Renfrewshire South, and Greenock and Inverclyde. Thanks to the Lib Dems haemorrhaging votes across the country, Labour were able to mostly make up for their losses by picking up three regional seats, leaving two apiece to go to the SNP and Conservatives.


8 SNP (6 Constituency, 2 Regional)
7 Labour (4 Constituency, 3 Regional)
2 Conservative (all Regional)

Constituencies continued to churn at the last election, as Labour lost three of their remaining constituencies, narrowly holding onto Dumbarton. Two of those seats went to the SNP, whilst Eastwood went to the Conservatives, returning to its pre-1997 shade. SNP constituency success meant they didn’t need their two regional seats to make up proportionality anymore, and a near tie between Labour and the Conservatives saw them win three each. The Greens then nabbed the last seat, electing 21 year old Ross Greer as the youngest ever MSP.


8 SNP (all Constituency)
4 Labour (3 Regional, 1 Constituency)
4 Conservative (3 Regional, 1 Constituency)
1 Green (Regional)

Labour’s abysmal polling would appear to put Dumbarton in reach for the SNP, given there were just 109 votes in it last time. Don’t write Jackie Baillie off, however, as she’s twice already held this seat in the face of national swings that flipped safer seats than hers. Similarly, the Conservative margin in Eastwood isn’t massive

In terms of list seats, both the Greens and Lib Dems may be hoping that the SNP don’t gain those constituencies. Had the SNP won either last time, the Greens wouldn’t have won the seat they were proportionally entitled to (which happened to them here in 2003) due to the overhang. This is one of the ways AMS is partly rather than fully proportional.

The Lib Dems weren’t in the running last time, but this is the region with their best shot at increasing their MSP count, especially if they can translate still strong support in the Westminster East Dunbartonshire constituency to Holyrood list votes. Like the Greens, they would be negatively impacted by SNP overhang, and it’s not impossible they’ll win enough votes for a seat in principle but not once constituency seats are allocated.

West Scotland - Overall Regional Results

Total MSPs Elected 2016


8 SNP (all Constituency)
4 Labour (3 Regional, 1 Constituency)
4 Conservative (3 Regional, 1 Constituency)
1 Green (Regional)

Changes to MSPs since 2016

Labour Regional MSP Ken Macintosh was elected Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament immediately after the election. By convention, the Presiding Officer gives up their party affiliation in order to be an impartial chair .

SNP Constituency MSP for Renfrewshire North and West Derek Mackay was suspended from the party in February 2020 following revelations of inappropriate conduct. He has since continued to sit as an Independent .

Regional List MSPs Elected 2016


#1: Labour - Neil Bibby
#2: Conservative - Jamie Greene
#3: Labour - Mary Fee
#4: Conservative - Maurice Golden
#5: Labour - Ken Macintosh
#6: Conservative - Maurice Corry
#7: Green - Ross Greer

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Regional List Candidates 2021

Clydebank and Milngavie

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Gil Paterson
Majority: 8432 (25.7%)
Turnout: 60.1%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Cunninghame North

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Kenny Gibson
Majority: 8724 (27.3%)
Turnout: 57.6%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Cunninghame South

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Ruth Maguire
Majority: 5693 (22.2%)
Turnout: 51.4%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Dumbarton

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


Labour: Jackie Baillie
Majority: 109 (0.3%)
Turnout: 61.0%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Eastwood

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


Conservative: Jackson Carlaw
Majority: 1610 (4.4%)
Turnout: 68.4%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Greenock and Inverclyde

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Stuart McMillan
Majority: 8230 (25.9%)
Turnout: 57.7%

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TBC

Paisley

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: George Adam
Majority: 5199 (17.6%)
Turnout: 57.2%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Renfrewshire North and West

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Derek Mackay
Majority: 7373 (23.9%)
Turnout: 61.0%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Renfrewshire South

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Tom Arthur
Majority: 4408 (14.9%)
Turnout: 60.3%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC

Strathkelvin and Bearsden

Constituency MSP Elected 2016, Majority and Turnout


SNP: Rona Mackay
Majority: 8100 (20.7%)
Turnout: 62.8%

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Constituency Candidates 2021

TBC