Election 2017: Will the SNP sweep Glasgow again?

SNP MP Alison Thewliss  (Photo: John Devlin)

SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Photo: John Devlin)

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Glasgow has given the Scottish National Party some of its most historic moments.

From the Govan by-election wins of 1973 and 1988, to the election of Nicola Sturgeon in the 1999 elections, to John Mason’s win in 2008, right up to the Yes campaign’s victory in 2014, the city has a special place in Nationalist hearts.

Natalie McGarry, Glasgow East MP has been told she is not eligible for reselection. Picture: Robert Perry

Natalie McGarry, Glasgow East MP has been told she is not eligible for reselection. Picture: Robert Perry

Perhaps their most historic win in Scotland’s biggest city was in 2015, when they swept the board to win all of Glasgow’s seven seats en route to winning 56 seats across Scotland.

The Party will be hopeful of retaining all of the seats in the ‘Yes City’, where some of their MPs have had an impact that is likely to boost their personal vote in specifics.

We look at some of the seats and politicians in detail, and try and establish whether some of the seemingly insurmountable majorities can be overcome.

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The truly unbeatable

Some of the seats are unlikely to be in play in Glasgow for a very long time, requiring the type of swings to Labour or even the Conservatives that would be unheard of.

Glasgow North-East, for example, was won so handily by Anne McLaughlin that her victory actually broke the BBC swing-o-meter.

Her majority of over 9,000 is unlikely to be overturned any time soon, especially with Scottish Labour in such a sorry state.

A similar majority is enjoyed by adjacent MP Patrick Grady, who represents Glasgow North and will likely continue to do so.

Carol Monaghan too, has a majority of over 9,000, and despite not setting the heather alight in parliament, is unlikely to be visiting the Job Centre anytime soon.

The impressive MPs

SNP MPs aren’t used to the type of long-lasting reigns and thumping majorities enjoyed by their Labour predecessors, some of whom represented seats for decades.

Some of those newly-elected politicians wasted no time in getting right to work making their name on a grander scale than their constituency.

Alison Thewliss is one such example, the former Councillor has won plaudits across the political spectrum for her fight against the so-called ‘rape clause’.

Ms Thewliss’ majority isn’t quite as large as some of her colleagues, although she did win more than 50 per cent of the vote against Labour’s Anas Sarwar in 2015.

Her work has considerably raised her profile, and that should be enough for her to see off even a strong challenge from Kezia Dugdale’s party.

The MP’s colleague in Glasgow South, Stewart McDonald, has a larger majority, and he too has had an impact with some strong parliamentary performances.

Glasgow South-West’s Chris Stephens, an experienced councillor and trade unionist, will also have little fear of losing his seat.

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The wild card

One seat that is already no longer represented by the SNP is Glasgow East, which was won by Natalie McGarry in 2015.

Ms McGarry now sits as an independent, having resigned her party membership in the midst of an ongoing police investigation into discrepancies in the financial accounts of campaigning organisation Women for Independence.

It is expected to be announced this weekend whether Ms McGarry, and fellow Independent Nationalist Michelle Thomson, can stand for the SNP at the upcoming election.

It is likely that until Ms McGarry’s legal troubles have been resolved, she will not be allowed to represent the SNP.

However, she can stand as an independent, and would have to in order to be eligible for her redundancy payment from the House of Commons.

That risks splitting the vote between Ms McGarry and any other Nationalist challenger, although the SNP would still be confident of winning the seat, provided they pick a strong candidate.

Thus far, only SNP aide David Linden, and former Councillor Rosa Zambonini have put their names forward for selection.

No matter who is selected, and no matter what happens between now and election day on June 8th, another SNP clean sweep in Glasgow seems almost inevitable.

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