General Election 2019: The key Scottish battleground seats

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With another General Election looming just two-and-a-half years after the last one, we look at key marginal and target seats that could be crucial in determining the national outcome.

Here are some of the crucial battlegrounds ahead of the election on December 12.

Stephen Gethins with Nicola Sturgeon - he represents the most marginal constituency in the UK.

Stephen Gethins with Nicola Sturgeon - he represents the most marginal constituency in the UK.

RUTHERGLEN AND HAMILTON WEST


The South Lanarkshire seat was won by Scottish Labour's Ged Killen at the 2017 snap election, taking it from the SNP with a slim majority of 265.

Killen, who has backed a People's Vote, has made the running on issues such as the disappearance from high streets of free ATMs, but he will face a fierce challenge from the Nationalists to retain the seat.

Margaret Ferrier, who held the seat for the SNP, after being elected in 2015 in the party's landslide victory, will run again.

The Scottish Liberal Democats have a new candidate in Councillor Mark McGeever who defected from the the Tories in July because of the party's stance on Brexit and the election of Boris Johnson as leader.

STIRLING


Stephen Kerr gained the Stirling constituency for the Scottish Conservatives at the 2017 election, with a very tight majority of just 148 - but in doing so overturned an SNP majority of 10,480.

However, it is the smallest Tory majority in Scotland and the SNP will be determined to turn the tables again. In that determination the party became embroiled in an internal row over the selection of its candidate, with previous Stirling MP Steven Paterson failing to make the approved list, and allegations that former SNP MEP Alyn Smith was being "parachuted" into the seat.

READ MORE: Who is likely to win snap general election?

Kerr, who has contested the seat twice before, has been one of the most vocal Scots Tories in Westminster, backing Brexit and voting for Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Bill.

Smith, on the other hand, is opposed to Brexit and has been imploring the EU to recognise Scotland voted to Remain.

AIDRIE AND SHOTTS


Airdrie and Shotts in North Lanarkshire was a long held Labour seat, returning MPs such as John Reid and Helen Liddell to Westminster. But in the SNP landslide of 2015 that ended when Neil Gray was returned.

In the 2017 snap election, it was a key Labour target seat, but Gray retained the constituency with a majority of just 195. As a result, it is likely to be a major battleground between the two parties once again, with Helen McFarlane the Labour challenger. One of the biggest issues will be the future of Monklands hospital, even though it's a Holyrood matter.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn backs election as voters head to polls

Mr Gray is against the replacement for University Hospital Monklands moving to Gartcosh. He has campaigned for it to be within the Monklands geographical area. Labour has campaigned for the hospital to be rebuilt on its existing site. 


GLASGOW NORTH EAST

In 2015, all seven Glasgow seats were taken by the SNP in the electoral tsunami that wiped out Labour, but as part of Labour's modest revival at the 2017 election Paul Sweeney won Glasgow North East with a majority of 242, overturning an SNP majority of 9,222.

With a keen eye for a media opportunity he was made Labour's Shadow Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. However, the SNP will be keen to take the seat back and have re-selected Anne McLaughlin as their candidate.

NORTH EAST FIFE

The most marginal seat in the UK, where the SNP's Stephen Gethins clung on by just two votes in 2017 in the traditional Liberal Democratc stronghold. Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell held the seat for decades and the party's Wendy Chamberlain is confident its recent revival can see them oust the SNP. But the Tories were only a few thousand votes behind in 2017 and are confident of mounting a challenge.

PERTH AND NORTH PERTHSHIRE

SNP veteran Pete Wishart retained his Perth seat in 2017 with a wafer-thin majority of 21. On paper he certainly looks vulnerable, but the main challenge will come from the Conservatives and the party's flagging fortunes north of the Border, including the absence of a permanent Scottish leader, may make see the former Runrig keyboard player hold on again.

GLASGOW EAST

A traditional Labour stronghold which was surprisingly seized by the SNP's John Mason in 2008.

Labour won it back at the 2010 election through former Scottish Government minister Margaret Curran, but the seat switched hands again in the Nationalist landslide of 2015 when Natalie McGarry won the seat.

But she resigned the whip and was later convicted of fraud. She is currently appealing. David Linden replaced her as the party's candidate and won the seat for the SNP with a majority of just 75. It remains a key Labour target.

KIRKCALDY AND COWDENBEATH

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's old stomping ground, having held the area before standing down as an MP in 2015.

Roger Mullin then surprisingly won the seat for the SNP, overturning a massive Labour majority of 23,000 to secure an impressive 10,000 margin of victory over Kenny Selbie.

The seat switched hands again in 2017 when the current Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird edged out Mullin with a narrow majority of just 259. The seat will be a key SNP target.

Clarification: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated “Neil Gray is known to support the Scottish Government’s plans to build a new hospital in Gartcosh and close the current hospital”. This was incorrect and we are happy to provide clarification.

As the article now states: Mr Gray is against the replacement for University Hospital Monklands moving to Gartcosh and he has campaigned for it to be within the Monklands geographical area. In addition, it is not the Scottish Government’s intention to move the facility to Gartcosh, it is NHS Lanarkshire’s intention. Mr Gray and Alex Neil MSP were instrumental in securing the Scottish Government Independent Review of the MRRP (Monklands Refurbishment or Replacement Project) Consultation. We apologise for the initial error.