Royal occasion and a by-election

  • 8 June 2011
  • From the section Scotland
  • comments

And so the Holyrood parliamentary session will end in emphatic fashion - with a Royal occasion and, now, the Inverclyde by-election.

Labour, defending a majority of more than 14,000, has opted for a relatively swift contest, naming the day as the 30th of June.

Questions, inevitably, arise.

This is a Westminster by-election - so will the voting pattern reflect 2010 when Labour performed well across Scotland or 2011 when the SNP swept to majority power at Holyrood?

Even in the face of that SNP success, Labour's Duncan McNeil contrived to hold on to the comparable Holyrood seat of Greenock and Inverclyde.

Will that be replicated - or will the special circumstances of a by-election prompt voters to behave in different ways? Will the SNP momentum carry through to victory here as well?

Coastguard stations

The Nationalists were second in Inverclyde in 2010 - although not all that far ahead of the Liberal Democrats in third and the Conservatives in fourth.

The late David Cairns had a substantial majority, winning more than fifty per cent of the vote.

But the most recent electoral memory in Scotland is of Labour MSPs on apparently comfortable majorities going down to defeat at the hands of the SNP.

Again, will that be repeated - or will a "Westminster" pattern prevail?

Local issues will include jobs and the economy; crime, especially knife crime; and the future of coastguard stations.

Labour, the SNP and the Tories have already selected candidates.

The Liberal Democrats are likely to name their choice next week.