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General Election 2019: five Scottish seats to watch

More than 40 of Scotland's 59 seats are marginals, meaning that a swing of five per cent or less would see the incumbents lose.

WITH just over 12 hours until polling stations open across the UK, candidates are out and about on the streets, in a last-minute attempt for your vote.

With the Conservatives wanting to “get Brexit done” and the Liberal Democrats wanting an “exit to Brexit”, and everything in between, there is more on the line than ever.

More than 40 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats have been identified as marginals, where a swing of five per cent or less could see incumbents lose their seat.

Here is a closer look at some of the most hotly contested Scottish seats at this election.

Stirling

Stephen Kerr. Credit: Wikipedia

Stephen Kerr currently holds Stirling for the Conservative party with a majority of 148 votes over the SNP, making it the smallest Tory marginal in Scotland.

Since being elected in 2017, he has come under fire for his votes against abortion and same sex marriage rights in Northern Ireland, as well as for supporting Borish Johnson’s illegal parliamentary suspension.

His main opponent will come in the form of Alyn Smith of the SNP. Formerly a Member of the European Parliament, he decided to contest the seat “to be where the fights is.”

The Tories have accused the SNP of “parachuting” Smith in, following the controversial de-selection of the area’s former MP, Steven Paterson.

Stirling University student Mary Kate Ross will also be contesting the seat, hoping to do better than the party’s distant third place finish in 2017.

East Dunbartonshire

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Credit: Wikiepdia

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson currently holds the seat with a convincing majority of more than 5,000 and a 40 per cent share of the vote.

However, SNP rival Amy Callaghan is pitching herself as a local champion, as opposed to Jo Swinson who, as leader of her party, will not necessarily spend a significant amount of time in the constituency.

Swinson has come under fire after being scrutinised on her voting record. As a minister during the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government between 2010 and 2015, she voted to raise tuition fees and keep the bedroom tax.

Aberdeen South

Ross Thomson. Credit: Wikipedia

Ross Thomson is not re-running to be the Conservative MP for Aberdeen South at the next election, after winning 42 per cent of the vote last time round.

Thomson has been at the heart of an investigation following allegations that he sexually assaulted Labour MP for Glasgow North East, Paul Sweeney, and other men in the House of Commons bar.

Despite vehemently denying the allegations, Thomson said: “I made the most difficult decision not to stand for re-election.

“I have suffered a level of personal abuse that has affected my health, my mental wellbeing and my staff.”

It will be interesting to see whether the scandal will help overturn a 4,752 majority that the Conservatives currently hold in this constituency, where people voted for Brexit in numbers higher than the Scottish average.

North East Fife

Stephen Gethins. Credit: Huffington Post UK

North East Fife will be a key seat to watch on election night, given that it is the closest marginal in the UK, with the SNP’s Stephen Gethins beating the Liberal Democrats by just two votes in 2017, following two recounts.

If the Lib Dems manage to gain back this former stronghold, then it could be a sign that the party’s pro-union, remain advocating message is resonating with the Scottish electorate.

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie holds the equivalent Holyrood seat, so a win here is a possible.

Votes in North East Fife are worth five times more than the average UK vote, due to the miniscule majority that the nationalists currently hold.

Lanark and Hamilton East

Angela Crawley. Credit: Wikipedia

Historically a safe Labour seat, Lanark and Hamilton East is one of many that fell to the SNP in 2015.

At the 2017 general election, the SNP held on with a wafer thin majority of 266 votes over the Tories, with the Labour candidate less than 100 votes behind.

It is the UK’s tightest three-way marginal since 1945, with all three parties polling just under a third of the vote each. Polls are suggesting that it is a toss-up between the Tories and the SNP, as Labour support plummets across Scotland.

Sitting MP Angela Crawley is under threat from Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam, who is hoping her unionist message will shine through in an area which, like most in Scotland, voted to remain as part of the UK in 2014.

Polls open tomorrow, Thursday December 12 at 7am and are open until 10pm. Brig Newspaper will have a team at the Stirling election count at the Albert Halls, and will be keeping you updated on our social media channels.

Featured image credit: Daily Express

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