How the election night unfolded in Edinburgh

Never. trust. the. pollsters.

First came Brexit, then Trump, and now, a hung parliament which has defied every General Election poll in the UK.

As polls closed in Edinburgh, and ballot boxes were sealed ready to be transported, the Meadowbank Sports Stadium became a melting pot of counters, candidates and cameramen.

The maze of a building was crawling with police and angsty photographers, along with some nervous-looking politicians and their groupies, and, of course, we were there to take it all in.

Here’s how the night panned out.


After a shock exit poll, which had Twitter users both baffled and declaring Jeremy Corbyn as the possible new Prime Minister in a hung parliament, the postal boxes were opened and the count officially began. HERE WE, HERE WE…

The room where the Edinburgh North and Leith votes were being counted was a swarm of photographers and reporters desperate to get the best picture of the first open postal ballot box.

The shock exit poll came as a surprise to many, even certain Labour teams. One ex-Labour councilor, working on Gordon Munro’s campaign, spoke about how the Conservatives had made out that the electoral fight in Scotland was solely between them and the SNP, ignoring Scottish Labour.


A short while after the polls closed, the first of the actual ballot boxes started to arrive from polling stations around Edinburgh.

Again, photographers fought to get a picture of the plastic boxes, aggressively pushing each other, and us, out of the way to get the best view. It’s a cruel world out there. And yet, everyone remained in good spirits.


At this point there were unconfirmed reports that Edinburgh West had been lost to the Tories. In the media centre many of the reporters stood around the giant screens to watch all-round legend and political heart-throb John Curtice on BBC News.

We managed to speak to a young member of the SNP team for Deidre Brock, candidate for Edinburgh North and Leith. Maintaining that the SNP had confidence that students had turned out to support them, she stated: “things have been closer than expected over the last couple of days.”

“An SNP MP down in Westminster would be better for Corbyn than a Scottish Labour MP, as many of them don’t even agree with him.”


The Labour candidate for Edinburgh North and Leith, Gordon Munro told us that there was a “great turnout” from students: “there was nothing more we could have done.”

The huge auditorium acting as a makeshift count-room for Edinburgh South and East was full of candidates, and their suited team members stood tallying over the shoulders of vote counters.

We spoke to a member of Ian Murray’s team, who said it was way too soon to call, however, he was confident for Murray, stating how personable and well-liked he was. Later we found out that the Edinburgh university alumni had yet to arrive as results weren’t expected for hours to come.


At this point, the counters were allowed a break, after staring at ballot papers for two hours. By 12:30am, worrying SNP news was released, as their Westminster leader Angus Robertson’s seat in Moray was said to be “too close to call.”

It would also be hard not to notice the huge police presence throughout the night – every room, corridor and entrance was greeted with the presence of officers in full gear, though they seemed in high spirits.


After reports of a high turnout, BBC that suggested an increase in young people voting was the cause. We now know that 72% of 18 to 25-year-olds voted. With the high proportion of young people on candidate teams present at the count, this comes as no surprise. Smashed it.

At this point Scottish Labour were more confident to suggest that Ian Murray would win Edinburgh South with a 10,000 majority, but we’d have to wait and see.


It was official: SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson had lost his Moray seat to the Conservative candidate. However, so far, no conservative seats had been declared in Edinburgh.

At this point there were also worries for Alex Salmond’s constituency, with an SNP source telling Buzzfeed it was “now on a knife edge.” Hard to comprehend that this was a night of people losing their jobs and livelihoods.

South of the border, Corbyn made a boob.


The first of the Edinburgh results was declared: Tommy Sheppard, SNP, had been re-elected with 18,509 votes. His constituency of Edinburgh East includes Edinburgh University’s Central campus and Newington.

East Lothian was declared a Labour gain from the SNP, with Martin Whitfield elected with 20,158 votes and a 3,083 majority. Midlothian was another: with the SNP’s Owen Thompson losing out to Labour’s Danielle Rowley by just 885 votes.

SNP candidate Hannah Bardell kept Livingston with a decent 3,878 majority over the Labour candidate, as was the case in Linlithgow and Falkirk East.


Not surprisingly it was declared that, Edinburgh South, which includes the student areas of Marchmont and Bruntsfield, had been retained by Ian Murray, but with an increased majority of over 15,000 – even bigger than first thought, along with a decent turnout of 74% in the seat.

As an Edinburgh University alumni, earlier this month The Tab interviewed Murray to find out about his time at Edi and his lifetime membership to Big Cheese.

Edinburgh results were coming in thick and fast at this point. SNP Deidre Brock was re-elected to Edinburgh North and Leith with 19,243 votes, beating Labour’s Gordon who still won a decent 16,618 votes.

However, as a knock to the SNP’s 2015 landslide, it was declared Liberal Democrat candidate, Christine Jardine, had gained Edinburgh West from their candidate by 18,108 votes to 15,120.


There was news of more loses for the SNP. The earlier uncertainty over Alex Salmond’s seat, had been confirmed: lost to a Conservative candidate.

At this point Sky News were forecasting a hung parliament.


By now it was official: the snap General Election had resulted in a hung parliament, with the Conservative’s failing to make a majority.

Overall, despite a knock the for SNP and a lack of progress for the Conservatives, Edinburgh saw gains for Labour and the Lib Dems. Edinburgh student areas, however, remained fairly consistent with no seat changes in Edinburgh East and South. Nothing to see here.