GE 2019: A guide to who’s who and what’s what in Edinburgh

Doing the hard work for you


With a general election coming up on December 12th, The Edinburgh Tab is here to help you unpack your number one civic duty: deciding how to vote.

If you haven't yet done so, stop what you're doing and register to vote here.

As a student you can register to vote in both your home and university accommodation constituencies, though come election day you can only vote in one of them. The Guardian has a handy calculator that can help you determine where your vote will matter more.

So, if like me, you decide you want to vote in Edinburgh, here is a breakdown of what you need to know.

Most students in Edinburgh live in one of three constituencies

Edinburgh East (includes George Square, Old Town, Tollcross, Pleasance, Pollock Halls, and some of Newington)

Edinburgh South (includes Marchmont, Bruntsfield, Morningside, most of Newington, and King's Buildings)

Edinburgh North and Leith (includes New Town and Leith Walk)

You can check which constituency you belong to here.

It matters which individual candidate you vote for

This is especially true if you are considering voting for Labour, as we have seen in recent votes over Brexit. Individual MPs do not always vote the exact same way as the rest of their party. You can have a look at how your MP votes on individual issues on They Vote for You, and if they vote with the rest of their party on Public Whip.

Edinburgh East

Before the dissolution of parliament, this seat was held by Tommy Sheppard of the SNP.

Since becoming an MP in 2015, Tommy has never rebelled against the SNP. He has voted against new nuclear weapons programmes and against the original EU referendum in 2016. You can have a more detailed look at his voting record here.

In 2017, Tommy won with 42.5 per cent of the vote. The Labour Party came in second with 3425 votes fewer.

Labour, the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Scottish Greens are all fielding candidates.

Sheila Gilmore – the MP for the seat between 2010 and 2015 – is standing for the Labour Party.

In parliament, Sheila has never rebelled against the party whip. She has consistently voted against tuition fees (including raising them in 2010) and voted in favour of gay marriage in 2013. You can find out more about her here.

Claire Miller, a local councillor, is standing for the Scottish Greens.

Jill Reilly is the Lib Dem candidate, whilst Eleanor Price is standing for the Conservatives.

Edinburgh South

Before parliament dissolved, the MP for Edinburgh South was Labour's Ian Murray. He is a former Edinburgh student and was interviewed by The Edinburgh Tab earlier this year.

As well as holding a lifetime pass to Big Cheese, Ian is pro-remain and in favour of a People's Vote. He has been critical of Corbyn's leadership and fought off a deselection challenge from the Unite trade union leader, Len McCluskey, last month.

Ian has rebelled against his party 11 times since 2010, most notably including voting against triggering Article 50 in February 2017. You can have a look at Ian's entire voting record here.

In 2017, Ian gained 54.9 per cent of the vote. The SNP came in second with 22.5 per cent of the vote and the Tories came third with 19.7 per cent.

Standing against Ian this time is the SNP, Lib Dems, Conservatives and Scottish Greens.

Catriona MacDonald is the candidate for the SNP. She is the co-founder of Jeelie Piece – a café and community space on Leven Street in Toll Cross.

Nick Cook is the Tory candidate. He is currently a councillor for Morningside.

Alan Beal is standing for the Lib Dems and Kate Nevens for the Scottish Greens.

Edinburgh North and Leith

This is going to be a close one!

Before the dissolution of parliament, this seat was held by the SNP's Deidre Brock. She too has never rebelled against her party in parliament.

In 2017, there were 1,625 votes between her and the second place Labour candidate.

North and Leith has the longest list of parties standing: the SNP, Labour, Scottish Greens, the Lib Dems, the Conservative Party plus the Brexit Party and the centrist, pro-remain Renew Party.

The current councillor for Leith Walk, Gordon Munro, is standing for Labour.

Steve McGill is standing for the Tories. Former Royal Marine Commando Bruce Wilson is the Lib Dem candidate.

Steve Burgess is the Green candidate. He also wins the award for cutest dog on the Edi campaign trail so far.

A swing of only 1.44% is needed for Labour to win, so it's no wonder this constituency is number 29 nationally on Labour's target list – and number eight in Scotland.

As a result, a lot of time and effort is being put into winning this seat. Some of you may have seen this very glossy Labour promo video doing the rounds on social media in the past couple of months.

Meanwhile, here's SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, in Leith at the beginning of the month.

The political heavyweights are well and truly out in force it seems. Expect to see a lot more of this in the next few weeks…

So, whoever you end up voting for, the most important thing is that you vote! Many current students, myself included, could not vote in the EU referendum in 2016 or the general election in 2017. Now that you do have a say, make sure you use it and get your voice heard.