Election Night: What we learned from Fife’s results

Willie Rennie Lib Dem leader, and Stephen Gethins, SNP, in conversation (Pic: George McLuskie)
Willie Rennie Lib Dem leader, and Stephen Gethins, SNP, in conversation (Pic: George McLuskie)

It was a night of drama as Fife elected two new MPs, and left the region without a single Labour representative at Westminster.

A candidate dumped by his own party went on to win a seat, while the Lib Dems reclaimed their North East Fife jewel.

Here are a few takeaways from a night when the UK handed the Tories a thumping majority, and left Labour in disarray:

Kirkcaldy: Lesley Laird defeated.

“If we lose it will be because of Corbyn - not Hanvey” said one Labour activist after several weeks of hitting the campaign trail.

The differences between the 2017 and 2019 polls weren’t great - but they were enough to see the Scottish Shadow Secretary ousted from office.

Ms Laird’s personal vote only dipped from 17,016 to 15,325, while the SNP vote - in effect the Neale Hanvey vote - was actually slightly down; 16,757 in 2017 to 16,568.

The Tory vote also dropped from 10,762 to 9449, giving Kathleen Leslie third place. Clearly the ‘Get Brexit Done’ message didn’t get a good reception on all the doorsteps ...

The biggest swing was to the Lib Dems, despite an almost non existent local campaign - candidate Gill Cole -Hamilton didn’t even attend the count.

She polled 2903 - well up on the 1118 the party netted in 2017.

Splitting the indy vote:

It simply didn’t happen in Kirkcaldy

When the SNP ditched Neale Hanvey, the Scottish Greens moved very quickly to court the independence vote, and speculation was rife that Labour would be the beneficiaries if voters split between thew two ‘yes’ candidates.

But, standing in a Westminster election locally for the first time, the Greens finished were ‘way back in fifth place with just 1628 votes - almost 15,000 behind Mr Hanvey.

In a nutshell, they got zero bounce from the Hanvey row.

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Election: Live blog from Fife count

SNP retain Glenrothes seat

Neale Hanvey hopes for SNP return after winning Kirkcaldy

What next for Neale Hanvey:

Neale Hanvey remains suspended by the SNP and under investigation for social media posts which were deemed anti-Semitic.

The gap between the candidate and the party he wants to rejoin was evident when he posed for a celebratory ‘Team Hanvey’ photo. Not one single elected SNP member was anywhere to be seen.

All eyes will now be on the outcome of the disciplinary hearing the party is due to hold into his social media posts.

As it stands, he doesn’t have their whip.

Brexit Party

Nigel Farage’s new party contested two seats – and got nowhere.

In Kirkcaldy, they finished last after paper candidate Mitch William polled just 1132 votes. He didn’t even show up for the count.

In Glenrothes, the Brexit Party distanced themselves from candidate, Victor Farrell after some of his eyebrow raising social media posts came to light.

He too finished a distant last with 1200 votes to his name – but at least he turned up.


Did Labour pick the wrong horse to take on the SNP’s Peter Grant?

Altany Craik had cut the majority to just over 3000 in 2017 but he didn’t get the ticket. That went to at Pat Egan.

Labour’s vote plunged from 14,000 to 9400.

Mr Grant took full advantage, increasing his vote to 21,234 and his majority to a rock solid 11,757

North East Fife:

The SNP threw everything at keeping Stephen Gethins in office.

A highly regarded politician and a key member of their Westminster team, he had the backing of Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, who made several visits to the constituency.

But the Lib Dems also had their eye on the prize and wanted a seat they long considered their own. They took it with a majority of 1316 as Wendy Chamberlain delivered.

A huge win for the Lib Dems. An equally big loss for the SNP.