General Election: Guide to the Fife seats

Voters go to the polls today (Thursday) in the first General Election to be held in December since 1923.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 5:50 pm

All four of Fife’s Westminster seats will be counted at the Michael Woods Sports Centre, Glenrothes – and it could be a night of high drama.

The Kirkcaldy seat has Lesley Laird defending a majority of just 259 for Labour.

The campaign was thrown a game-changing curve ball when the SNP controversially ditched its candidate, Neale Hanvey, over social media posts which were deemed anti-Semitic.

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Pic: John Devlin
Pic: John Devlin

He was suspended from the party pending an investigation which will conclude after the electiuon.

He is now continuing as an independent candidate without any party backing - the SNP’s senior figures effectively urged party members to focus their efforts on north-east Fife.

But his name will still appear on pre-printed ballot papers under the SNP badge and logo.

All eyes will now be on where the nationalist vote goes.

If it stays with Hanvey then it could be a tight finish, but if it is split with the Green Party’s Scott Rutherford then Labour may have some breathing space.

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In total, six candidates are contesting the seat.

Gill Cole-Hamilton is fliying the flag for for the Lib Dems; Kathleen Leslie for the Tories and Mitch William for the Brexit Party.

If Kirkcaldy is a marginal, then North-East Fife is an ultra-marginal.

Stephen Gethins is defending a majority of just two – the smallest in the UK.

It took three recounts to declare him the winner ahead of the Lib Dems, and both parties have thrown resources at the election in a bid to claim the seat – First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made several visits to the area in recent weeks.

Mr Gethins faces a head to head battle with the Lib Dems’ Wendy Chamberlain.

In Glenrothes, Peter Grant is bidding to hold the seat for the SNP.

Also standing are Pat Egan (Labour), Jane Liston (Lib Dems), Amy Thomson (Tories) and Victor Farrell (Brexit).

In west Fife, it is a five-way fight with Douglas Chapman (SNP) defending the seat against Labour’s Cara Hilton, Rebecca Bell from the Lib Dems, Moira Benny (Tories) and Mags Hall (Greens).

The vote has been widely billed as a ‘Brexit Election’ with the outcome holding the key to the UK’s future with the EU, but the health service and the issue of trust in politicians and, specifically, party leaders, are also major issues.

Perhaps the unknown factor is how many voters will turn out on a cold, dark winter night ...

For all the updates from the Fife count, follow our live HERE https://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/politics/general-election-live-from-fife-count-1-5061364