Labour reclaim Midlothian from nationalists

Midlothian Constituency General Election Count, Lasswade Centre. Early hours of 9/6/17 Declaration. Labour candidate Danielle Rowley wins.
Midlothian Constituency General Election Count, Lasswade Centre. Early hours of 9/6/17 Declaration. Labour candidate Danielle Rowley wins.

Labour’s Danielle Rowley was last week elected as the new MP for Midlothian, replacing Owen Thompson (SNP).

The SNP polled around 9000 fewer votes than in the 2015 General Election, when Mr Thompson became the SNP’s first MP for Midlothian, defeating Labour’s Kenny Young. Labour were around 2000 votes better off last week than two years previously.

Returning officer Kenneth Lawrie announces the Midlothian result.

Returning officer Kenneth Lawrie announces the Midlothian result.

The county’s new MP spoke of her delight at winning back Midlothian for Labour. Speaking shortly after the result was announced at around 2.20am on Friday morning, she said: “I’m very proud. Honestly, my goal was to take the seat but I was very hopeful that we would at least come close and make a challenge, but as the days went on and the doors were knocked the positive response from people raised my hopes.

“I’m just so proud of the campaign we have led.

“I’m very proud of being from Midlothian, it is a great place and the people are fantastic but I want to make it a better place to live.

“I want to ensure our workers are paid well and have good jobs and training opportunities. And something we will be working on is helping working people who are struggling to make ends meet.”

A clearly disappointed Owen Thompson (SNP) said: “You win some, you lose some. National swings clearly had a big impact here, our opposition parties turned it on the referendum or devolution matters. However, you know what it’s all about when you get into politics, just this time it wasn’t to be.”

Mr Thompson said it was “too early to say” what was next for him, adding: “I’m disappointed to have only been Midlothian’s MP for two years, there was still work to be done. But I wish Danielle all the best for the future.”

The Conservatives continued their revival in Midlothian, with their candidate Chris Donnelly doubling his party’s tally, up from 5760 in 2015 to 11,521 last week. Despite finishing third Mr Donnelly remained upbeat. He said: “I am absolutely delighted. It has built on the council election we had last month. We have turned Midlothian into a three-way marginal. Every Conservative vote in Midlothian counts. It was mainly independence which came up on the doorstep but also the amount of housebuilding and infrastructure especially in Penicuik and the Midlothian West areas.”

Liberal Democrats candidate Ross Laird polled 1721, a marginal increase on two years ago. He added: “From our perspective it’s about building up our share of the vote from the last time.”

This election result in Midlothian almost mirrored last month’s council election results when Labour regained power, with the Conservatives on the SNP’s tail in third.