Leith has a new MP after the SNP’s Deidre Brock outsted sitting Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz.
Deidre Brock won the seat with the backing of 23,742 votes, or 40% of the voters in the Edinburgh North and Leith constituency. She is the first woman, and the first member of the SNP to represent the area at Westminster. She won the seat with a 5,597 majority after a remarkable local campaign.
— luke m (@el_dee_em) April 30, 2015
Interestingly, more people voted for Mark Lazarowicz in 2015, than they did in the 2010 election when he won the seat. But like most Labour politicians in Scotland, he was ultimately unable to stem an SNP advance which saw the party hoover up most of the votes of disillusioned former Libdem voters, and many others besides.
There wasn’t much evidence of tactical voting in the seat. The Conservative’s Iain McGill also saw added a couple of thousand votes to come in third in the seat, improving on his performance in Leith at the last election. He’s already planning a ‘third time lucky’ general election campaign if his Twitter feed is anything to go by, but in the meantime, he’s just grateful he has understanding neighbours.
Good chat to my neighbours there – they're nice to me – even the ones who had SNP posters in their windows!
— Iain McGill (@IainMcGill) May 8, 2015
Meanwhile the Greens saw their highest ever vote tally in 2015 too, with 3,140 voters opting to back their candidate Sarah Beatie-Smith. But in terms of share of the overall vote, the Greens actually won a slightly greater vote share in the constituency back in 2005. Sarah Beatie-Smith has blogged her post-election thoughts here.
The Libdems came in fifth, with 2634 votes, followed by UKIP on 847, and the Left Unity candidate Bruce Whitehead, who won 122 votes.
Displaying admirable fortitude, Mr Whitehead kept up his campaign, even after the election results were known.
— Vote Bruce (@Vote_Bruce) May 9, 2015
Leith’s new MP, Deidre Brock, will be familiar to many Leithers as she has been a Leith Walk councillor for the SNP since 2007. A former actress, from Perth, Australia, she takes a particular interest in cultural issues. She is on the board of the Edinburgh International Festival and Creative Edinburgh.
Locally she has also headed up the “Clean Leith” forum of the Leith neighbourhood partnership. As a former Convenor of Culture Leisure, and more latterly, Deputy Provost, she also played a key role in the council decision to close Leith Waterworld too.
It remains to be seen what role she will play in the new SNP cohort of MPs in Westminster.
I am humbled by the faith shown in me by the people of Edinburgh North & Leith & so honoured to represent you all as your MP #GE15
— Deidre Brock (@DeidreBrock) May 8, 2015
You can sign-up for email alerts about her activity in Westminster on Theyworkforyou.com here.
Following her election as an MP, Ms Brock told the Evening News, that she intends to stand down from the City Council.
This means the residents of Leith Walk ward have another election look forward to. This time a local council by-election. The Leith Walk ward, where there will soon be a vacancy, is currently represented by 2 Labour councillors, 1 green councillor and 1 SNP councillor.
After learning of his fate former MP Mark Lazarowicz said on Twitter: “Thanks to all who voted for me yesterday in Edinburgh North and Leith. Our vote went up but unfortunately it was not enough to win,” and he added, “it has been an incredible privilege to represent the people of North and Leith over the last 14 years.”
Regardless of the party politics, Greener Leith would also like to offer thanks to outgoing MP Mark Lazarowicz. His work on environmental issues is particularly noteworthy, and locally he also backed many of the issues that Greener Leith has campaigned on – particularly active travel and community-owned renewable energy.
We wish him well in his future endeavours.
Photo credit: Scottish Libraries | CC | https://flic.kr/p/6asRND