Can Alex Salmond win a seat in Westminster?

 
Lynsey Barber
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Alex Salmond’s bid for a seat in the House of Common’s looks like a sure thing.

The former First Minister for Scotland may have lost the independence vote but Salmond is still riding on a wave of SNP popularity that is likely to take him all the way to the UK parliament.

The road from Holyrood to Westminster is set to be fairly straightforward, despite Salmond choosing the Lib Dem stronghold of Gordon.

The seat was already a favourite to fall into SNP hands in next year’s election after long-serving MP Sir Malcolm Bruce announced his intention to retire. In the 2010 election, the Lib Dem picked up its smallest share of the vote in 30 years while the SNP picked up the largest.

This is what the last three election's voting looks like.

The SNP has been polling as high as 52 per cent in recent polls, but averaging out at around 40 per cent. Based on this swing to the SNP from Labour and other parties, the SNP could gain between 20 and 30 additional seats.

Surrounding the Aberdeenshire constituency of Gordon in the north east of Scotland is Banff and Buchan, along with Moray to the north, both SNP since a swing in 1997. Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine to the south is Lib Dem, while Aberdeen North has traditionally been a Labour stronghold.

When it comes to Scottish parliament constituencies, the boundaries are different. This means Alex Salmond’s Aberdeenshire East constituency overlaps with his target UK parliament constituency of Gordon. The UK parliament constituency of Banff and Buchan which he represented from 1987 to 2010 is also just next door.

Despite outgoing MP Sir Malcolm Bruce telling the BBC: "People in Gordon rejected the first minister's independence plans overwhelmingly at the referendum. I am sure that they would be delighted to have the chance to reject him again in May,” many of the target electorate voted Salmond into Holyrood in 2011. Indeed the entire surrounding area in Aberdeenshire was won by the SNP.

His competition in the election is Lib Dem replacement Christine Jardine, Labour’s Braden Davy and Conservative Colin Clark.

What are the chances of them giving Salmond a run for his money? Well, here’s where they stand according to Ladbrokes:

1/7 SNP

5/1 Liberal Democrats

33/1 Labour

50/1 Conservatives

Head of political odds Matthew Shaddick said: "Salmond should be a shoo-in to return as an MP next May. This decision makes it even more likely that the SNP will become Scotland's largest party at Westminster in 2015."

Currently, the SNP has six MPs in the Commons and we can put a pretty safe bet on Salmond being at least one SNP MP heading south next year. As for the rest of Scottish power in Westminster, not even pollsters are calling it yet.

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