Labour’s loss to the Conservatives in 2015 overshadowed what was arguably an even worse result – a paradigm shift, even – under former leader Ed Miliband: annihilation in Scotland.
The loss of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 should by most pundits’ reckoning have wiped out the Scottish National Party (SNP). They didn’t get the memo, with the party under First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (an MSP, not an MP) winning a stunning 56 seats.
The SNP will struggle to better that, if only because the results were so stellar last time around, with 56 seats out of 59.
Indeed, the SNP’s big beasts could see some of the 2015 euphoria wear off, with their leader in the Commons, Angus Robertson, an eager Remainer in Moray (declaring at around 3am on 9 June), one of Scotland’s most Brexit-supporting constituencies.
Former SNP leader turned chief mischief-maker Alex Salmond will find out at around 4:30am how he does in his Gordon seat.
The holdouts from the SNP last time include the Liberal Democrat’s northern outpost in Orkney and Shetland (4am), where Alistair Carmichael held on to an 817 majority, and the Tories’ Scottish secretary David Mundell in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (to declare at 4am as well).
Jim Murray in Edinburgh South was the only Labour seat to survive the 2015 rout. Scotland will be a key testing ground for the performance of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who believes a leftward swing will help the party beat back the SNP.
The scale of that challenge is evident from some of the former Labour strongholds. Majorities of over 10,000 were almost routine for the SNP in 2015 in dyed-red-in-the-wool Glasgow. Scotland’s second city will see a rash of seven results around 3am.
Meanwhile in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, seat of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the SNP’s Roger Mullin will take some beating at 2am, with a majority of 9,974.
In Dunbartonshire East, north of Glasgow, Jo Swinson will try to take back the SNP’s second most marginal seat at around 3am. A Tory gain is also possible in Berwickshire Roxburgh and Selkirk, with a narrow majority of 328 for the SNP’s Calum Kerr over John Lamont in 2015 (declaring at around 4:30am).