Labour ‘should be wary’ after independence vote

The chart shows how people in Edinburgh voted.
The chart shows how people in Edinburgh voted.
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EVERY one of Edinburgh’s parliamentary constituencies delivered a decisive No vote in the referendum, new figures have revealed.

But the SNP claims a big Yes vote in poorer areas of the Capital should be giving Labour sleepless nights ahead of next year’s Westminster general election.

The Capital had been widely predicted to vote against independence and the overall result for the city was 61 per cent No to 39 per cent Yes.

However. a breakdown of the figures shows how the votes were split in each of the city’s five Westminster seats.

Edinburgh East recorded the closest vote, with 53 per cent No and 47 per cent Yes, while Edinburgh West had the most decisive result, with 66 per cent voting No.

The city’s SNP group leader, Steve Cardownie, said although all five constituencies voted No, sampling of the votes at the count allowed the parties to get a much more detailed picture of how specific areas voted.

He said: “Undoubtedly the areas within these constituencies where Labour has traditionally been strong voted Yes in substantial numbers – places like Granton, Pilton, Craigmillar and Wester Hailes.

“Labour has more or less acknowledged that in remarks during speeches at their conference.

“Given the general election is only a few months away, people’s memories are going to be fresh with this campaign and they might well cast their votes mindful of what part each of the parties played in the referendum. Labour must be worried about that. It will be causing them a few sleepless nights.”

But Sheila Gilmore, Labour MP for Edinburgh East, insisted people voting Yes did not mean they were hostile to Labour or its policies.

She said: “Voting Yes is not the same as people’s views on how they will vote in the general election.

“There is a history of people seeing they can vote differently for different things – in UK and Scottish Parliament elections, for example.”

Figures from YouGov show there was also a clear No vote among all age groups across Scotland apart from 25 to 39-year-olds, who split 55-45 for Yes. Over-65s were 66-34 for No, 60 to 64-year-olds were 55-45 for No, 40 to 59-year-olds split 53-47 for No, and 16 to 24-year-olds 51-49 for No.

Edinburgh South West Labour MP Alistair Darling, who led the Better Together campaign, said he wanted to win over as many of the 38 per cent Yes voters in his constituency as possible.

“We have to win back a lot of support which over many years has drifted away from us. It’s not new,” he said.

“We have to show that what we have got to say is relevant – like raising the minimum wage, building more and better quality housing, creating more and better jobs. People will only vote for you if you can make a difference.”

He said as well as Labour supporters backing independence, a lot of SNP voters had voted No.

“I’m not complacent, but I’m confident we will hold the seat in nine months’ time.”

Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said next year’s general election was a completely different vote and should not be compared to the referendum.

He said: “We had a tremendous turnout in Edinburgh South – a great credit to everyone who voted. It is clear the settled will in Edinburgh South is for strengthened devolution within the UK. That’s what we were getting on the doorstep.

“But we will be doing a lot of work to listen to the people who voted Yes, to understand why they voted Yes and to deliver the change they are looking for.”

He said canvassing figures in areas such as Buckstone, the Grange and Morningside had indicated up to 70-30 for No.

“Liberton/Gilmerton and some of the less affluent areas were certainly more Yes, but still had a majority for No – maybe 60-40 or 55-45. There would be very few polling districts which went Yes.”

He said there were more Labour supporters voting No than Yes. But he added: “People want change and it’s up to us to respond.”

Mark Lazarowicz said he was not surprised by the vote in his constituency. “The result in Edinburgh North & Leith is very much in line with what I expected based on feedback on the day.

“The fact that Scotland was deeply divided by the referendum emphasises the importance of all the parties working to bring the country together and try to go forward in the common interest. We know there were Labour supporters who voted Yes and SNP supporters who voted No. That’s the nature of a referendum.

“With the kind of policies outlined by Ed Miliband at the Labour conference I think we are in a good position to win back those who want to see change and that’s what I will be working to do.”

Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart said he believed the strong No vote in his Edinburgh West constituency had been heavily influenced by people’s fears over what independence could mean for financial services.

He said: “We have tens of thousands of people employed at RBS, Lloyds, Aegon, Tesco Bank, Sainsbury’s Bank, JP Morgan – it’s like a who’s who of the financial services sector.

“That’s a lot of people whose livelihood depends on the continuing strength of the financial services sector in the city. It’s not surprising, faced by the dire predictions, that they were not prepared to risk that.”

He said the way people voted next year would be determined not so much by their choice in the referendum as by how the parties acted over more powers.

“We need to wait and see what everyone’s position is, how much political capital they invest in trying to secure the greatest possible further devolution that they can.”

Salmond denies aiming for declaration of independence

ALEX Salmond has dismissed claims that he intends to make a unilateral declaration of Scottish independence as MSPs gathered for the first time since the No vote in the referendum.

Unionist politicians raised concerns at the outgoing First Minister’s recent comments that “a referendum is only one of a number of routes” for Scotland to “improve its position in pursuit of Scottish independence”.

But Mr Salmond said: “I have no intention of a unilateral declaration of independence. I believe in referendums.”

He said the SNP would bring forward “constructive proposals” to the Smith Commission, which has been tasked with building a cross-party consensus on more powers for Scotland. Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said it was time to move on from the independence debate. She said: “We cannot spend the next two years, having moved from: ‘If you vote Yes this will happen’, to: ‘If you had voted Yes that would have happened’.”

SOUTH WEST

Yes: 24,659 (38%)

No: 39,509 (62%)

Includes: Gorgie, Craiglockhart, Sighthill, Wester Hailes, Colinton, Currie, Balerno.

MP: Alistair Darling (Labour)

Majority: 8447

WEST

Yes: 22,615 (34%)

No: 42,946 (66%)

Includes: Murrayfield, Corstorphine, Muirhouse, Cramond, South Queensferry.

MP: Mike Crockart (Liberal Democrat)

Majority: 3803

NORTH & LEITH

Yes: 28,813 (40%)

No: 43,253 (60%)

Includes: Leith, New Town, Stockbridge, Inverleith, Pilton.

MP: Mark Lazarowicz (Labour)

Majority: 1724

SOUTH

Yes: 20,340 (35%)

No: 38,298 (65%)

Includes: Morningside, Merchiston, Newington, Inch, Liberton, Gilmerton, Gracemount

MP: Ian Murray (Labour)

Majority: 316

EAST

Yes: 27,500 (47%)

No: 30,632 (53%)

Includes: Portobello, Craigentinny, Craigmillar, Lochend, Abbeyhill.

MP: Sheila Gilmore (Labour)

Majority: 9181