Voters across Edinburgh faced chilly conditions, torrential rain and even hailstones as they turned out at the polls

Edinburgh voters braved freezing cold, torrential downpours and the occasional hailstone shower to exercise their democratic rights yesterday.

By Joseph Anderson
Thursday, 6th May 2021, 7:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:28 pm

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Although the winner of this year’s Scottish parliamentary election isn’t in doubt - all polls suggest the SNP will once again return the largest number of seats - voters of all persuasions were motivated to cast their ballot by the possibility of another pro-independence majority, and the implication that would have for a second independence referendum.

In the capital, 401,321 were registered to vote in the election - although 102.138 voters were able to save themselves from the miserable weather by registering for postal votes. Some of the others who wrapped up to brave the conditions even brought their family dog with them in what is now becoming an election day tradition.

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Deluge conditions prevented queues forming at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Central, now vacated by former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson, is essentially a three-way marginal, with the Tories, the SNP and Labour all vying for the capital’s centre.

At the polling station in the Assembly Rooms on George Street, queues didn’t begin to form until just before lunchtime, before the social distancing guidelines forced people onto the streets outside while they waited their turn.

In the Old Town, queues streamed down the Royal Mile, while a few cheeky motorists who parked outside the polling station had their cars ticketed by vigilant parking wardens.

Some hardy souls braved the weather to queue on the Royal Mile

The Conservatives have chosen Corstorphine and Murrayfield councillor Scott Douglas to fight for the seat, while SNP veteran Angus Robertson needs just a 0.90 per cent swing to take the seat for his party.

Scottish Labour are also targeting the seat, with their candidate, Maddy Kirkman, needing a 4.19 per cent swing to steal the seat.

At Clermiston Primary School, in the Edinburgh Western constituency, voters were mercifully able to wait their turn indoors.

The constituency, which is being fought by the incumbent Liberal Democrat candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton, is a target for the SNP. The SNP’s candidate, Sarah Masson, needs a 3.73 per cent swing to gain the seat.

In Edinburgh Southern, at the Morningside United Church, residents weren't so lucky - as they got caught in a torrential downpour while having to queue down the side of the church.

Until the dissolution of parliament, the seat was held by Labour’s Daniel Johnson, but it’s a target for the SNP and the Tories.

The SNP’s Catriona MacDonald needs a 1.47 per cent swing to nab the seat, while Tory candidate and current regional list MSP Miles Briggs needs a swing of 4.74 per cent to unseat Mr Johnson.

Edinburgh City Council is holding the count at The Royal Highland Centre, near the airport, but unlike previous elections the count won’t take place overnight – instead, votes will be counted from 9.30am onwards on both Friday and Saturday.

The council will split the count equally over the two days – meaning three constituencies will be counted each day, rather than all six at once.

The Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Southern and Edinburgh Western constituencies are set to be counted on Friday, and Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, and Edinburgh Pentlands will be counted on Saturday.

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