West Lothian: SNP win Livingston and Linlithgow

Martyn Day and Hannah Bardell celebrate victory. Picture: Neil Hanna
Martyn Day and Hannah Bardell celebrate victory. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Both SNP candidates kept their end up in West Lothian for the Livingston and Linlithgow & East Falkirk constituencies.

Hannah Bardell (Livingston) and Martyn Day trounced Labour rivals Graeme Morrice and long-serving Michael Connarty. Bardell beat Morrice by 32,736 votes to 15,893 in Livingston while Day overcame Connarty by 32,055 votes to 19,121 on a momentous General Election night.

Turnout for the Linlithgow & East Falkirk seat was 70.9 per cent with a total of 61,687 votes cast. This was up 7.3 per cent on the 2010 vote. In Livingston it was 70 per cent with 57,631 votes, up 6.9 per cent from the last election.

Bardell won back some family pride by ousting Morrice who was the man who beat her mum Lis five years ago to be elected to the seat.

After her win she said: “I would like to thank the people of this constituency for placing their faith in me and placing their faith in the SNP.

“However people voted I will seek to represent them to the best of my ability. It is indeed the privilege of a lifetime to be elected in my home area which has offered me so many opportunities and so much support.

“If this election has been about any one thing more than the other it has been about people’s right to hope. To hope for the voice of Scotland and the demand for more progressive policies across the UK will be heard at Westminster.”

Graeme Morrice said: “It’s been, from my point of view, a very excellent campaign. It has been a great privilege to have represented the people in this great constituency for the last five years in Parliament and, of course, as a local government councillor for many many years on West Lothian Council.

“I’m sure Hannah will do a good job in the constituency and in parliament. She ran a good campaign as you can see form the outcome this evening, but of course it also is a national trend across Scotland tonight.”

Michael Connarty, 67, who has served as an MP for 23 years, bowed out of frontline politics after his defeat with criticism for the SNP and said he will now focus on helping to rebuild the party he loves behind the scenes.

He said: “I congratulate Martin on his win and for the way this election has been carried out.

“I think basically what’s happened is that people have been taken in by the big campaign, the cult of personality of Nicola Sturgeon and they’ve gone for it here as much as they’ve gone for it anywhere else.

“I’ve had people saying to me on the doorstep ‘look Michael up until now I’ve never voted for anyone else but after the referendum it’s changed’, and that’s fine. I don’t do politics for personal reasons, I do it because I think we have a great programme, our manifesto has been first class across the UK but what happened of course is the bounce using Scottish nationalism to frighten the English into English nationalism so it’s a vote for a Tory government and the prospect of just watching all these people we send down there for the SNP as a voice for Scotland will simply just be a rabble because they won’t have any effect.

“What we’ve got is a very strong party and we’ll be challenging them to deliver what they promised to deliver.

“For me I don’t have any sense of personal loss because I don’t do it for personal reasons but I do think the people got conned. I do respect the voters’ rights to do that but they will find out the SNP won’t have any power in a Tory government.”

Linlithgow & Falkirk East victor Martyn Day, who had the youngest election agent in Scotland, disagreed, saying: “I’m almost speechless. It’s been a brilliant result and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to us getting that. I’d like to pay particular tribute to Michael Connarty for his sterling years of service as local MP.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to the many who have went before me because this victory is not just for today, it’s built on years of service and the national movement in this area has came a very long way.

“I also pay tribute to my great friend and mentor, Billy Wolfe, who is no longer with us. Billy more than anyone taught me about truth and honesty in politics. I will make a solemn promise that I will follow in Billy’s footsteps and fight against the renewal of Trident missiles.”

“I pledge that I will fight as hard as I possibly can for every single constituent in this constituency. It doesn’t matter how they voted in the referendum, it doesn’t matter how they voted in this election, I will fight tooth and nail for their interests.

“I will fight tooth and nail to make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster and make sure we have power.

In third in Livingston was Conservative Christopher Donnelly with 5929 votes, then UKIP’s Nathan Somerville with 1757 with the Lib Dems’ Charles Dundas on 1232. There were 84 rejected votes.

In Linlithgow & Falkirk East, Tory Sandy Batho came third with 7384 votes followed by UKIP’s Alistair Forrest on 1683, the Lib Dems’ Emma Farthing-Sykes on 1252 and Neil McIvor from the right wing National Front with 103. There were 90 rejected votes.