Falkirk (UK Parliament constituency)

Falkirk is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created for the 2005 general election, replacing Falkirk West and part of Falkirk East. At the 2015 general election, it was the seat with the largest majority for the SNP as well as the seat with the largest majority for any party in Scotland. At the 2019 general election it again had the highest numerical majority of any SNP-won seat in Scotland, although other seats, including Aberdeen North, had higher majorities in percentage terms.[1]

Falkirk
County constituency
for the House of Commons
Outline map
Boundary of Falkirk in
Subdivisions of ScotlandFalkirk
Major settlementsCamelon, Falkirk, Larbert, Polmont
Current constituency
Created2005
Member of ParliamentJohn McNally (SNP)
Created fromFalkirk West and Falkirk East

The constituency takes in the town of the same name and stretches west to include Denny, Stenhousemuir and Banknock.

BoundariesEdit

Falkirk has been joined by most of the various sized towns and villages of its council area in this new seat, including Airth, Bainsford, Banknock, Bonnybridge, Brightons, Camelon Carronshore, Denny, Falkirk, Glen Village/Hallglen, Head of Muir, Larbert, Laurieston, Polmont, Redding, Shieldhill, Stenhousemuir, Tamfourhill and Westquarter. A south eastern arm of the seat curls around Grangemouth. The seat sits to the south of the River Forth.[2]

HistoryEdit

2013 Labour selection irregularitiesEdit

The Labour Party leadership was embroiled in a row with the Unite the Union over the selection of a candidate to replace disgraced former Labour MP Eric Joyce. In 2013, local officials of Unite, led by Len McCluskey, were accused of abusing membership procedures by "bulk-buying" and "packing" the Falkirk Constituency Labour Party with their own members in an attempt to get their preferred candidate, Karie Murphy (Labour election chief Tom Watson's office manager), selected.[3] Unite was alleged to have signed up and paid the subscriptions for over 100 new party members in Falkirk, some of them allegedly unaware they were joining the Labour Party.

A leaked Unite document from December 2012 detailed its activity in Falkirk as "exemplary" for the way in which "we have recruited well over 100 Unite members to the party in a constituency with less than 200 members. 57 came from responses to a text message alone, (followed up face to face). A collective effort locally, but led and inspired by the potential candidate".[4]

On 25 June 2013, Falkirk CLP was placed in "special measures" by the National Executive Committee at an emergency meeting after an internal report found "sufficient evidence for concern about the legitimacy of some new recruits to the Falkirk party." Under Labour's rules, the Central party takes control over a constituency party when in special measures and directly runs the parliamentary selection process. All members who had joined the constituency party in Falkirk after 12 March 2012 (the date Eric Joyce announced he would not stand for re-election) had their memberships suspended.[5] Unite union responded to the NEC's disciplinary measure in a press statement:

“Unite rejects the decisions taken today by the Labour Party in relation to the Falkirk West selection process. It does so on behalf of the many decent trade unionists who have joined the Party in good faith and are now to be denied any say in the choice of their Labour parliamentary candidate. None of the allegations contained in the report of the so-called “investigation” have been put to Unite in clear breach of natural justice. The intervention by Party officials into this process has been driven by Blairite pressure to exclude trade unionists from any influence in the Party, an ambition clearly spelled out by Peter Mandelson last month. Trade unionists will draw their own conclusions regarding the integrity of the Party’s procedures.”[6]

In July, Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband blamed "a few individuals" for vote-rigging in Falkirk, saying: "Instead of defending what happened in Falkirk, Len McCluskey should be facing up to his responsibilities. He should not be defending the machine politics involving bad practice and malpractice that went on there, he should be facing up to it."[7] As the controversy grew, Tom Watson, a former flatmate of McCluskey, resigned on 4 July from the Shadow Cabinet. Unite's favoured candidate Karie Murphy (a close friend of McCluskey) and the Falkirk CLP chairman Stephen Deans (who is also chair of the Unite trade union in Scotland) were also suspended by Labour HQ on the same day. The internal Labour Party investigation report into the matter was handed on 5 July to the Scottish police service. A Labour spokesperson said: "Until yesterday our advice was that there was no evidence of criminality. That changed after the solicitor took a look at it."[8]

Len McCluskey rejected the NEC report's allegations that the Falkirk CLP selection was fixed as "smears" against Unite. He called on Ed Miliband for the internal party report to be published for "everyone to see" and for Miliband to set up an independent inquiry with the credibility to establish the truth.[9] In an article for The Guardian, the sitting MP Eric Joyce called the actions of certain Unite officials in Falkirk as "amateurish, hubristic and irresponsible".[10] The National Executive Committee confirmed it would impose an all women shortlist on the Falkirk CLP.[11]

Members of ParliamentEdit

This seat was formed from Falkirk West and much of Falkirk East.

Election Member[12] Party Notes
2005

Eric Joyce

Labour MP for Falkirk West from 2000
2012[13] Independent
2015 John McNally SNP

Election resultsEdit

Elections in the 2010sEdit

General election 2019: Falkirk[14][15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP John McNally 29,351 52.5 +13.6
Conservative Lynn Munro 14,403 25.8 -0.4
Labour Safia Ali 6,243 11.2 -18.6
Liberal Democrats Austin Reid 3,990 7.1 +5.0
Scottish Green Tom McLaughlin 1,885 3.4 +1.7
Majority 14,948 26.7 +17.6
Turnout 55,872 66.1 +0.6
SNP hold Swing +7.0

Safia Ali was suspended by the Labour Party over allegations that she made anti-Semitic posts on Facebook. Because nominations had closed at the time of her suspension, she still appeared on the ballot paper as the Labour candidate.[16] The fall in the Labour Party's vote share of 18.6% was the worst that the party suffered in Scotland, and the 11th worst in the 630 seats it contested in the United Kingdom, at this election.[17]

This was the largest numerical majority in Scotland at the 2019 general election.[18]

General election 2017: Falkirk[19][20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP John McNally 20,952 38.9 -18.8
Labour Craig Martin 16,029 29.8 +4.7
Conservative Callum Laidlaw 14,088 26.2 +14.1
Liberal Democrats Austin Reid 1,120 2.1 +0.1
Scottish Green Debra Pickering 908 1.7 New
UKIP Stuart Martin 712 1.3 -1.7
Majority 4,923 9.1 -23.5
Turnout 53,809 65.5 -6.9
SNP hold Swing —11.8
General election 2015: Falkirk[21][19][22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP John McNally 34,831 57.7 +27.4
Labour Karen Whitefield 15,130 25.1 -20.6
Conservative Alison Harris 7,325 12.1 +0.9
UKIP David Coburn 1,829 3.0 +0.5
Liberal Democrats Galen Milne 1,225 2.0 -8.3
Majority 19,701 32.6 N/A
Turnout 60,340 72.4 +10.4
SNP gain from Labour Swing +24.1
General election 2010: Falkirk[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Eric Joyce 23,207 45.7 -5.2
SNP John McNally 15,364 30.3 +8.9
Conservative Katie Mackie 5,698 11.2 +1.3
Liberal Democrats Kieran Leach 5,225 10.3 -5.7
UKIP Brian Goldie 1,283 2.5 New
Majority 7,843 15.4 -15.9
Turnout 50,777 62.0 +2.4
Labour hold Swing -7.0

Elections in the 2000sEdit

General election 2005: Falkirk[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Eric Joyce 23,264 50.9 -2.9
SNP Laura Love 9,789 21.4 -2.2
Liberal Democrats Callum Chomczuk 7,321 16.0 +9.2
Conservative David Potts 4,538 9.9 +1.5
Scottish Socialist Danny Quinlan 838 1.8 -0.5
Majority 13,475 29.5
Turnout 45,750 59.6 +2.2
Labour hold Swing -0.4

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Times Guide to the House of Commons 2019. Glasgow: Times Books. 2020. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1.
  2. ^ Falkirk: Westminster Parliamentary Constituency (map, 2015), Falkirk Council
  3. ^ Grice, Andrew (5 July 2013). "Labour hands evidence of Falkirk 'ballot-rigging' by Unite to police". The Independent. London.
  4. ^ "Election countdown: 96 weeks to go". BBC News. 6 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Falkirk Labour party memberships frozen over selection fears | Stirling & Central | News". 3 March 2016. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Falkirk CLP placed in "special measures" over selection allegations". LabourList. 25 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Miliband calls police over claims of rigging". Gulf-Times. 6 July 2013.
  8. ^ Stacey, Kiran (5 July 2013). "Why has Labour handed its Falkirk file to the police?". www.ft.com.
  9. ^ "Labour 'to pass report on Falkirk candidate selection row to police' | Stirling & Central | News". 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  10. ^ Joyce, Eric (5 July 2013). "Unite in Falkirk: amateur and irresponsible". The Guardian. London.
  11. ^ "Falkirk Labour selection process moves ahead as row rumbles on - Falkirk Herald". 10 June 2015. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015.
  12. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "F"
  13. ^ "Labour suspends MP Eric Joyce after Commons 'assault'". BBC News. 23 February 2012.
  14. ^ "UK Parliamentary General Election Election 2019". Falkirk Council. Falkirk Council. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Falkirk parliamentary constituency - Election 2019" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  16. ^ "General election 2019: Labour candidate removed over anti-Semitism claims". BBC News. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  17. ^ The Times Guide to the House of Commons 2019. Glasgow: Times Books. 2020. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-00-839258-1.
  18. ^ http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8749/CBP-8749.pdf
  19. ^ a b "Election results - Westminster Parliamentary election | Falkirk Council". www.falkirk.gov.uk.
  20. ^ "Falkirk". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Election Data 2015". Electoral Calculus. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Falkirk". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Falkirk constituency". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 July 2010.