THE battle to win the hearts and minds of voters in Clydebank is now in full swing as the General Election approaches.

And the Clydebank Post turns the spotlight on the local constituency, examining its role in helping to decide the UK’s future direction.

Allan Faulds, who runs the Ballot Box Scotland website, casts his expert eye over the electoral landscape of West Dunbartonshire and examines the factors to be taken into consideration when attempting to predict the outcome.

Ballot Box Scotland tracks data from elections across the country and is able to provide an overview of what to expect in each constituency as the results from the December 12 vote take shape.

You can find out more by visiting

Allan writes:

AS WITH most constituencies across the Central Belt, West Dunbartonshire looked like an impenetrable Labour stronghold just a few years ago.

Even when Gemma Doyle took over from long serving MP John McFall in 2010, the kind of circumstance that often sees the incumbent party lose a few votes, she actually substantially increased Labour’s majority.

And just like those other constituencies, that wasn’t enough to prevent the SNP’s Martin Docherty-Hughes from taking the seat on a huge swing in 2015 – boosted, no doubt, by this being one of just four council areas to have voted yes to independence the year before.

Despite local voters favouring independence, Labour were still able to run the SNP close at the next election, coming just 5.2 per cent behind.

It’s always useful to remember that the SNP’s seemingly shock reversal in 2017 wasn’t just driven by people taking their votes elsewhere, but also by voters staying at home.

Turnout was down about 7,000 voters versus 2015, and about 18,000 versus the Independence referendum.

Parliamentary elections just aren’t as enthusing as a referendum, and that does make things a little bit harder for the SNP.

All that said, the wise money at this point would be on Docherty-Hughes holding his seat. Labour’s Jean-Anne Mitchell is back for a second shot at the seat, but her party are down substantially in the polls.

You could fairly point out that was true last time as well, and that they staged an incredible turnaround over the campaign, but pinning hopes on repeating that miracle in an election where Brexit is even more prominent and polarising seems naïve.

West Dunbartonshire is also quite different from some of the seats Labour won back in 2017 in that the SNP had a clear lead in the council elections the month before, especially in Clydebank. By contrast, seats like East Lothian and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath had seen Labour come out ahead in the corresponding council wards, giving the party more of a springboard for Westminster. That suggests the SNP are more deeply bedded in here and will prove harder to shift.

If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s not to get overconfident in our predictions, and there are very few seats in the west of Scotland where Labour should be written off. But for now, this looks like the SNP’s seat to lose.