Labour hold on

MANY predicted Eastwood would turn blue during these elections — however Labour’s Ken Macintosh managed to retain the seat for his fourth term.

Allan Stewart’s win in the 1992 general election was the last time a Conservative won a seat in Eastwood or East Renfrewshire in either Westminister or Holyrood.

Early notional results for the new constituency predicted a Conservative win by more than 10 per cent.

However, since Labour’s Jim Murphy was elected in 1997, more than 1,800 houses have been built in East Renfrewshire, bringing in many young families attracted by the area’s schools, which has changed the demographic.

That, and the Liberal Democrat vote has all but disappeared — as seen when candidate Gordon Cochrane pulled in a deposit-losing haul of just 835 votes last week.

Conservative Jackson Carlaw was defeated despite an ultra-local campaign which resonated with many voters, focusing on issues such as the potential incinerator and claims of East Renfrewshire cash being spent disproportionately on Barrhead.

He maintains that Eastwood remains a “strong Conservative seat but the notional vote did not take into account the collapse of the Liberal Democrats.

“Ken Macintosh has been a diligent, local MSP and that will have swayed some voters — but that does not mean Eastwood will stay with Labour in the future”.

Labour’s Ken Macintosh continues to stress that Conservative remains “the only threat to Labour in Eastwood and East Renfrewshire” and was “shocked and humbled” that he managed to keep his seat.

“Jim and I are typical of the people who vote for us, they have settled down in a nice area where their children can grow up and go to good schools.

“But if this was in England, I imagine it would be a Tory seat”.

SNP capitalised on the demise of the Lib Dems throughout Scotland, and the same can be said for Stewart Maxwell in Eastwood, who increased his share of the vote to 24.4%.

The Giffnock man believes, as does Jackson Carlaw, that Ken Macintosh’s insistence that Eastwood remains a two-horse race is “well off the mark”.

He added: “Eastwood is a three-way contest. The Tories are a toxic brand in Scotland, while our support continues to grow as new, young voters are far more likely to vote SNP.”

He believes voters have responded to his “party’s positive message and we have been rewarded for running a competent government with high-class ministers”.

All three candidates will continue to represent the local community as Jackson Carlaw and Stewart Maxwell were elected as West of Scotland list MSPs.