Labour make Scottish Gain in Fife
Only one by election this week in Fife in Scotland. A gain was inevitable as it was an independent who had stood down and there was no independent candidate on this occasion leaving the contest a battle between Labour and the SNP. Recently there has been evidence of a hardening of the Unionist vote behind whomever is best placed to take on the SNP and also evidence in local contests where the single transferable vote is used of Unionists using other preferences to try and beat the SNP.
That trend continued here. Labour had a good lead from 2012 and while the SNP vote was up 17% on the 2012 result and they did take most of the Independent vote, Labour’s vote held up to give them a good lead on first preferences and sure enough, the hardening of unionist vote transfers including from the Conservative, whose vote was up 7% on 2012, was enough to see Labour victorious and make the gain.
This should not be seen as a sign the SNP is doing badly, there vote was still well up more than any other party. But the hardening of the Unionist vote is ensuring the previous sense of SNP invincibility they have had as of late is no longer the default position and that they can be beaten. The result sees little change on the UK Projected share with the Conservatives still 4.2% ahead of Labour. All the latest figures can be found here