Edinburgh Central (Scottish Parliament constituency)

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Edinburgh Central
burgh constituency
for the Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh Central (Scottish Parliament constituency).svg
Lothian (Scottish Parliament electoral region).svg
Edinburgh Central shown within the Lothian electoral region and the region shown within Scotland
Current constituency
PartyScottish Conservative Party
MSPRuth Davidson MSP
Council areaCity of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Central is a burgh constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood). It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the plurality (first past the post) method of election. Also, it is one of nine constituencies in the Lothian electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to nine constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

The constituency was created with the name and boundaries of a constituency of the Edinburgh Central UK Parliament constituency.

Since 1999, the constituency MSP has been an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of the National Library of Scotland. From 1925 until 1999, that role had been taken by the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Westminster constituency.

The constituency was one of the few areas to vote "Yes" in the 2011 UK Alternative Vote referendum held on the same day as the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.

Electoral region[edit]

The other eight constituencies of the Lothian region are Almond Valley, Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Edinburgh Pentlands, Edinburgh Southern, Edinburgh Western, Linlithgow and Midlothian North and Musselburgh

The region includes all of the City of Edinburgh council area, parts of the East Lothian council area, parts of the Midlothian council area and all of the West Lothian council area.

Constituency boundaries and council area[edit]

The City of Edinburgh is represented in the Scottish Parliament by six constituencies: Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Edinburgh Pentlands, Edinburgh Southern and Edinburgh Western.

The Edinburgh Central constituency was created at the same time as the Scottish Parliament, in 1999, with the name and boundaries of an existing Westminster constituency. In 2005, however, Scottish Westminster (House of Commons) constituencies were mostly replaced with new constituencies.[1]

As part of the First Periodic Review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries the boundaries of the constituency were changed before the 2011 Scottish Parliament election; each electoral ward used in the creation of the redrawn Central is split, shared with neighbouring constituencies.

Constituency profile and voting patterns[edit]

Constituency profile[edit]

The Edinburgh Central constituency is situated in the central-north of the City of Edinburgh; the constituency is a major tourist, financial and retail centre, covering Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, Princes Street, Hay Market, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Castle and the Scottish Parliament building itself.

The north and west of the constituency is very affluent, covering Victorian suburbs such as Craigleith, Murrayfield, Stockbridge and Orchard Brae, in addition Edinburgh's well-off West End. There is some deprivation towards the south and east of the constituency around Dalry, Dumbiedykes and in patches of Edinburgh's Old Town, although overall the constituency is very affluent.[2]

Voting patterns[edit]

In the 2007 City of Edinburgh local council election, the Liberal Democrats emerged as the largest party in wards covered by the Edinburgh Central constituency. In the 2012 local election, the Conservatives and Scottish National Party formed the two largest parties in the area; the Conservatives were ahead in 6 of the 8 electoral wards covering the Edinburgh Central constituency in the 2017 City of Edinburgh local council election.

Traditionally this constituency has been represented by the Labour Party, with the Liberal Democrats forming the main opposition. From the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 until the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, the constituency of Edinburgh Central was represented by Labour's Sarah Boyack. With a re-arrangement of the constituency boundaries in 2011, which would have been won by the Liberal Democrats in 2007, the constituency narrowly returned the SNP's Marco Biagi, who gained the constituency with a slender majority of 237 votes. In 2016 the Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson, gained the constituency from the SNP with a majority of 610 votes.

In the UK Parliament, the Edinburgh Central constituency was represented by the Labour Party almost continuously from the 1945 UK general election until the constituency was abolished in 2005, voting Conservative once in 1983.

Member of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

Election Member Party
1999 Sarah Boyack Scottish Labour Party
2011 Marco Biagi Scottish National Party
2016 Ruth Davidson Scottish Conservative Party

Election results[edit]

Constituency votes[edit]

2016 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
Conservative Green tickY Ruth Davidson 10,399 30.4% Increase15.4% 9,946 29.1% Increase21.5%
SNP Alison Dickie 9,789 28.6% Decrease4.0% 8,962 26.2% Decrease16.6%
Labour Sarah Boyack 7,546 22.1% Decrease9.8% 5,899 17.3% Decrease13.7%
Scottish Green Alison Johnstone 4,644 13.6% Increase13.6% 5,799 17.0% Increase13.3%
Liberal Democrats Hannah Bettsworth 1,672 4.9% Decrease15.6% 2,048 6.0% Increase3.2%
Libertarian Tom Laird 119 0.3 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Women’s Equality   743 2.2% N/A
UKIP   395 1.2% Increase0.6%
RISE   284 0.8% N/A
Solidarity   90 0.3% N/A
Informal votes 107 68
Total Valid votes 34,276 34,166
Conservative gain from SNP Majority 610 1.8% N/A

The seat underwent boundary changes between the 2007 and 2011 elections.

2011 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±
SNP Marco Biagi 9,480 32.7 N/A
Labour Sarah Boyack 9,243 31.9 N/A
Liberal Democrats Alex Cole-Hamilton 5,937 20.5 N/A
Conservative Iain McGill 4,354 15.0 N/A
Majority 237 0.8
Turnout 29,014 54.5
SNP win (new seat)
2007 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sarah Boyack 9,155 31.1 -1.3
Liberal Democrats Siobhan Mathers 7,962 27.1 +4.3
SNP Shirley-Anne Somerville 7,496 25.5 +7.8
Conservative Fiona Houston 4,783 16.3 -0.8
Majority 1,193 4.1 -5.42
Turnout 29,396 52.9 +6.8
Labour hold Swing -2.8
2003 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sarah Boyack 9,066 32.36 −5.66
Liberal Democrats Andy Myles 6,400 22.85 +6.31
SNP Kevin Pringle 4,965 17.72 −7.93
Conservative Peter Finnie 4,802 17.14 +1.05
Scottish Socialist Catriona Grant 2,552 9.11 +6.89
Scottish Peoples Alliance James O'Neill 229 0.82 +0.82
Majority 2,666 9.52 −2.85
Turnout 28,014 46.06 −10.67
Labour hold Swing -5.99
1999 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Sarah Boyack 14,224 38.02 N/A
SNP Ian McKee 9,598 25.65 N/A
Liberal Democrats Andy Myles 6,187 16.54 N/A
Conservative Jacqui Low 6,018 16.09 N/A
Scottish Socialist Kevin Williamson 830 2.22 N/A
Majority 4,626 12.37 N/A
Turnout 36,857
Labour win (new seat)

Regional List votes[edit]

2011 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central (additional member vote)
List Candidates Votes % ±
SNP Regional list 8,768 30.0 +7.1
Labour Regional list 5,716 19.6 -2.9
Conservative Regional list 4,659 15.9 +2.2
Scottish Green Regional list 4,213 14.4 +2.3
Liberal Democrats Regional list 2,849 9.7 -5.7
Independent Margo MacDonald 1,988 6.8 +0.6
Others Regional lists 1,037 3.5 -3.7
Turnout 29,230 54.5
2007 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central (additional member vote)
List Candidates Votes % ±
SNP Regional list 6,876 22.9
Labour Regional list 6,756 22.5
Liberal Democrats Regional list 4,621 15.4
Conservative Regional list 4,107 13.7
Scottish Green Regional list 3,619 12.1
Independent Margo MacDonald 1,844 6.2
Others Regional lists 2,172 7.2
Turnout 29,995
2003 Scottish Parliament election: Edinburgh Central (additional member vote)
List Candidates Votes % ±
Scottish Green Regional list 5,534 19.6
Labour Regional list 5,278 18.7
Conservative Regional list 4,328 15.3
SNP Regional list 3,425 12.1
Liberal Democrats Regional list 3,258 11.5
Independent Margo MacDonald 2,817 9.9
Others Regional lists 3,602 12.8
Turnout 28,242


  1. ^ See The 5th Periodical Report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland Archived September 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) 2016". Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016.
  3. ^ Statement of Persons Nominated Edinburgh Council


See also[edit]