It’s exactly one month to go until the General Election – who is standing in Linlithgow and East Falkirk?

With exactly one month to go until the General Election, we take a closer look at the Linlithgow and East Falkirk Seat.

The SNP, Green Party, Labour Party, Conservative and Lib Dem Candidates have all been named, whilst the Brexit party candidate is either still to be made public, or will not stand.

On current polling, Linlithgow and East Falkirk should be considered a safe SNP seat with the Electoral Calculus Ltd calculating the probability that Martyn Day will be returned as MP at 68%, with a predicted majority of 16.5%.

SNP – Martyn Day – Sitting MP

Born in Falkirk, Martyn Day was brought up in Linlithgow and attended Linlithgow Academy. Prior to his political career, he worked for the Bank of Scotland as a personal banking manager.

Day was selected to contest the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency at the 2015 UK general election in which he defeated the sitting Labour MP, Michael Connarty. He received 32,055 votes and a 52.0% share of the vote. He retained his seat at the 2017 snap election; albeit with a reduced majority of 2,919 votes.

Whilst current polling suggests Day will increase his majority, there are challenges to overcome. Firstly, unlike in the 2017 General Election, the Green Party is standing. He will look to heavily squeeze this vote, but may lose a few hundred ‘hard’ green voters who previously voted SNP. Secondly, if the Brexit Party do not stand, the pro-Brexit vote will not split and will benefit the Conservative share of the vote. However, given West Lothian voted 58.3% remain, he should in theory benefit from tactical remain voting.

Despite the challenges to overcome, there are good reasons why Day could increase his majority. The relatively contentious choice of Labour candidate could well benefit the SNP, and Lib Dem voters not wanting to bring in a Conservative government could also tactically vote SNP.

Green Party – Gillian Mackay

Gillian is Co-Convenor of the Scottish Young Greens and is a Marine Biologist. She played a key role in the Lothian 2016 Holyrood campaign which saw two Green MSPs returned to Holyrood. She is now based in the Scottish Parliament working as part of the Scottish Green MSPs’ team. However, with no Green candidate standing in the seat at the 2017 election and no current Green councillors on either Falkirk or West Lothian Council, it will be an uphill struggle for Mackay to retain her deposit.

The Labour Party – Wendy Milne

Wendy Milne was selected as the Labour candidate in July last year. Upon selection she stated, “I am currently the chairperson of Linlithgow Constituency Labour Party and I was encouraged and supported to put myself forward for selection by local members.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman at the time added: “Wendy Milne has been an active member of the Labour Party for over twelve years, having re-joined in 2006.”

For some though, Wendy Milne has been a controversial choice of candidate. In 1990 Wendy Milne was one of those purged from the Labour party as part of Neil Kinnock’s  clearing out Militant, and in 2001 she went on to stand as the Scottish Socialist candidate in Livingston against then Labour MP Robin Cook.

Liberal Democrats – Sally Pattle

Convener of the West Lothian Liberal Democrats, Sally Pattle runs Far From The Madding Crowd, Linlithgow’s award-winning bookshop. She has previously been a candidate for the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the local council elections and the snap general election in 2017, where she secured 3.4% of the vote. The Lib Dems will be hoping to increase their vote share in the seat, but any new voters might be counter-balanced by previous voters switching allegiance to tactically vote for SNP or Labour, and to the Greens.

The Conservative Party – Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy was raised and educated in West Lothian. He has been a resident of Bathgate for 20 years where he is currently a local councillor. For over 40 years has been employed within the construction industry as a Quantity Surveyor/Commercial Manager.

He led the West Lothian Better Together campaign during the 2014 referendum. He stood as Conservative Candidate at the 2017 election where he secured third place with 29.1% of the vote. On current polling, the Conservatives might perform relatively well and push Labour into second place, though much will depend on whether the Brexit party chooses to stand a candidate in the seat.

Brexit Party – Not known

Winchburgh Calendar launches to raise funds for volunteering charity

A Winchburgh calendar has been launched to raise funds for the Project Trust. It features well-known Winchburgh scenes and landmarks and all photos were taken by local artists.

The calendar sells for £8 and is available from the Tally Ho pub or Brodie’s Bistro. Alternatively, copies can be ordered through the Winchburgh Calendar Facebook page.

All monies raised will go towards The Project Trust, an organisation which has provided gap year volunteering opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. There have been over 7000 Project Trust volunteers since 1967. One such volunteer next summer will be Winchburgh resident Rosie Scotland, who will be a Project Trust volunteer in India.



West Lothian schools score well in Scottish League Table results

Every school in Scotland has been ranked from best to worst – and it’s relatively good news if you live in West Lothian.

Performance levels of pupils across the country have been graded in a league table, based on the percentage of schoolkids gaining five or more highers.

Figures, published by The Times, sees Glasgow’s Jordanhill Secondary School top the chart, as 83 percent of pupils attained five or more awards at SCQF Level 6, the equivalent of highers.

Top of the class in West Lothian was Linlithgow Academy, which came in 24th place, with 56% of pupils attaining 5 of more awards at SCQF Level 6.

At the bottom of the league, Northfield Academy in Aberdeen saw just seven per cent of pupils walk away with five SCQF Level 6 awards. It was closely followed by Lochend Community High School in Glasgow and Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes Education Centre which scored eight per cent each.

Out of a total of 339 Scottish schools ranked, West Lothian’s 11 schools had an average ranking of 110, compared to a national average of 169.5.

24 Linlithgow Academy, West Lothian (56%)

54 St Margaret’s Academy, West Lothian (47%)

55 West Calder High School, West Lothian (47%)

80 Broxburn Academy, West Lothian (44%)

85 The James Young High School, West Lothian (43%)

105 St Kentigern’s Academy, West Lothian (40%)

117 Inveralmond Community High School, West Lothian (39%)

133 Whitburn Academy, West Lothian (37%)

174 Deans Community High School, West Lothian (33%)

185 Armadale Academy, West Lothian (32%)

200 Bathgate Academy, West Lothian (31%)