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Results & Constituencies
 
 Western Isles
Other Labour hold
Name Party Votes % +/- %
Calum MacDonald Labour 5,924 45.0 -10.6
Alasdair Nicholson SNP 4,850 36.9 +3.5
Douglas Taylor Conservative 1,250 9.5 +2.9
John Horne Liberal Democrat 849 6.5 +3.4
Joanne Telfer Scottish Socialist 286 2.2  
Majority 1,074 8.2
Turnout 13,159 60.3 -9.8
Swing
Against 1997 General Election 7.0% from Labour to SNP
Lab-Con (against 1997) 6.7% from Labour to Conservative
Against 1999 devolution poll 3.4% from Labour to SNP

Description
The Western Isles are also known as the Outer Hebrides, and stretch from the Butt of Lewis in the north to Vatersay in the south - a distance of 130 miles. The electorate is less than 23,000 - about half that of most Scottish constituencies.

Lewis is the largest island, but others include Harris, the two Uists (North and South) and Benbecula, from where Bonnie Prince Charlie sailed "over the sea to Skye".

Crofting, fishing, limited tourism and cottage industries are the basis of the local economy, along with the manufacture of Harris tweed - the islands' most famous export. The Isles are remote from the mainland in culture as well as distance. Some 68% of inhabitants are Gaelic speakers. The Gaelic name for the Western Isles is Na h-Eileanan Siar.

This seat has historical significance for both the SNP and the Labour party. Malcolm K Macmillan took the seat for Labour in 1935, making it the first non-urban/industrial seat that the party had won. He held it until 1970 when he was defeated by the SNP’s Donald Stewart. This was the first time the SNP had won a seat at a general election.

Past Results

1997 General Election
 Western Isles
Labour hold
Name Party Votes %
Calum MacDonald Labour 8,955 55.6
Anne Lorne Gillies SNP 5,379 33.4
James McGrigor Conservative 1,071 6.6
Neil Mitchison Liberal Democrat 495 3.1
Ralph Lionel Referendum 206 1.3
Majority 3,576 22.2
Turnout 16,106 70.1
1999 Scottish Parliamentary Election
 Western Isles
Labour win
Name Party Votes %
Alasdair Morrison Labour 7,248 51.9
Alasdair Nicholson SNP 5,155 36.9
Jamie MacGrigor Conservative 1,095 7.8
John Horne Liberal Democrat 456 3.3
Majority 2,093 15.0
Turnout 13,954 61.7
 
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