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1982 Lothian Regional Council election

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Map showing results by Lothian Regional Electoral District.
Map showing results by Lothian Regional Electoral District.

The second election to Lothian Regional Council was held on 6 May 1982 and yielded a swing to the Conservatives. Whilst the Labour presence was reduced, the Conservatives were unable to win an outright majority, and both parties exited the election with 22 seats. The council Conservative group, under Brian Meek, was able to take over the council however due to support from the SDP-Liberal Alliance councillors.[1]

Turnout was 47.6%, giving the Lothians the highest regional turnout rates in the 1982 Scottish regional elections. The turnout was also an increase of 3.7% on the turnout for the 1978 elections.[2]


The Lothian Regional Council had been a key battleground in a fierce ideological battle between a new, younger generation of radical left-wing Labour activists elected in the 1980 election, and the incumbent Thatcherite Conservative government. In a precursor to the Rate-capping rebellion, several Scottish councils had refused to implement spending cuts necessitated due to a cut in funding from George Younger, the then Secretary of State for Scotland. Lothian in particular had seen its funding cut to the tune of £47 million in July 1981.[1]

The Labour leader of Lothian Regional Council; John Mulvey, pursued a policy of resisting the cuts, and claimed that Labour had a popular mandate to protect jobs and services through increasing local expenditure. The Lothian council, alongside the councils of certain other Scottish regions, planned spending above government guidelines. Younger responded by cutting the Lothian budget by a further £30 million, and the council caved in to pressure.[1]


Among the Labour councillors elected was a 29-year-old Alistair Darling, then a hardline Labour activist, who would later go on to become an MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer.[3][deprecated source]

Aggregate results

Lothian Regional election, 1982[4]
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Labour 22 Decrease4 44.90 30.65 85,452 Decrease 9.6
  Conservative 22 Increase4 44.90 30.37 84,673 Decrease 2.8
  Alliance 3 Increase2 6.12 26.14 72,860 Increase 21.7
  SNP 1 Decrease2 2.04 11.63 32,412 Decrease 8.7
  Independent 1 Steady 2.04 0.74 2,059
  Protestant Crusade Against the Papal Visit (PCAPV) 0 0.00 0.25 694 New
  Ecology 0 0.00 0.11 334
  Communist 0 0.00 0.10 288


Ward results

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  • Scottish Regional Elections 1982: Results and Statistics; J.M. Bochel and D.T. Denver
  1. ^ a b c Hassan, Gerry; Shaw, Eric (2012). The Strange Death of Labour Scotland. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1842/9136/1983_6_Towards%20a%20four%20party%20system.pdf;jsessionid=27E104652661E4C136096D50BE13D81B?sequence=1 p.74
  3. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1078636/The-time-Darling-wanted-nationalise-banks--ALL-them.html
  4. ^ https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1842/9136/1983_6_Towards%20a%20four%20party%20system.pdf;jsessionid=27E104652661E4C136096D50BE13D81B?sequence=1 p.75
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1982 Lothian Regional Council election
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