The student vote could help elect Jo Swinson as MP for East Dunbartonshire
Two student polls published this week have boosted the Liberal Democrat campaign to capture the East Dunbartonshire seat at the General Election.
The Unite Students Experience Report 2005 and a poll for the Times High Education Supplement both showed that the Lib Dems were the top choice among students deciding how to cast their vote in the General Election, with the Lib Dems on 34% and 31% respectively.
The new East Dunbartonshire constituency has 5213 students. The notional Labour majority over the Lib Dems is just 2601, so these votes could swing the seat to Lib Dem Jo Swinson at the election. In the East Dunbartonshire the student vote is important because such a large proportion of school leavers go on to higher or further education (64%), compared to the Scottish average (50%).
Local Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson Jo Swinson said, "This is excellent news. It's not surprising that students are turning towards the Lib Dems and away from Labour - tuition fees, top-up fees, and the war in Iraq are all issues that many students care about. In Scotland pressure from the Liberal Democrats led to the abolition of student tuition fees, but you just have to look at the introduction of top-up fees in England & Wales to see how Labour treat students."
"East Dunbartonshire has been tipped as one of the marginal constituencies to watch between Labour and the Lib Dems at the election, and the student vote could be a key factor in helping the Lib Dems capture the seat."
Jo Swinson has been campaigning on student issues for many years, and was instrumental in shaping the Lib Dem policy of opposing tuition fees which led to their abolition in Scotland. She also launched the campaign website to abolish tuition fees www.scraptuitionfees.com, as reported in the Milngavie & Bearsden Herald in 2000.