Barber John McNally cuts Labour in Falkirk and wins largest majority in Scotland for SNP

John McNally cartoon by Jim Barker after 2015 General Election
John McNally cartoon by Jim Barker after 2015 General Election

Life for Denny barber John McNally changed forever in the early hours of last Friday when he was elected to Westminster.

After 10 years as a councillor his emphatic victory saw him off to London and a seat in Parliament representing the people of Falkirk.

John McNally won the Falkirk constituency with a majority of 19,701

John McNally won the Falkirk constituency with a majority of 19,701

While many had been predicting his success in the days leading up to the May 7 General Election, few even among his own party, must have anticipated the landslide of public support that gave him his mammoth majority.

Anyone expecting a close-run contest, even a recount, would quickly have changed their mind as the votes for the SNP man piled ... and piled up.

Over 60,000 in the constituency went to the polls, over 72.4 per cent of those eligible to vote and 10 per cent more than at the election five years ago.

When the result was announced shortly after 2.30 a.m. he had polled almost 58 per cent of the vote with a huge 19,701 majority - the third largest in the UK.

I never had any ambitions for myself, only for the people in the community I represent to do what I can to help them when I can

John McNally MP

Only Prime Minister David Cameron and cabinet minister Thersea May won a bigger share of the vote.

His 34,831 votes saw him take care of allcomers, with both UKIP’s David Coburn and Galen Milne for the Lib Dems – who didn’t even bother to turn up the Grangemouth Sports Centre for the count – losing their deposits.

But turning round the fortunes of the SNP isn’t new for him: in 2005 he won the Herbertshire by-election with a 24 per cent swing from Labour.

His first taste of standing for Westminster appears to have stood him in good stead after his disappointment at coming second to Labour’s Eric Joyce in 2010.

Not that the new MP wanted to make any reference to the man he was replacing. Declining to comment on his predecessor, instead he chose to talk about the man who for many years had been synonymous with the then Falkirk West constituency.

Mr McNally (64), who joined the SNP 15 years ago, and for the last 10 years has represented Denny on Falkirk Council, said he had not come into politics for personal gain or plaudits.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that one day I would end up in Westminster.

“I never had any ambitions for myself, only for the people in the community I represent to do what I can to help them when I can. I want to go to Westminster and represent the people of Falkirk to the best of my ability.

“I also want to see the Falkirk constituency get back to the days of Dennis Canavan who represented the community with distinction.”

The delighted new Member of Parliament also paid tribute to his campaign team who he said “had put so much into achieving this result”.

He added: “They’ve worked day in and day out and good teamwork has paid off. I’m delighted for them.”

Mr McNally also paid tribute to his family – wife Sandra, son Dominic, daughter Kathleen and 93-year-old mum Rosa, who he said had “stood side-by-side” with him throughout the campaign.

Tribute was paid to the new MP by his election agent and council colleague, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, who said: “He will represent Falkirk well in Westminster. He’s a people person. People like him because he is one of them and talks their language.”