Valid papers were received from five candidates before closure of nominations for the UK Election to be held on May 7th.
Following the deadline at 4:00pm last Thursday (April 9), North Ayrshire & Arran’s Electoral Returning Officer Elma Murray confirmed the local constituency will be contested by Katy Clark (Labour), Patricia Gibson (SNP), Jamie Greene (Conservative), Ruby Kirkwood (Liberal Democrat) and Sharon McGonigal (UKIP).
Bookmakers expect a very close contest between Labour and the SNP, despite the incumbent, Ms Clark, defending a majority of almost 10,000 from the last election in 2010.
Contacted by the3towns.today, four of the UK’s biggest betting organisations provided the following odds for the North Ayrshire & Arran constituency:
Paddy Power: SNP 1/4 – Labour 11/4
Ladbrokes: SNP 1/6 – Labour 7/2
William Hill: SNP 3/10 – Labour 12/5
Coral: SNP 2/9 – Labour 7/2
The other candidates are seen as ‘also rans’, quoted at 100/1.
The latest national opinion poll, published on April 10 by YouGov, has the SNP pulling even further ahead of Labour (49% to 25%).
Labour’s Katy Clark was first elected in 2005 for the then constituency of Cunninghame North. With a name-change to North Ayrshire & Arran in 2010, Ms Clark was re-elected, beating the SNP’s Patricia Gibson into second place.
Prior to entering politics, Katy Clark worked as a lawyer for trade union UNISON.
SNP candidate Patricia Gibson is a teacher of English and a former SNP councillor on Glasgow City Council.
Mrs Gibson lives in Kilbirnie with her husband, Kenneth, who is the SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for the local constituency of Cunninghame North.
The Conservative & Unionist Party is fielding Jamie Greene, a Greenock-born executive with a multi-national broadcast network.
Ruby Kirkwood, a former North Ayrshire councillor for Irvine West, is flying the flag for the Liberal Democrats.
The far-right United Kingdom Independence Party is being represented by Kilbirnie woman Sharon McGonigal.
The UK Election will be held on Thursday, May 7th, with Polling Stations open between 7:00am and 10:00pm.
Polling cards are currently being delivered to the homes of registered voters across the constituency.