Constituency profile: Livingston

The new town of Livingston has been a long-standing battleground between Labour and the SNP.

In 2005 the late Robin Cook put it firmly into the category of "safe Labour" and that year they weighed the Labour majority. But his untimely death changed the electoral dynamics.

In the resulting by election Labour held on but Jim Devine's majority was slashed with the SNP achieving a swing of ten per cent. The other parties were also rans as Livingston became marginal in its electoral status.

This time around the enforced departure of Jim Devine has thrown up the seat. He was embroiled in the Westminster expenses scandal.

Mr Devine now faces criminal charges arising from his expenses claims.

The SNP now wants to make stick the charge that Labour has let local people down following the circumstances of Mr Devine's departure.

West Lothian has witnessed Labour/SNP trench warfare stretching back nearly 50 years and it should be no less intense in 2010.

On the basis of the 2005 result this is a big ask for the Nationalists. But circumstances have led them to believe that they have a strong chance of winning.

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