There was a busy start to the day at polling stations in Angus as people cast their votes in what could be a key election battle.
The SNP’s Mike Weir, who has held the Angus seat since 2001, had a healthy majority at the last election two years ago and he is a heavy favourite to retain the seat at the bookmakers.
However, he faces a challenge from the Conservatives who showed a voting surge at the Angus Council elections last month.
The Tories had more first preference votes than the Nationalists at the council elections where they gained four seats and formed a coalition with Independents and Liberal Democrats to keep the SNP out of power.
The Conservatives are fielding Kirstene Hair, who stood for the Angus South seat at the Scottish Parliament election last year. She lost to the SNP’s Graeme Dey but significantly cut into his majority.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson have both visited Angus in the past fortnight to meet with their party’s candidates, emphasising the importance of the seat.
The other candidates standing for the Angus seat are William Campbell (Labour) and Clive Sneddon (Liberal Democrats).
Standing outside the polling station at Arbroath Academy, Labour member Bill Clark said: “I think the SNP have been quite complacent about this seat. They just assume they are going to win but the local election results were a real blow for them.
“The polling station has certainly been fairly busy compared to the local elections. It’s been a healthy turnout so far.”
Forfar polling stations reported a regular stream of voters from the start of election day.
Just weeks after the electorate visited halls to make their choice in relation to candidates for the Angus Council wards, there was, however, a less obvious presence of party activists at the door of some venues.
“It’s been quite a steady start to the day but we’re keeping an eye on the weather and hope the rain doesn’t arrive,” said one local activist.
A SNP leafleter added: “We’re hoping a pile of folk come out later in the day, after work.
“This is a big election for Scotland’s future.”
At Carnoustie, which falls into the Dundee East constituency currently held by the SNP’s Stewart Hosie, voting was described as “fairly busy” by Irene Hughes, who is a former branch secretary of the SNP Carnoustie branch.
Speaking outside the Carnoustie Church polling station she said: “I have received good feedback from voters and long may it continue.”
At the 2015 election for the Angus seat Mike Weir had 54% of the vote (24,130 votes) compared to 29% for Conservative candidate Derek Wann (12,900 votes). Labour had 8.8% of the votes, UKIP had 3% of the votes, Liberal Democrats had 2.7% of the votes and the Scottish Greens had 2.2% of the votes.
After the polls in Angus close the votes will be counted at the Saltire Centre in Arbroath.