Difficult night for SNP as party loses 21 seats

Written by Jenni Davidson on 9 June 2017 in Inside Politics

The SNP remains the biggest party in Scotland, but lost seats around the country

The SNP has had a difficult night after losing 21 of its previous 56 seats in the general election.

The party still holds more than half the seats in Scotland, but the result will call into question the Nationalists’ mandate for a second independence referendum.

Two of the SNP’s key players at Westminster, depute leader Angus Robertson and former first minister Alex Salmond both lost their seats in the north east of Scotland to the Conservatives.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said the result meant plans for indyref2 were “dead”.

Nicola Sturgeon said she would “reflect” on her call for another independence referendum and vowed not to make any “rash decisions”.

It was a good night for the Conservatives in Scotland, unlike across the rest of the UK.

As well as the key scalps of two such prominent figures as Salmond and Robertson, the Conservatives took another target seat, the Borders constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, with 28,213, a majority of 11,060 and swing of 17.9 per cent on 2015.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell increased his previous narrow majority of 798 votes in 2015 to almost 10,000.

The Tories also gained Angus, with Kirstene Hair beating the SNP’s Mike Weir, and Ochil and South Perthshire from the SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, both with a swing of 16 per cent.

But the SNP narrowly held the neighbouring seat of Perth and North Perthshire by just 21 votes, with Pete Wishart announced as the winner over Conservative MEP Ian Duncan after two recounts.

And in the narrowest margin in the country, Stephen Gethins retained his North East Fife seat  by just two votes over the Lib Dems.

There have also been gains for Labour and the Liberal Democrats in Scotland.

The Lib Dems took East Dunbartonshire and Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, and Edinburgh West from the SNP.

Labour meanwhile has taken a number of seats including former prime minister Gordon Brown’s old seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Midlothian, East Lothian, Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

The final results in Scotland were SNP 35, Conservatives 13, Labour 7 and Lib Dems 4.

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