SNP lost out from surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn, says Nicola Sturgeon
The SNP’s loss of 21 seats stemmed from a surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland as well as tactical voting by those concerned by second independence referendum, says SNP leader
Nicola Sturgeon - image credit: Scottish Government
The SNP’s loss of 21 seats at the 2017 general election stemmed from a surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland as well as tactical voting by those concerned by the prospect of a second independence referendum, according to Nicola Sturgeon.
Speaking at Bute House, the First Minister said she would reflect on the result, which saw the SNP remain as the largest party in Scotland but lose seats to Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems, before deciding whether to continue pushing for a second vote on Scottish independence.
Accusing the Conservatives of causing “chaos on an industrial scale” by holding an EU referendum and then a snap election, Sturgeon also re-iterated her intention to work with other parties to stop a hard Brexit and keep both Scotland and the UK in the single market.
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She said: “We always said we would forge an alliance with others to promote progressive policies to build a fairer country, we stand ready to play our part in that alliance. It is needed now more than ever. The damage the Tories have done to the stability and reputation of the UK cannot be overstated.”
While the Conservatives lost 12 seats across the UK, the Scottish Tories won 13 in Scotland, up 12 from the solitary constituency won by David Mundell in the 2015 general election.
Speaking after meeting with the Queen, Theresa May announced her intention to stay on as Prime Minister and form a government which “can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country”.
But Sturgeon accused the Conservatives of consistently putting party interest before that of the UK.
She said: “The Conservatives have lost their majority and the Prime Minister has lost all authority and credibility. In Scotland the SNP won this election, we have more seats than all the other parties combined, and I want to thank all those who once again placed their trust in the SNP.”
She added: “In 2015 the SNP achieved an exceptional, perhaps once in a century result. Traditionally in Westminster elections the SNP is squeezed by the two main UK parties. Indeed in this campaign we have seen the return of a dominant two party system in England. This makes the SNP’s achievement of winning a clear majority of seats in Scotland all the more remarkable. However, as we do after all elections, we will reflect on these results, we will listen to voters and we will consider very carefully the best way forward for Scotland, a way forward that is in the interests of all Scotland.”
Asked if the result amounted to a rejection of plans to hold a second independence referendum, Sturgeon said: “I said I would reflect carefully on the result and I will now take some time to do that.”
“I think there were a number of factors at play in this election – certainly Brexit and the issue of [Scottish] independence, clearly in the last few days of this campaign we saw a surge towards Jeremy Corbyn, which we saw in parts of Scotland, as well as across the rest of the UK, we have also seen tactical voting at play in parts of Scotland. There are a number of factors and I will take time to reflect on all of these.”
Paying an emotional tribute to Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson, she added: “The SNP will also seek to play a full part in finding the right way forward for all the UK. The SNP fought this election warning against the consequences of continued Tory Government. The Tories, given the chance, will hit living standards, widen inequality and force many, many more children into poverty. We will now work with others to do everything we can to prevent that from happening and to bring an end to austerity that voters the length and breadth of the UK are no longer prepared to accept. We will work with others, if it is at all possible, to keep the Tories out of government.”
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