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by Louise Wilson
05 July 2024
John Swinney: SNP ‘needs to heal relationship’ with Scotland

John Swinney said it has been a "tough night" for his party | Alamy

John Swinney: SNP ‘needs to heal relationship’ with Scotland

First Minister John Swinney has said the general election was a “tough night” for the SNP as he took “full responsibility” for the outcome.

His party lost seats across the country to both Labour and the Lib Dems, and has only gained one from the Conservatives.

It is currently sitting at just nine seats, with one still to declare.

Speaking from Edinburgh on Friday morning, Swinney said the election result came off the back of a “difficult period” for the SNP.

He said: “I came into office to fix that difficult period and I am committed to doing exactly that, because the Scottish National Party needs to be healed and it needs to heal its relationship with the people of Scotland. I am absolutely committed to doing that.”

Labour has won 37 seats, the Conservatives five and the Lib Dems five.

Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire is still to declare but this is now not expected until Saturday due to statistical error.

The SNP has dominated Scottish elections since the independence referendum of 2014, benefiting from a link between support for Scottish independence and support for his party.

However while polling suggests support for independence remains high, support for the SNP has dipped considerably over the last 16 months since Nicola Sturgeon resigned as first minister.

It has been a tumultuous time since then owing to a febrile leadership debate, an ongoing police investigation into party finances and Humza Yousaf’s decision to end the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens.

Swinney become first minister after Yousaf was forced to resign but was immediately plunged into election mode.

He said his party now need to “listen and we have to learn” from this election result, pledging to build trust and support for independence.

He added: “I have to accept that we failed to convince people of the urgency of independence in this election campaign. Therefore we need to take the time to consider and to reflect on how we deliver our commitment to independence, which remains absolute.”

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