Sturgeon feeling 'extremely confident' of SNP success as she holds Glasgow Southside seat
NICOLA Sturgeon has held on to her Glasgow Southside constituency, winning 60 per cent of the vote.
The First Minister saw her majority slip slightly, but she was still 9,456 votes ahead of nearest rival Anas Sarwar.
The Labour leader saw a swing of eight per cent, with Conservative voters seemingly voting tactically.
Kyle Thornton, the Tory candidate won just 1,790 votes, down 6.9 per cent.
Far right candidate Jayda Fransen won just 46 votes.
The former Britain First leader attempted to confront Sturgeon in Govan on Wednesday, but was given short shrift by the SNP leader.
In her acceptance speech, Sturgeon said there was no space in the constituency - Scotland’s most ethnically diverse - for the “racist and fascist”.
She said: “Yesterday the constituency was targeted by far-right thugs, the far-right thug that led that confrontation got 46 votes and I am proud that once again that Glasgow Southside has shown the racists and the fascists that they are not welcome in Glasgow Southside, they are not welcome in Glasgow and they are not welcome anywhere in Scotland.
“And let that be a note of unity.”
Sturgeon said it looked as if her party would win a fourth term in government: “We are in the very early stages of a marathon counting operation. There's lots of votes yet to count before we know the outcome.
"At this stage the SNP appears to be on course for a fourth election victory and the privilege of forming a government again.
"If that is the case, I pledge to to get back to work immediately to steer the country thought the pandemic, then when the time is right to offer the country the choice of a better future."
Earlier, when asked about the prospect of an SNP majority, the First Minister told the BBC it had always been a “very, very long shot.”
She said: “The Holyrood system is a proportional representation system.
“In 2011, we effectively broke that system. So it would be good to do. But I have never taken that for granted.
“That has always been on a knife-edge; a small number of votes in a small number of seats.
“So we’ll wait and see how the votes pan out over today and tomorrow.
"But at this stage in the results - and there’s a long, long way to go - I’m feeling extremely happy and extremely confident that we are on track in the SNP for a fourth consecutive election victory and to have the ability to form a government again, and that’s an extraordinary achievement for any political party.
“If that is how the results end, and that is how the election turns out, then I’ll be ready and eager to get back to work on behalf of the people of Scotland.”
Labour’s Anas Sarwar said it was too soon to say that Labour had been squeezed by the Tories over their stance on independence.
He told the BBC: “We've not had the results yet so let's have the results over the course of today and tomorrow. I made my case pretty clear through the election campaign we don't support independence, we don't support a referendum, and you're right to mention things like education and the NHS and other issues because I want us to focus on that national recovery.”
He added: “It's also important to say that you know where we were 10 weeks ago when I took over this job and where we are now is an incredible transformation and that's down to all the hard work and efforts of people across the country. I think people can see that there is a new energy and a new enthusiasm around the Labour Party. I'm not pretending that process of change is complete though.
“We are on a journey, very much on a journey. And what I want to build is not the opposition to the SNP, what we want to build is the alternative to the SNP and that journey continues.”
Ruth Davidson appeared to distance herself from the Tory campaign, saying she had not been “part of the planners”.
She said it was still too early to dissect the result: "We very much ran a peach list focussed campaign. So you saw in Glasgow Southside that a lot of Tories backed the best pro-UK candidates on the constituency - you saw a lot of transfer to Labour there - but we want to make that back up on the list and we think that we have done.
"But in places where we've been the most successful challenger or where we're the incumbent we were hopeful that we might have seen the same sort of movement from other pro-uk parties. If you look at Banffshire and Buchan coast we got an increase of more than 10 per cent.”
She added: “I think we're going to get into a post constitutional politics at some point in Scotland and I really hope that we do.”
Asked if the party needed to move beyond simply campaihgning on the constitution, Davidson said they had little choice. She said it was up to the Tories to stand up for “the two million people who voted to remain in the UK.”
She added: “Everything that Douglas put together as part of his campaign - I wasn't part of the planners,” she started before it was pointed out that she had been front and centre on most Tory leaflets.
“It was all about not having a referendum,” she said.