Tuesday 28 February 2017

SNP gaining seats across Scotland, including a 20-year-old student

By Katrine Bussey and Lindsay Watling

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as she arrives at the General Election count for Glasgow constituencies at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as she arrives at the General Election count for Glasgow constituencies at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Nicola Sturgeon's SNP has made sweeping gains across Scotland, with a dramatic collapse in support for Labour seeing shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and Scottish leader Jim Murphy both losing their seats.

Nationalist Kirsten Oswald took the party from fourth to first to oust Mr Murphy in East Renfrewshire, ending his 18 year career as an MP

With some constituencies showing swings to the SNP of more than 30%, Mr Alexander, Labour's election campaign chief, was the first big scalp of the night for the nationalists.

Student Mhairi Black, 20, beat the former government minister in Paisley and Renfrewshire South, the seat he had held since 1997.

In Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, which had been the safest Labour seat in Scotland, the SNP easily overturned a majority of more than 23,000 to capture the constituency which had been held by former prime minister Gordon Brown, who did not stand again.

As an SNP landslide swept across the country, Labour candidate Kenny Selbie polled 17,654 votes, nearly 10,000 fewer than nationalist Roger Mullin, who picked up 27,628 votes for the SNP.

SNP's Mhairi Black - 20 years - smiles after defeating Labour's Douglas Alexander for the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat at the Lagoon Leisure centre, Paisley. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire
SNP's Mhairi Black - 20 years - smiles after defeating Labour's Douglas Alexander for the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat at the Lagoon Leisure centre, Paisley. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon reacts with her supporters after watching on the big screen their gains in UK parliamentary election at the General Election count for Glasgow constituencies at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran lost her Glasgow East to the nationalists, who appear to be on track to pick up all seven constituencies in the city.

Mr Murphy said it was an "enormous" moment for the SNP, but vowed that his party's fightback starts tomorrow.

He insisted: "The fight goes on and our cause continues.

"I know hundreds of thousands of Scots still believe in the progressive policies the Labour party stands for.

"The Scottish Labour party has been around for more than a century. A hundred years from tonight we will still be around.

"Scotland needs a strong Labour party and our fight back starts tomorrow morning.

Ms Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, said Labour had been "losing the trust of the people of Scotland over a period years".

She told the BBC: "What we're seeing tonight is Scotland voting to put its trust in the SNP to make Scotland's voice heard, a clear voice for an end to austerity, better public services and more progressive politics at Westminster. That's what we now intend to do."

Throughout the election campaign, Ms Sturgeon had been hoping to form a "progressive alliance" with other parties to bring about change at Westminster.

But with the Conservatives on track to be the largest party again, she insisted Labour could not blame her party for its failure to win across the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I hope we're not looking at another Conservative government, but if we are then it will be more important that there are strong SNP MPs in Westminster, making Scotland's voice heard and making sure Scotland's interests are protected."

With more than 30 SNP MPs now elected, the nationalists have had a record breaking night at Westminster, winning more than half the 59 constituencies north of the border.

In 2010 it had won just six seats, while previously its best ever result had been in October 1974, when 11 SNP MPs were returned to the House of Commons.

The tone was set when nationalist Alan Brown won the first seat of the night in Scotland, with 30,000 votes.

That saw him unseat Labour's Cathy Jamieson to become the new MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun.

Mr Alexander had had a majority of more than 16,000 going into the election, but Ms Black - who is likely to be the youngest MP - easily overturned that.

She polled 23,548 votes, ahead of Mr Alexander, who had 17,864.

Speaking immediately after the result was declared, Mr Alexander said: ''This of course has been a very difficult night for Labour.

''Scotland has chosen to oppose this Conservative government, but not place that trust in the Labour party.

''It will be our responsibility to re-win that trust in the months and years ahead.''

Press Association

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News