Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Election dents Scottish nationalists' hopes for independence

GETTYVoters said Sturgeon's obsession with independence caused them to vote for other parties GETTYVoters said Sturgeon's obsession with independence caused them to vote for other parties
Ellis Copeland | 22 June, 2017, 07:54

The Conservatives won 13 seats in Scotland, helping to prop up the party nationally after it lost a string of seats throughout England.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) arrives at the main Glasgow counting centre in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 9, 2017, hours after the polls closed in Britain's general election.

Former Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said Ms Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell, must be replaced as the SNP's chief executive.

Davidson, whose colourful humour and approachability has won her many fans, notched up the Conservatives' best result since 1983 north of the border.

Mr Salmond blamed a late surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour for the SNP's defeat in many seats, with the nationalists also losing John Nicolson, Mike Weir and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.

Reuters reports, "An updated BBC forecast predicted May's Conservatives would win 318 of the 650 seats, eight short of a majority, while Corbyn's left-wing Labour would take 267 - producing a "hung parliament" and potential deadlock". At the time of writing it has won 34 of Scotland's seats, down from 56, and 37% of the vote, versus almost 50% last time around.

This is her opportunity to do so - and I urge her to take it immediately.

Summing up, one SNP source said: "We've lost some great colleagues, and it's clear we have a lot of thinking to do - but we'll regroup and make sure that we do all we can to protect Scotland from another round of Tory cuts".

"Clearly I have to reflect on the result of the election and I will take time to do that".

One is the extent to which the Scottish Conservatives have gained - moving from one MP to 13 - alongside the relative successes for Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

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Pete Wishart, who was the chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee in the last parliament, held on to his Perth and North Perthshire seat by just 21 votes, with Tory MEP Ian Duncan coming close to ousting him.

She added: "Undoubtedly the issue of an independence referendum was a factor in this election result, but I think there were other factors in this election result as well".

The SNP will now have to find a new depute leader after Mr Robertson, one of the party's most prominent voices at Westminster, lost his Moray seat to Tory Douglas Ross.

Mrs May called a snap general election in an attempt to strengthen her hand in forthcoming Brexit talks - and quell the nationalists' ongoing agitation for a second independence referendum.

But it fell precipitously from the highs it reached at the general election in 2015, when lifelong Labour voters who had voted for independence migrated in huge numbers to the SNP.

She said as a party with significant parliamentary representation she would be willing to be part of a "progressive alternative" to a Conservative government if there is a need for a coalition.

The result - which Sturgeon described as "disappointing" - raises serious questions about whether the SNP will push ahead with its pledge to hold a second referendum on independence.

"What we've got is a crushing result for the SNP, they've lost 20 seats if not more and further than that they've watched their majorities crumble".

Former Tory leader Lord Hague said "very serious lessons" had to be learned by the party but warned against a leadership contest. Because of Nicola Sturgeon, who believes that oil is going to go it $150-a-barrel'.

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