Labour and Lib Dems make gains from SNP in Lothian

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale celebrates the win in Edinburgh South for Scottish Labour candidate Ian Murray.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale celebrates the win in Edinburgh South for Scottish Labour candidate Ian Murray.
5
Have your say

LABOUR and the Lib eral Democrats are celebrating after winning seats in Edinburgh and the Lothians from the SNP in a night of drama.

Ian Murray, previously Scotland’s only Labour MP was returned in Edinburgh South with a massive 15,514 majority.

Midlothian Constituency General Election Count, Lasswade Centre.

Midlothian Constituency General Election Count, Lasswade Centre.

And he will be joined in the Commons by new East Lothian MP Martin Whitfield, who defeated the SNP’s George Kerevan, and Danielle Rowley, who won Midlothian from Nationalist Owen Thompson.

And Lib Dem Christine Jardine won Edinburgh West from the SNP.

But the SNP’s Joanna Cherry held on in Edinburgh South West against a challenge from Tory Miles Briggs.

After the Edinburgh South result was announced, Mr Murray said: “I stood here two years ago bemoaning the loss of all my colleagues, but tonight the Scottish Labour Party is back.

Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale  arrives in East Lothian to congratulate Labour candidate Martin Whitfield . Picture; Ian Georgeson

Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale arrives in East Lothian to congratulate Labour candidate Martin Whitfield . Picture; Ian Georgeson

“Nobody wanted this election. Theresa May called this election to get rid of scrutiny in Parliament for the hard Brexit she wanted. The people of Scotland have said we don’t give the Prime Minister a blank cheque for a hard Tory Brexit.

“And to the First Minister, we said Scotland didn’t want a second independence referendum. The people of Edinburgh South have hammered the final nail in that coffin.”

Ms Jardine said she was “stunned, delighted and honoured” to be elected MP for Edinburgh West.

And she claimed it showed the Lib Dems were winning back their previous heartlands.

Pictured: Christine Jardine wins Edinburgh West for the Lib Dems

Pictured: Christine Jardine wins Edinburgh West for the Lib Dems

She said: “Over the years the Lib Dems have served the public of Edinburgh West well as councillors, MPs and MSPs. That’s what has been important in this campaign. It proves the Lib Dems are back in the areas which were traditionally Liberal areas of Scotland. People are returning to Liberal values.”

Ms Jardine said the party’s commitment to oppose an independence referendum had also played a part. “The SNP’s plans for a second referendum are not what people want. That message was coming across loud and clear on the doorstep throughout the campaign.

“Edinburgh West also voted heavily in favour of staying in the EU – the Remain vote here was huge – and that too was reflected in our vote. People don’t want the economic trauma that leaving the EU is going to cause and they certainly don’t want that compounded by another independence referendum and the uncertainty that would bring.”

In Midlothian, Labour’s Danielle Rowley scored a surprise victory. She said: “Honestly, my goal was to take the seat but I was very hopeful that we would at least come close and make a challenge, but as the days have went on and the doors have been knocked and the positive response from people raised my hopes.

“I’m very proud of being from Midlothian, it is a great place and the people are fantastic but I want to make it a ­better place to live.

“I want to ensure our workers are paid well and have good jobs and training opportunities. We will be working on helping working people who are struggling to make ends meet.”

The SNP’s Tommy Sheppard, re-elected in Edinburgh East, said: “The overwhelming story tonight is that the Conservative Party are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

He hit out at “Ruth Davidson’s obsession with trying to stop Scotland having a choice about our future”.

And Mr Sheppard said the Labour Party had done “remarkably well” in the election.

“People are putting faith in the Labour Party because they like what Jeremy Corbyn stands for – but I hope they know they are sending MPs to Westminster with a ticket to oppose Jeremy Corbyn.”

And he promised: “No matter what happens I promise you that we will look again at Brexit – we are determined not to be dragged out from a partnership with our European neighbours against the will of the people of Scotland.”

Mr Sheppard said: “There is one clear victor in Scotland – one party on course to win more seats than all the other parties put together – and that is the SNP.

“The story of tonight is that the SNP has won and the Conservative Party has lost.”

Deidre Brock, who was re-elected for the SNP in Edinburgh North & Leith, said the result was a vote against “Tory austerity and the cruel policies of Theresa May”.

And Joanna Cherry attacked the “wholly negative” campaign by the Tories. She said: “This election was called by Theresa May to give her what she thought would be an overwhelming majority so she could carry through her plans for an extreme Brexit. I am so happy her plan has backfired spectacularly.

“The Tories have fought a miserable, negative, idea-free campaign north and south of the Border and people north and south of the Border are seeing through that.

“Leaving the European Union and crashing out of the single market is an act of madness. It will have a profoundly negative effect on our economy and our society and our standing in the world. I will fight with every breath in my body to oppose Brexit and to keep Scotland and indeed the whole of the United Kingdom in the single market.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com