SNP lose Edinburgh West to Liberal Democrats

Picture: Jon Waddell
Picture: Jon Waddell
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CHRISTINE Jardine of the Liberal Democrats has taken the Edinburgh West seat from the SNP.

Beating SNP candidate Toni Giugliano by 18,108 votes to 15,120, Christine 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.

“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.”

A committed campaigner for the Liberal Democrats, Christine Jardine has succeeded in taking one of her party’s key target seats in the General Election.

Michelle Thomson won the Edinburgh West seat for the SNP in 2015 but withdrew from the party whip later that year amid an ongoing police investigation into property deals.

Now, Ms Jardine, a former journalist who has also worked as a Downing Street media adviser for the Lib Dems, has won the seat back for the party.

Her success comes after she previously unsuccessfully stood for the Lib Dems in Westminster, Holyrood and European Parliament elections.

In 2013, Ms Jardine increased her party’s share of the vote when she stood in the Aberdeen Donside by-election, which was held following the death of SNP MSP Brian Adam.

The following year she was one of the Scottish Lib Dem candidates for the European Parliament elections but the party failed to win any Scottish MEP positions.

In 2015, many expected Ms Jardine to be elected to Westminster when she was chosen as the party’s candidate for the Gordon constituency, the area which veteran Lib Dem Sir Malcolm Bruce had represented since 1983.

However, former SNP leader and first minister Alex Salmond declared his intention to stand and went on to win the seat, polling 27,717 votes to Ms Jardine’s 19,030.

She was selected to fight Edinburgh West in the snap General Election after Alex Cole-Hamilton won the corresponding seat for the party in the 2016 Holyrood ballot.

The Liberal Democrats held the Westminster constituency from 1997 to 2010 but lost the seat in the SNP landslide in 2015 which saw Nicola Sturgeon’s party win all but three of the 59 constituencies north of the border.

During the election campaign, Ms Jardine suffered the death of her husband, journalist Calum Macdonald.