Holyrood 2016: Full Edinburgh results
SCOTTISH Tory leader Ruth Davidson scored a sensational victory for her party by winning Edinburgh Central from the '¨SNP.
She took the Conservatives from fourth place at the 2011 election to take the seat with a 610 majority.
After the result was announced, she said: “People are sending a message to the SNP. Their voice will not be ignored.”
Ms Davidson’s victory came along with a sensational win by the Liberal Democrats in Edinburgh Western and an important triumph for Labour in Edinburgh Southern.
It means the SNP now holds only half the six constituencies in the Capital rather than the five it had before.
In Edinburgh Central, the SNP’s Marco Biagi who won the seat in 2011 had decided to stand down.
He was replaced as candidate by teacher and former parliament official Alison Dickie, who was widely assumed to be on course to win the seat.
But Ms Davidson – who was elected last time as a Glasgow list MSP – decided she was switching her political base to the Capital. She was top of the Tories’ Lothian list but also became the party’s candidate in Central.
It seemed an unlikely prospect – the Tories were last out of four in 2011 with just 15 per cent.
But Ms Davidson’s campaign during the election, pitching the Tories as the strongest defenders of the Union and promising to “hold the SNP to account”, appears to have struck a chord.
Ms Davidson said the result was an illustration of how voters could change.
She said: “I’m under no illusion that everyone who voted for me is a dyed in the wool Conservative.
“They are people who want us to do a very specific job – and that is holding the SNP to account”.
There was a huge cheer from Tory activists to greet Ms Davidson when she arrived at the count hall in the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston ahead of the declaration.
Edinburgh Central Green candidate Alison Johnstone said the future was bright for her party.
She said: “In Brighton, Caroline Lucas has shown that Greens can win first past the post seats and hold them.
“The Scottish Greens have started that process and the Edinburgh Central result gives us encouragement to continue.”
Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat winner Alex Cole-Hamilton said his victory was down to “sheer graft and hard work by myself and a legion of activists and reconnecting with voters on the doorsteps”.
He said: “We focused on the very real issues affecting people in Edinburgh Western such as the spike in burglaries, our polluted and congested arterial roads, housebuilding in the green belt and the difficulty in getting GP appointments.”
He said the row over Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson, suspended from the party amid controversy over her property deals, had formed an important backdrop to the campaign.
Labour’s gloomy night across most of the rest of Scotland was lightened by a dramatic victory in Edinburgh Southern.
Daniel Johnson, a businessman, had a majority of more than 1000 over the SNP’s Jim Eadie.
Mr Eadie had won the seat in 2011 from the Lib Dems with just 29.4 per cent of the vote.
One senior SNP source put the Nationalist losses down to the polarisation of votes over independence, with pro-Union supporters giving their votes to the party most likely to defeat the Nationalists.
“It was a case of who’s going to get the SNP out and stop another referendum,” they said.
“That happened in Edinburgh South at last year’s general election and now it has also become more focused elsewhere.”
Ben Macpherson secured an SNP victory in Edinburgh Northern and Leith, the only seat in the city which Labour managed to hold onto in 2011.
Mr Macpherson had a majority of almost 7000.
He said the SNP had won by taking a consistently positive message to every part of the constituency.
But he also paid tribute to the former MP, Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm, who stood down at the election.
Mr Macpherson said: “He believed in social justice, helping other people and a more constructive approach to politics – and so do I.
“With new energy and new ideas I will work tirelessly to build on the high standard of representation Malcolm Chisholm has set.
“Elections can be divisive, but we must always remember there is a shared purpose and hope.
“We all want a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”
Defeated Labour candidate Lesley Hinds said once the equivalent Westminster seat had been lost at last year’s general election she knew it would be a difficult task.
“I’m disappointed we have not been able to keep the seat for Labour. But Labour will be back,” she said.
In Edinburgh Eastern, Kezia Dugdale lost out to the SNP’s Ash Denham.
Ms Denham thanked voters for “putting their trust once again in the SNP and our positive vision for Scotland.”
She said: “I will work hard to repay that trust.”
The SNP’s Gordon Macdonald was re-elected in Edinburgh Pentlands with a comfortable 2000-plus majority over the Tories.