Nicola Sturgeon pledges no rash decisions on indyref2
Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not make 'rash decisions' on her plan for a second independence referendum, despite the SNP suffering a number of high-profile losses in the General Election.
The First Minister said she was “disappointed” by the results, which saw both depute leader Angus Robertson and former first minister Alex Salmond dramatically defeated by the Conservatives.
The SNP also lost Mike Weir, who had been the MP for Angus since 2001, and culture spokesman John Nicolson in East Dunbartonshire.
While the Tories made gains north of the Border, with Douglas Ross claiming the high-profile scalp of Mr Robertson in Moray and Colin Clark ousting Mr Salmond in Gordon, Ms Sturgeon said the SNP is still on course for its second best Westminster result ever.
She said: “This has been a disaster for Theresa May. She called an election clearly very arrogantly thinking she was going to crush the opposition, sweep everybody aside and cruise to a landslide majority.
“Her position I think is very, very difficult. We have to wait and see how things shake out. I’ve always said the SNP would want to be part of a progressive alternative to a Tory government.
“I’m disappointed at the SNP losses but I’m pleased that we’ve won the election.”
Asked about the impact the result may have on her plan for a second independence referendum, she said she is “not going to take any rash decisions”.
But Lib Dem Jo Swinson, who defeated Mr Nicolson to retake the East Dunbartonshire constituency, said supporters of other parties had backed her to send a message to the First Minister.
Ms Swinson said: “I recognise all of those who put party allegiance to one side to send a clear message that East Dunbartonshire does not want another divisive independence referendum. Nicola Sturgeon, I hope you’re listening.” Ruth Davidson, whose Scottish Conservatives ejected Mr Salmond from Gordon and Mr Robertson from Moray, said her party was enjoying an “historic night”.
She said: “Indyref2 is dead, that’s what we have seen tonight.”
The SNP also lost out in East Renfrewshire to the Tories.
Paul Masterton took the constituency – which 20 years ago had been the safest Tory seat in Scotland – from the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald.
The results came after an exit poll suggested the SNP could lose 22 seats across Scotland.
The nationalists had swept the board in 2015, winning 56 of the 59 seats up for grabs – leaving Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats with just one MP each.
This time around the first result in Scotland went to Labour as the party won Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
Gerard Killen claimed the seat for Jeremy Corbyn’s party with 19,101 votes, defeating the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier, who won the constituency in 2015 but who polled 18,836 votes this time round.
After being elected, Mr Killen declared: “This result is a rejection of austerity and a rejection of a divisive second independence referendum.
“Above all this result is a vote for a progressive manifesto and a fresh start for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “The reality is the SNP vote is crumbling in their urban heartlands.
“We’re experiencing some really encouraging results across the country tonight. I’ve got a few fantastic new generation of Labour MPs going down to the House of Commons next week.
“They’re going to be champions for their local communities, they are going to be against a second independence referendum, but they are also going to be for that Jeremy Corbyn anti-austerity platform about raising money to invest in public services.”
Pete Wishart, who was the chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee in the last Parliament, managed to hold on to his Perth and North Perthshire constituency – but by the narrowest of margins of just 21 over Conservative MEP Ian Duncan.
The Tories picked up one of their top target seats, with former MSP John Lamont defeating the SNP’s Calum Ross to win Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.
Labour also made gains in Glasgow North East, as well as Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.
The Liberal Democrats regained Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, with former MSP Jamie Stone taking the seat from the SNP’s Paul Monaghan.
In Angus, the Conservatives increased their share of the vote by just over 16 per cent, while Nicola Sturgeon’s party saw its support slump by almost the same amount.
After the result was declared, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson showed her delight on Twitter, saying: “Yass! Well done.”
Following the result, Conservative Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear the SNP bubble has burst.”
He said: “In the last two elections, the Scottish Parliament and council elections, the SNP vote has been down and that has been replicated tonight.
“It’s very clear why that is. People across Scotland don’t want another divisive independence referendum and Nicola Sturgeon has gone from being a figurehead in Scotland to being somebody that ordinary voters across Scotland deeply dislike.”
Other high-profile SNP figures ousted by the Tories included Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh in Ochil and South Perthshire.