Nicola Sturgeon vows to ‘reflect carefully’ on night of heavy losses for SNP
Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP must reflect on a night of “bitterly disappointing losses” after losing some of its key Westminster figures.
Deputy leader Angus Robertson and former First Minister Alex Salmond were among the high-profile nationalists to be ousted from their Westminster seats, as the party returned 35 MPs, compared to 56 in 2015.
Both Mr Robertson – who served as the party's lead spokesman in Westminster – and Mr Salmond fell at the hands of the Tories, with Ruth Davidson’s party climbing from just one seat at the last election to 12.
Labour outperformed expectations to take seven seats, while the Liberal Democrats claimed four. Both had one each in 2015.
Ms Sturgeon added that she was proud that the SNP retained a majority of seats north of the border and vowed to work with other UK parties to take on issues such as austerity and avoiding a “hard-Brexit”.
The result could damage Ms Sturgeon's hopes of a second independence referendum, with the SNP's vote share standing at 36%, compared to 50% in 2015.
The Conservatives' boost in popularity meanwhile is recognised as down to their staunch pro-union message.
In a string of tweets, Ms Sturgeon said:
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said her party's performance was "stunning".
“Just two years after we were nearly wiped out in Scotland, we have staged a remarkable recovery and overturned some gigantic SNP majorities, and pushed the Nationalists incredibly close in many seats," she said.
“As for the SNP, this was a catastrophic result and is the final nail in the coffin for Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a divisive second independence referendum. She must now immediately abandon that plan and get back to the day job of running our schools and hospitals.”