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SNP gain first two seats declared in Scotland

The party took Rutherglen and Hamilton West from Labour and Angus from the Conservatives.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was delighted her party won the first seat to be declared in Scotland (PA)
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was delighted her party won the first seat to be declared in Scotland (PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

The SNP has scored the first wins of the General Election in Scotland – with Nicola Sturgeon’s party taking seats from both the Tories and Labour.

Margaret Ferrier was elected as the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, ousting Ged Killen who had won the seat two years ago.

Ms Ferrier represented the area between 2015 and 2017, and has now won the seat back after polling 23,775 votes – giving her a majority of 5,230 over her Labour rival.

SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon tweeted her delight at the result – which was the first to be declared north of the border.

She said: “First Scottish result and first @theSNP gain of #GE19 – massive congratulation to the fantastic @MargaretFerrier in Rutherglen and Hamilton West!”

In the second constituency to declare, the SNP’s David Doogan defeated Conservative Kirstene Hair, who had won the seat two years ago.

When Ms Ferrier won Rutherglen and Hamilton West in 2015, the SNP went on to win 56 of the Scottish constituencies up for grabs.

This time round the exit poll predicts Ms Sturgeon’s party could return 55 MPs to Westminster – though polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice warned the smaller sampling size in Scotland means the result may not be as accurate as south of the border.

There the Conservatives appear to be on track for victory, with polling predicting Boris Johnson could secure a substantial majority – enabling him to push ahead with his Brexit plans.

Early results from England show a swing from Labour to the Tories.

Ian Murray, who was left as the only Scottish Labour MP in 2015 and who is fighting to retain the Edinburgh South seat this time round, blamed leader Jeremy Corbyn for the party’s poor showing.

He tweeted: “Every door I knocked on, and my team and I spoke to 11,000 people, mentioned Corbyn. Not Brexit but Corbyn. I’ve been saying this for years. The outcome is that we’ve let the country down and we must change course and fast.”

At Rutherglen and Hamilton West, defeated candidate Mr Killen said that on Brexit and on independence, voters were not clear on where Scottish Labour stood.

He told the BBC: “My vote held up fairly well from 2017 but the SNP were able to encourage more of their voters to turn out this time.

“We can’t escape the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was a divisive figure in this election.

“His name came up on just about every single door that I went to, particularly among traditional Labour voters who were struggling to get on board with what he was putting forward in this election.

Asked what he wants to hear from Mr Corbyn, he said: “I want to hear him accept his responsibility for his part in this defeat, I expect that we will hear in the coming days his plan to step down as leader and when we will have a leadership election for the UK party, but we’ll have to see how the rest of the night pans out.”

The SNP also held a number of constituencies, including Lanark and Hamilton East – which had been a three-way marginal between the nationalists, Labour and the Tories.

Angela Crawley held the seat with an increased majority, while Mhairi Black was also re-elected as the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

Pete Wishart, who had a majority of just 21 in Perth and North Perthshire in 2017, won the seat again for the SNP with a massively increased majority.

PA

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