Sturgeon hails 'victory' despite SNP failure to win overall majorities

Cheryl Sanders
May 8, 2017

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has played down the threat from Conservatives north of the border, after Theresa May's party achieved their best local election results in generations to push Labour into third place.

But Labour losing control of the council is "part of a historical issue with the party in general, in the context of Blairism and its position in the independence referendum where it sided with the Tories", Mr Smith added.

Ms Davidson will claim the election in Scotland is "a two-horse race" between the Tories and SNP before outlining the "challenge" that faces her party on June 8.

The SNP remain in the lead with nine seats after three more ward results were declared, with Labour now on seven, the Greens equalling their previous tally of four and the Tories' formerly sole councillor David Meikle retaining his seat to take their total to three so far.

Miss Davidson said: "We won the local government election in Gordon this week, beating the SNP into second place".

Describing the results as a "clear and emphatic victory for the SNP", Ms Sturgeon said: "SNP councillors and SNP councils will put their communities and the people of Scotland first".

"Even areas that voted Yes in 2014 are now saying "no thanks" to a divisive second independence referendum", he said.

Meanwhile the Aberdeen edition of The Press and Journal reports that the SNP is poised to take over control of the city council after support for Labour fell.

Sturgeon had hoped to win a working majority in Glasgow but will now be looking for alliances there and in Edinburgh with the Scottish Greens, which enjoyed modest gains in both cities.

In a surprise result, Labour also lost one Glasgow seat to a 20-year-old Conservative candidate.

He told his party's council group in Perth: "In 2015 Nicola Sturgeon paraded across the country promising that a vote for the SNP was not a vote for independence".

A meeting of the party's Scottish Executive Committee - which includes Ms Dugdale, Mr Rowley, trade unions and others - agreed Labour would not do any deals which would result in increased austerity for Scotland's poorest people.

The former first minster continued: "I've never taken any election battle for granted, I've represented the north-east of Scotland for 30 years and every election the Tories tell me they are going to beat me and every time they fall short".

Not only is the Tory revival real (some Nationalists appeared to be in denial about that), but if some of the swings on Thursday are replicated in Westminster constituencies next month then the SNP could lose some senior figures.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie said the SNP was suffering from "the biggest change in public opinion since 2014" after they "insulted" voters.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is bringing his campaign bus to Scotland on Monday as the party target constituencies such as East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh West.

The latter is a name synonymous with Scotland's industrial decline after John Major's government controversially closed the British Steel plant there in 1992.

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