Sturgeon: Tories plan to "sacrifice" of Scottish economy to win Ukip vote

Aaron Brown
May 22, 2017

The youngster has failed to make his mark since getting elected and the Tories won in the same area at the Holyrood elections previous year.

The Tory leader hopes to gain a significant number of the 59 Westminster seats north of the border following "very encouraging" results in last week's local government elections.

The party needed to get all its candidates elected to retain its majority at the city chambers, which has been a Labour stronghold for almost 40 years.

Nicola Sturgeon hailed the Scottish local elections as an "emphatic" win for the SNP - despite the Tories gaining 167 seats and returning a record number of councillors.

Labour has also lost overall control in two of the four Scottish councils where it had held a majority - its former stronghold of Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire. Ruth Davidson has confidently, perhaps over-confidently, set Mr Robertson in her sights, but next month's election will be fought under first past the post rather than the single transferable vote, and that works against the Conservatives even with large swings.

The SNP came top of the poll with 32.3% of first preference votes cast, with the Scottish Conservatives in second with 25.3%.

Labour too will watch results around East Renfewshire.

Sturgeon believes the results provide an "excellent springboard" for the general election, and Davidson thinks it means she can "lead Scotland's fight back" at the same contest. But both were outdone by the SNP, which added 31 councillors to win a total of 431 seats.

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Labour shed 112 councillors to trail in third on 262, losing control of three councils.

But even if everyone who voted independent would have voted SNP in a general election (a highly improbable supposition), that clearly can not account for all of the difference between the two performances.

Ms Sturgeon, the SNP leader and First Minister, said: "The SNP has won the election in Scotland and won it loud and clear".

"There's no question the Tory vote is on the increase and therefore we have to galvanise the SNP support", he told Press Association Scotland. They go into it with 54 - and most of them with large majorities.

But the biggest shock of the afternoon was the two Conservative candidates, Sally Page and Brian Walker, who were elected to the Lomond and Dumbarton wards respectively.

Following the local elections which saw the SNP come out as the largest party across Scotland's local authorities, the SNP leader warned Prime Minister Theresa May that her flirtation with Ukip voters in England to pursue a hard negotiating stance with the European Union will result in the "sacrifice of thousands of Scottish jobs". We aren't going to roll over and let the SNP tear it up.

Across Scotland, we also know people are looking for somebody to stand up to the SNP.

Nevertheless, the local government elections confirm that political momentum, remarkably, is with the Scottish Conservatives.

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