Nicola Sturgeon: SNP backlash claims ludicrous

GETTYMs Sturgeon tried to downplay signs of huge Tory gains in June

"More seats, more votes, more councils won, bringing almost 40 years of Labour administration to an end and becoming the largest party in all of our major cities".

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

Despite enduring a hugely disappointing election, Labour finds itself in the position of king-maker in many council areas and how these local authorities are run will depend on whether Labour throws its weight behind the SNP or the Tories. Meanwhile the SNP will be celebrating actually coming out on top from these elections and, armed with electoral information and their own narrative of defending Scotland from Theresa May's electoral steamroller, they'll be celebrating again come June 8. They came second in the election and the SNP came first. It would be nice to believe that Thursday's election was a series of local referendums on local services rendered (or not), but it would be a fantasy: this was a national election fought on national issues, and those issues revolved around the prospect of another independence referendum.

Ms Sturgeon said: "If you compare north and south of the border, the Tories polled less in Scotland than Jeremy Corbyn did in England, and yet Jeremy Corbyn has been written off as a disaster".

The SNP remains the largest party in local government with 431 councillors voted in.

Not really. In previous local elections that took place in advance of a general election the main opposition party has tended to do significantly better than in the subsequent general election.

The two key mayoral battlegrounds to look for are the West of England, where the Liberal Democrats are hoping to ride a Remain-supporting wave to victory and the West Midlands where Labour could lose what in ordinary political times should be a very bankable election for them. A few years ago, a Tory councillor being elected there would have been unthinkable.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who has been campaigning in East Lothian, also said there had been a "clear backlash against the SNP's plans for a divisive second independence referendum".




However, Ms Sturgeon said: "I've heard lots of ludicrous arguments in my time in politics but this takes the prize for the most ludicrous argument". The only Tory win there came in 1983 when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

The First Minister said the Conservatives had done well "by their standards".

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, said the party had doubled its vote from 2012 and now had councillors in every part of mainland Scotland.

"And as for the General Election, while you've always got to be careful about extrapolating from one election to another, the issue for Scotland becomes quite clearly focused".

It's all change at East Dunbartonshire Council after a fascinating set of local election results - leaving the balance of power on a knife-edge. "Either they support us or they go with the independence-supporting SNP", said one senior Conservative.

Nicola Sturgeon hailed it as a "fantastic, historic result" as the SNP became the biggest party in the city, winning 39 out of 85 seats, but it fell just four short of securing an outright majority despite adding nine to its previous total.

"But the votes across the country all count and we'll be looking to be the largest party in terms of seats and votes after all the votes are counted today".

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