New SNP MPs mark election landslide

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Published: Saturday 9th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Nicola Sturgeon will join newly-elected SNP MPs today as the party marks its historic landslide general election victory in Scotland.

The nationalists celebrated unprecedented gains, virtually sweeping the board by taking 56 of the 59 seats – with a collapse in support for Labour leaving them with just one MP north of the border.

Scotland’s First Minister will hold a photocall today in Edinburgh after she warned Prime Minister David Cameron that “it cannot be business as usual”.

The two leaders held a brief conversation in the hours following the outcome of the vote which saw the Tories win a majority across the UK, while the SNP saw its number of MPs rise from six to 56.

David Mundell remains Scotland’s only Conservative MP after retaining his seat, with Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael holding the only other non-SNP seat.

After returning to Downing Street, Mr Cameron said he would ”stay true to my word” and implement plans already drawn up for further devolution ”as fast as I can”.

He stated: ”Governing with respect means recognising that the different nations of our United Kingdom have their own governments as well as the United Kingdom government.

”Both are important and indeed with our plans, the governments of these nations will become more powerful with wider responsibilities.

”In Scotland, our plans are to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world, with important powers over taxation.”

Ms Sturgeon said they would meet as soon as possible but insisted she “made it clear” that it “can’t be business as usual”.

The SNP leader added: ” Scotland didn’t just vote in small numbers for a different party. Some of the swings we saw across Scotland were unprecedented in Westminster political history. Scotland decisively voted against austerity and for an alternative approach.”

Asked whether Mr Cameron would have to offer Scotland fiscal autonomy, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC2’s Newsnight : “I think David Cameron was, in a way, saying that.

“I think it was very significant that in his acceptance speech in his own constituency and his speech on the steps of Number 10, he talked so much about preserving the union.

“The words he used were that he would give more autonomy to Scotland than any other part or region anywhere in the world.”

Among some of the big names to lose their seats to the SNP were Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, Labour election campaign chief Douglas Alexander, former Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy.

Ms Sturgeon’s party won 50% of the votes cast in Scotland, compared with just 20% in 2010. In comparison Labour saw its share of the vote fall to 24%, with the Conservatives on just under 15% in Scotland and the Lib Dems on 7.5%.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond was returned to Westminster as the new MP for Gordon after seizing the constituency from the Lib Dems.

As some constituencies showed swings to the SNP of more than 30%, 20-year-old student Mhairi Black beat former government minister Douglas Alexander in Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

In Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, which had been the safest Labour seat in Scotland, the SNP easily overturned a majority of more than 23,000 to capture the constituency which had been held by former prime minister Gordon Brown, who had stood down from Parliament.

It was only Ian Murray who managed to retain a Labour seat – holding on in Edinburgh South in the face of the SNP tsunami.

While Ed Miliband announced he is stepping down as UK leader of the party, Mr Murphy insisted he will stay in his job in Scotland in a bid to rebuild.

But with the Scottish Labour leader now not holding elected office at either Holyrood or Westminster, questions will be asked about how long he can continue in the role.

Published: Saturday 9th May 2015 by The News Editor

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