Even when the Conservatives were on track for an historic triumph across Great Britain, they weren’t set to have as good a result north of the border as it’s shaping up to be.
At the time of writing, the Tories have taken eleven seats from the Scottish National Party. As we write they’ve come from a distant third to unseat Alex Salmond in Gordon and also captured his former constituency of Banff & Buchan (the only Scottish seat to vote Leave) on an astonishing 20 point swing.
With Dumfries & Galloway and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale, and Tweeddale – David Mundell’s constituency – still to declare we could end up with an eye-watering 13 Scottish Conservative MPs. Here’s the full list of current gains:
- >Aberdeen South
- >Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine
- >Ayr, Carrick, and Cumnock
- >Banff and Buchan
- >Berwickshire, Roxburgh, and Selkirk
- >East Renfrewshire
- >Ochil and South Perthshire
There were some painful misses in seats which were actual targets: Pete Wishart fended off Ian Duncan MEP by just 21 votes in Perth and North Perthshire, whilst the Nationalists held Edinburgh South West by just over 1,000 votes.
Nonetheless, some big names have fallen: the aforementioned Salmond but also Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, in Moray and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh in Ochil and South Perthshire.
Conservative candidates also ran close in Ayrshire Central (SNP maj. 1267), Ayrshire North & Arran (SNP maj. 3,633), and Argyll & Bute (SNP maj. 1,328). They also retook second place in two long-lost highland strongholds: Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey (formerly Danny Alexander’s seat) and Ross, Skye, & Lochaber, and increased their vote substantially almost everywhere.
For a party which hasn’t won more than a single seat in Scotland at a general election since 1992, this is an absolutely fabulous result. For a Prime Minister who always took pains to emphasise the full name of the Conservative and Unionist Party it could have been the crowning glory of an historic triumph. As is, it stands in sad contrast to the result in England and Wales and is almost certainly the sole property of Ruth Davidson.
With a hung parliament looking likely, any ongoing Tory administration will owe its survival to this new Scottish caucus and the Conservatives’ close working relationship with the Democratic Unionists. Could it end up being the first ‘Unionist’ government since Lord Salisbury?