Whilst the SNP have gained constituency seats, there have been a number of surprising constituent losses for the SNP and defeats where they expected to win. With forty-eight new MSPs entering the Scottish Parliament, there is plenty of change to report, but it is worth highlighting some of the politicians who have lost their seats – in many cases surprisingly.
These include stalwart Labour MSPs like Sarah Boyack, Michael McMahon, Cara Hilton and Patricia Ferguson. Boyack led the Party’s manifesto process and had been an MSP since the inception of the Parliament. From the SNP side, losses included former MSPs Stewart Maxwell, Dennis Robertson, Christian Allard and Chic Brodie. However, the losses of Jim Eadie and former Minister, Aileen McLeod, are perhaps the most surprising losses. The Lib Dems lost their South of Scotland flag-bearer, Jim Hume.
The surprise Labour victory in Edinburgh Southern for Daniel Johnston has pushed out close Sturgeon ally and former Infrastructure Committee Convener, Jim Eadie. Jim was elected in 2011 with one of the slimmest margins in the country. Labour has managed to reverse the swing. Edinburgh Southern is now a bastion for Labour given that it is the only Labour Westminster seat, held by Ian Murray MP.
Ken Macintosh, who has held Eastwood since 1999, has been squeezed out by the Conservatives in a tight three-way race. Deputy Conservative Leader, Jackson Carlaw, defeated the SNP’s Stewart Maxwell and put Macintosh into third. The anti-Semitism row amongst the Labour party at Westminster may have had an effect here as the constituency has one of the highest Jewish populations. The constitutional division, and the Tories’ national play for the unionist vote will have also had an effect.
A seat which was long-held by the Liberal Democrats, the Tories have performed strongly in Aberdeenshire West to knock-off well-liked, popular incumbent SNP MSP, Dennis Robertson. The first blind MSP at Holyrood, Robertson had built a reputation as solid Committee performer and champion for the North-East economy.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine has been a long-held target for the Tories at Westminster. Westminster candidate Alexander Burnett lost to the SNP’s Stuart Donaldson MP in May 2015, but has stood again and defeated Robertson this time around for the Holyrood seat. Robertson’s comments that there was no crisis in the oil and gas sector in Scotland, perhaps played into the result.
There wasn’t many constituency seats which Labour could have claimed an increased majority, for Iain Gray in East Lothian, he could! He increased his majority by almost 1000 votes. Whilst it looked tricky early-on for Gray at the count, by the end of the night Gray said that he now “loved East Lothian a little bit more”.
The Liberal Democrats became increasingly confident as the poll approached, but they will have not expected such a convincing increase in their vote of 14%. The effect of the police investigation into Michelle Thomson MP and her resignation of the SNP whip should not be underestimated here, but the Liberal Democrats did hold the seat at Holyrood and the equivalent seat at Westminster under former MP, Mike Crockart.
Alex Cole-Hamilton picked up an almost 3,000 majority, and as psephologist John Curtice, said “it appears they (Liberal Democrats) have regained some of their ability to develop local strongholds.” With Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Willie Rennie’s result to take North East Fife from the SNP, coupled with the results in Orkney and Shetland, he may have a point!