Labour sweeps SNP out of Glasgow and Edinburgh as Swinney promises ‘soul searching’

Labour sweeps SNP out of Glasgow and Edinburgh as Swinney promises ‘soul searching’

Scottish Labour has won all the seats from the SNP in Glasgow and Edinburgh as First Minister John Swinney promised his party would undertake a “deep review” after a “very poor” performance.

The SNP won every seat in Glasgow and all but one in the Scottish capital, but Anas Sarwar’s party turned the SNP yellow and Labour red in the early hours of Friday morning as they swept through the central belt, matching the UK-wide performance that paved the way for Sir Keir Starmer to Downing Street.

With more than half of Scotland’s constituencies declared, Labour has been dominant, regaining seats lost in the turmoil of the last decade.

(PA Graphics)

The Scottish Lib Dems retained their Edinburgh West seat.

But the SNP – which has suffered heavy defeats – faces a period of “soul searching”, according to Mr Swinney.

“It’s a very bad result for the SNP tonight,” he told the BBC.

“We will have to do a lot of soul-searching as a party as a result of the results that came out tonight.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The SNP, Mr Swinney said, had to be “better at governing on behalf of the people of Scotland”, adding that the party was not “winning the argument” over Scottish independence.

He said: “Although we have a bad election result tonight, I still believe in my head and in my heart that Scotland will be better off as an independent country.

“But we’re obviously not winning that argument with the public to make this a priority at this point, so we have to think very hard about how we approach this issue and I don’t think in the early hours of the morning after a general election I can give you the definitive answer about what we do in those circumstances.”

Speaking as he arrived at the count in Glasgow, Scottish Labour leader Mr Sarwar said the push for change would begin on Friday.

It comes after his party trounced the SNP in early results in Scotland, with substantial swings to Labour.

“I am confident that we will win this election in Scotland and I am confident that we will have a majority in Scotland,” he said.

Sir Keir’s group took Kilmarnock and Loudon, West Dunbartonshire, Paisley and Renfrewshire South and East Kilbride and Strathaven in the early hours of Friday morning, each with substantial swings between the two groups.

Among Labour’s victories was former international development secretary Douglas Alexander, who won with 23,555 votes after losing his seat in 2015.

Elsewhere, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn was re-elected in Aberdeen South and Kirsty Blackman retained her seat in Aberdeen North.

The SNP’s campaign focused on calls for negotiations over another independence referendum if the party won a majority of seats in the election.

Ballot boxes are emptied at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow during the general election count (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross told the BBC that the exit poll predicted a “historically bad” result for the Conservatives across the UK.

He said he did not regret his last-minute decision to stand in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, but predicted an “extremely close” result.

Speaking of the Aberdeen count, he said: “It’s a historically bad night, there’s no getting away from that and there will be a big reflection on the campaign and also, clearly, on the last few years.

“It has been particularly difficult and there is no denying that, and whoever forms the next parliamentary party will be looking at future options and assessing the current state of the Conservative party and how it will rebuild following the result of this election.”

He said he did not regret his last-minute decision to run, but predicted an “extremely close” result.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the exit poll was a “hopeful” sign for his party in the UK, where he predicted two Green MPs.

Speaking to PA about the count in Glasgow, he said any gain in the only English seat won by the Greens in the 2019 general election would be “something to celebrate”.