Lib Dems defeat SNP in final General Election constituency count

The Liberal Democrats are “overjoyed” after defeating the SNP in the final UK constituency to be declared in the General Election results, their Scottish leader has said.

Angus MacDonald has become the sixth Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, taking the Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire seat with 18,159 votes.

He secured a majority of 2,160 over Drew Hendry of the SNP, who had earlier conceded that he would not win the seat and took 15,999 votes.

The final result in the General Election was announced at around 6pm on Saturday, 44 hours after the polls closed at 10pm on Thursday evening, following a recount which began on Saturday morning.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton welcomed the result (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Liberal Democrats now have six seats in Scotland and 72 UK-wide while the SNP have fallen to nine from a previous 48.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “My heart is in the Highlands today. The Liberal Democrats were all but wiped out in 2015, but that wasn’t the worst thing to happen to us that year. Weeks later we lost Charles Kennedy.

“That the final act of this general election should see his old seat returned to Lib Dem hands and the care of Angus MacDonald is simply wonderful.

“I’m overjoyed that Angus has become the sensational sixth Scottish Liberal Democrat MP.

“Angus has shown that the Liberal Democrats are the strongest voice for the Highlands.

“He will focus on what really matters, such as getting you NHS care close to home, improving dangerous roads and fighting for a fair deal for the Highlands.”

Labour won 37 seats in Scotland, adding to the party’s major lead in the UK, while the Scottish Tories won five but suffered the loss of Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat.

Mr Hendry, formerly MP for Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, had contested the seat which had been drawn up under new election boundary rules.

He conceded that he would not win the seat and did not attend the recount due to an “unmovable prior commitment.”

Mr Hendry said: “It has been an absolute joy to serve the people of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey for the past nine years. I am obviously disappointed not to be continuing that representation under the new Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire boundary and wish the new MP every success in his new role.

“People need an MP who will fight for their needs both local and at UK level and during this cost-of-living crisis, they have never needed help and assistance more.”

He added: “I would like to use this opportunity to publicly thank the constituents I’ve proudly served for their support, my fabulous and hard-working constituency team, our campaign volunteers and my ever-supportive family.”