SNP concedes defeat in last UK seat still to declare result

votes being counted in Glasgow
Votes were counted across Scotland after the polls closed on Thursday night [Reuters]

The SNP candidate in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire, the last seat in the UK still to announce its result, has conceded defeat.

It seems likely the constituency will go to the Liberal Democrats - although the result is not expected to be officially announced until after a second recount which will begin at 10:30 on Saturday.

SNP candidate Drew Hendry said he would be unable to attend the recount due to an "unmovable prior commitment".

He said it had been "an absolute joy" to serve the people of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey for the last nine years - and that he was disappointed not to be continuing as MP under the new Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire boundary.

It is now expected that the seat will be won by Angus MacDonald of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The outcome had originally been expected at about 05:00 on Friday, but there was a recount - then candidates were told the votes would need to be counted again on Saturday morning.

Returning officer Derek Brown said the delay was due to a discrepancy between the verified votes total and the provisional number of counted votes.

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Labour won a landslide victory in Scotland with 37 seats – a gain of 36.

The SNP, who won 48 seats in 2019, have been reduced to nine.

The Scottish Conservatives have five seats but party leader Douglas Ross - who is standing down after the vote - lost out to the SNP in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East after controversially standing instead of a local candidate who had been ill.

The Liberal Democrats are on five seats, which would rise to six if they win Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire.

First Minister John Swinney has described the result, the SNP's worst since 2010, as "very, very difficult and damaging".

He said the party would have to rebuild trust with the people of Scotland.

In a phone call with new Prime Minister Keir Starmer on Friday evening, Mr Swinney committed to working cooperatively with the UK government on "areas of mutual interest".

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said it was a "historic day" and that the new Labour MPs would "make decisions for the people of Scotland".

Mr Ross described it as a “deeply difficult campaign and result” for his party.

He told BBC Reporting Scotland: “I don’t think we need any knee-jerk reaction that we may regret in the short to medium term.”

Scottish Labour took a 37.5% share of the vote in Scotland, a 17% increase, with 412 seats overall across the UK.

The party made gains across the central belt, including taking all six Glasgow seats from the SNP.

The party won five out of six Edinburgh constituencies, with the SNP's Joanna Cherry among the high-profile departures.

Labour also made gains in Ayrshire, Fife and Tayside.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald was ousted in East Renfrewshire by Labour's Blair McDougall – the former head strategist of the Better Together campaign for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP's Westminster leader, held on to his Aberdeen South seat but told BBC Scotland it was a “very difficult and bleak night” for his party.

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