SNP Romps To "Watershed" Victory

Nicola Sturgeon has declared the SNP's stunning Westminster success a “historic watershed” in Scottish politics.

The SNP leader and Scottish First Minister cheered as her party secured an unprecedented number of MPs at Westminster.

The nationalists, who won just six seats in 2010, swept the board in Glasgow, winning all seven seats in Scotland's largest city.

While the SNP enjoyed unprecedented success, a massive collapse in support for Labour north of the border saw both Scottish leader Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander lose their seats.

Speaking from the Glasgow count at the city's Emirates Arena, Ms Sturgeon declared: “The political firmament, the tectonic plates in Scottish politics have shifted.

“What we are seeing is a historic watershed.

“Whatever the government is that emerges at Westminster, they cannot ignore what has happened in Scotland.”

The SNP triumphs included the return to Westminster of former leader Alex Salmond, who declared that the “Scottish lion has roared” as he was elected as the new MP for Gordon.

Mr Salmond, who captured the seat from the Liberal Democrats, told supporters: “There is a swing under way in Scotland the likes of which has not been seen in recorded politics.

“It is an extraordinary statement of intent from the people of Scotland.”

Ms Sturgeon said she was “delighted” to see her former boss win the seat, adding: “I never really doubted that Alex would be elected but obviously you don't take anything for granted.

“Alex is just such an asset to the SNP and to Scotland and I know he will be a fantastic part of the team (at Westminster).

“Alex and I have had a special relationship, we have worked together very closely for a quarter of a century, and I look forward to seeing him representing his constituents and making Scotland's voice heard back on the green benches at the House of Commons.”

While David Cameron's Conservatives looked likely to be the largest party in the UK, the SNP have won more than 50 seats.

Labour's Ian Murray managed to retain his Edinburgh South seat in the face of the SNP tsunami.

But Ms Sturgeon said: “Labour has been losing touch with the Scottish people over many years now and tonight the Scottish people have put their trust in the SNP to make Scotland's voice heard and to stand up for progressive politics and that's exactly what we intend to do.

“My message to people who voted for the SNP and to those who did not vote for the SNP, the SNP won't let you down. We will seek to be Scotland's voice and we will make sure Scotland's interests are protected.”

With some constituencies showing swings to the SNP of more than 30%, Mr Alexander, Labour's election campaign chief, was the first big scalp of the night for the nationalists.

Student Mhairi Black, 20, beat the former government minister in Paisley and Renfrewshire South, the seat he had held since 1997.

In Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, which had been the safest Labour seat in Scotland, the SNP easily overturned a majority of more than 23,000 to capture the constituency which had been held by former prime minister Gordon Brown, who did not stand again.

As an SNP landslide swept across the country, Labour candidate Kenny Selbie polled 17,654 votes, nearly 10,000 fewer than nationalist Roger Mullin, who picked up 27,628 votes for the SNP.

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran lost her Glasgow East seat to the nationalists,

Mr Murphy said it was an “enormous” moment for the SNP, but vowed that his party's fightback starts tomorrow.

He insisted: “The fight goes on and our cause continues.

“I know hundreds of thousands of Scots still believe in the progressive policies the Labour Party stands for.

“The Scottish Labour Party has been around for more than a century. A hundred years from tonight we will still be around.

“Scotland needs a strong Labour Party and our fightback starts tomorrow morning.”

Labour's Ian Davidson, who lost his Glasgow South-West seat to the SNP, said Mr Murphy could not now continue as leader and called on him to resign.

He said: “He was elected as party leader on the basis that he was an MP. Only MPs and MSPs can stand for the leadership.

“Morally, as the man who has led us to the biggest ever disaster that Labour has suffered in Scotland ... of course he can't continue.

“The process of rebuilding the Labour party has got to start with an examination of both personnel and ideas.

“And therefore Jim has got to do the honourable thing and resign. I'm sure once he has got time to reflect, he will do that.”

Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael managed to hold on to his Orkney and Shetland constituency, but with a reduced share of the vote.

Conservative Scotland Office Minister David Mundell also managed to retain his seat of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

But Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, the UK business minister, lost the East Dunbartonshire seat she had held for 10 years to the SNP.

The tone was set when nationalist Alan Brown won the first seat of the night in Scotland, with 30,000 votes, unseating Labour's Cathy Jamieson to become the new MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun.

The SNP went on to enjoy unprecedented successes throughout the course of the night.

In another blow to the Lib Dems, former party leader Charles Kennedy lost his Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat to the SNP.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was “deeply sorry for what has happened” in Scotland.

Speaking after being re-elected as the MP for Doncaster North, he said: “We have seen a surge of nationalism overwhelm our party.”

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