SNP secures majority election win

The SNP has secured an unprecedented victory by taking a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament election.

Alex Salmond's party passed the half-way point by taking its 65th seat in a historic win at Kirkcaldy, the first time gains on this scale have been achieved since the Parliament was established in 1999.



The decisive victory comes at the heavy expense of Labour in what were considered heartland territories, and with a collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote.



Labour's defeat led the party's leader Iain Gray to announce that he will stand down in the autumn.



Mr Gray only held on to his East Lothian constituency by 151 votes over SNP candidate David Berry, prompting calls for a recount.



With three regional lists to be declared, the SNP had 65 seats, with Labour trailing on 29 MSPs. The Conservatives had nine, the Lib Dems four and the Scottish Greens one.



The win is further symbolic because Kirkcaldy was considered a solid Labour area, with the overlapping Westminster constituency held by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown.



It also means a referendum on Scottish independence can now be pushed through the Holyrood chamber - a proposal which failed to gain majority support in the last parliament.



First Minister Mr Salmond is expected to land by helicopter in Edinburgh later, where he will deliver a victory speech after a night of surprises across Scotland.



Mr Gray said: "It is now clear that the SNP has won the election, so early this morning I spoke with Alex Salmond to congratulate him on his victory.



"Labour has lost many talented representatives and it seems very likely that Labour's new and returning MSPs will play their part in the democratic process in the Scottish Parliament from opposition, but will do so with gusto.



"Labour's MSPs will work constructively with the new Scottish Government to create jobs and tackle unemployment wherever we can."



Shocks came quickly after polling stations closed last night, with major Labour politicians finding themselves out of a job.



Seat after seat in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Edinburgh fell to the SNP, which also enjoyed a clean sweep of the entire north-east region.



The electoral map of Scotland appeared drastically different, with swathes of SNP yellow stretching unbroken from the Borders in the south to Thurso on the north coast.



Candidates once thought of as potential Labour frontbenchers lost out, including former ministers Andy Kerr, Tom McCabe and Frank McAveety.



Former Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie was unseated in Edinburgh Pentlands.



But the Lib Dems appeared the biggest losers, with heavy falls in the share of votes and a high number of lost deposits.



Leader Tavish Scott held on to Shetland with a reduced share but his party was beaten in areas where it had previously enjoyed a comfortable majority.



The party's finance spokesman, Jeremy Purvis, was ousted by the SNP's Christine Grahame, who took Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale with 43.51% of the vote.



SNP leader Mr Salmond, who won Aberdeenshire East with about 64% of the vote, hailed the "spectacular" successes.



He said wins across the country meant the SNP can now properly be described as the "national party", represented in all parts of Scotland.



In 2007, the SNP beat Labour nationally by just one seat to become the largest party at Holyrood, forming a minority administration led by Mr Salmond.















A second Green candidate was elected to parliament through the Lothian list, taking the party's tally back to the level of the last parliament.



But co-leader Patrick Harvie said he was "disappointed" not to have made the much-touted breakthrough in regional ballots across the country.



"I'd be lying if I tried to hide my disappointment," he told the BBC.



"I did hope for a bigger group in the Scottish Parliament in the new session. If we're at a standstill of two, or if we're at a slight increase, I'll have to admit I'll be disappointed."



Veteran politician Margo MacDonald was also re-elected on the list. In the last parliament, the former SNP MP failed to make Scotland the first part of the UK to legalise assisted suicide and pledged to try again this time around.









Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "I respect the decision Iain Gray has made today and I want to thank him for everything he has done for the Scottish Labour Party.



"While we have seen good results today, gaining councils and councillors across England and winning in Wales, this is clearly a very disappointing election result in Scotland.



"We need to learn the lessons of that result, both political and organisational. That is why I, with Iain, am today putting in place a root-and-branch review of the Labour Party in Scotland. This will bring together all elements of the Scottish Party to renew it for the future."











Mr Gray said election night was "dreadful" for Labour and promised to take time to assess what happened before standing down.



"It was a dreadful night and I acknowledge that, the Labour Party has to accept that," he told BBC Scotland.



"There are some very hard and fundamental lessons for the Scottish Labour Party, not least about my own responsibility in the role as leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament.



"I want to start that process off but in the autumn I will stand down and it will be for the Labour Party to decide how we go forward from there."



Mr Gray also said he would like to offer SNP leader Alex Salmond his "unstinting congratulations" for an "absolutely remarkable achievement".









The final results for the Scottish Parliament election put the SNP on 69 seats, Labour on 37, Conservatives on 15, Liberal Democrats on five and Greens on two. Independent MSP Margo MacDonald was also returned to parliament.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor