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.

Voices
voices
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
newsBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
newsHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Year 5 Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Senior Marketing Executive (B2B/B2C) - London

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried