Ruth Davidson dismisses Scottish Tories breakaway claim

Owen Paterson

Owen Paterson

In a dramatic night in politics, senior nationalists were ousted from the House of Commons - with former first minister Alex Salmond and SNP depute leader Angus Robertson among those who were defeated as the Scottish Tories had their best result in a General Election for more than three decades.

Sturgeon said that while the SNP finished first in Scotland "It is an inescapable fact that we also suffered some bitterly disappointing losses".

Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson said "there wouldn't have been so many SNP losses tonight if Nicola Sturgeon hadn't tried to force through an unwanted second independence referendum in March".

"Folk might remember I fought a leadership election on the other side of that particular argument", she added. "She called an election arrogantly thinking she would crush the opposition".

In a statement at her official residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon promised she would "listen to voters" and "consider very carefully the best way forward for Scotland".

The SNP will now have to find a new depute leader after Mr Robertson, one of the party's most prominent voices at Westminster, lost his Moray seat to Tory Douglas Ross.

Despite attempts by parts of the Scottish National Party not to frame the general election as a de-facto vote on a second independence referendum, many Scots perceived it to be the defining issue of the campaign. "In less than a year they have caused chaos on an industrial scale".

Ms Davidson spoke out in support of Mrs May as she seeks to form a government with help from the DUP.

Ms Davidson said: "SNP MPs who last night lost their seats have paid the price for what was a massive political miscalculation on Nicola Sturgeon's part".

And she demanded: "We have heard the First Minister say she will "reflect" on the matter".

While Ms Davidson congratulated newly-elected Tory MPs in Scotland, she said the UK-wide result "fell short of expectations". "I'm afraid that's not enough".

The popular view is that the SNP hit a near ideal storm as Brexit-supporting yes voters abandoned the party in the fishing and farming communities of Aberdeenshire, the two-party race developing across the rest of the United Kingdom encouraged a return to pre-2015 Westminster voting patterns, and the SNP was punished for demanding a second independence referendum (#scotref) while health and education outcomes have faltered. When Theresa May finally rejected that bid, Sturgeon put a second independence referendum back on the table as being the only way Scots could have the chance to vote their way out of Brexit - fully expecting she had two years to build her case while May stumbled deeper into the mire of Brexit.

She said the PM's decision to call a snap poll had backfired.

Speaking of a "historic night", the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Ruth Davidson told the BBC that plans for a second independence vote were now "dead".

"That's why they should hold an early vote in the Scottish Parliament to sist, delay and stop any independence referendum in this parliamentary term".

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