Labour Party suffers further ignominy in Scotland

Ukip trounced with two per cent of vote, a harbinger perhaps of how strongly Scotland will reject Brexit

 

Only a few years ago Labour, then dominant across Scotland, used to boast that they had made the country a virtually “Tory-free zone”, returning just one Conservative MP to Westminster. How times have changed.

In Tuesday’s elections to the Scottish Assembly Labour, previously eclipsed by the Scottish Nationalists, finished third to the SNP, and, horror of horrors, behind the second-placed Tories for the first time in over a century. Labour lost 13 seats on 2011, crashing 13 seats to 24, to the Tories 31, and failing even to win one constituency seat in the party’s old heartland of Glasgow (honour saved by picking up four Glasgow regional top-up seats).

The Scottish National Party was able to boast a third successive assembly victory, although it lost some seats, taking 63 of Holyrood’s 129 places. It will comfortably retain control of the executive, although, like Enda Kenny, governing now without an absolute majority as it did successfully between 2007 and 2011

The Tory success was in no small measure a tribute its rebranding, modernising leader Ruth Davidson, who won an unexpected victory in Edinburgh Central from the SNP. She had campaigning vigorously against tax rises and any further independence referendums. By far the party’s best result in the era of devolved power.

Party realignments continued too with the pro-independence Greens tripling their representation to six and pushing the Liberal Democrats into fifth place. Ukip was trounced with two per cent of the vote, a harbinger perhaps of how strongly Scotland will reject Brexit.

Labour’s leadership challenge south of the border was replicated in Scotland where the result has also led to calls for the party to ditch the recently appointed Kezia Dugdale.

Few imagine, however, that such a move, would do anything to claim back the Labour Party’s core voters from the SNP whose social democratic programme and inroads into working class Glasgow yesterday reflected the extent to which it has now become Scottish party of labour.

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