Scotland politics

Election 2017: Contrasting fortunes of Conservatives north and south of border

Ruth Davidson Image copyright PA
Image caption A jubilant Ruth Davidson has seen a resurgence of the Conservatives in Scotland

Election night has turned out to be a night of contrasting fortunes for the Conservative and Unionist Party.

If Prime Minister Theresa May does not appear to have had a particularly good night, Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader in Scotland, certainly has.

The Scottish Tories have seen double-digit increases in their vote in almost every seat. They've more than doubled their returns in some places where the party was previously unelectable.

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Media captionSturgeon: 'SNP have won the election in Scotland'

First they knocked off Angus Robertson, the SNP's deputy leader and top dog at Westminster.

They had called that their "Portillo moment" - but their best was yet to come, as they dethroned Alex Salmond in Gordon. They even overturned the fourth-safest seat in the country, in Banff and Buchan.

Other Scottish Tory gains include:

  • East Renfrewshire, which was a three-way battle with the SNP and Labour
  • Angus, where the SNP were defending majority of over 25%
  • and there were some in places where even the Tories didn't really see them coming, like Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.

It's been a long time since the Tories have had a night like this in Scotland.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Theresa May looks likely to have lost her overall majority

In four elections in a row, they returned a single MP. The year before that, 1997, they got zero. You have to go back to 1992 for the last time they won more than a single seat in Scotland.

They ended up with 13 - the party's best showing north of the border since 1983.

What this Tory resurgence means for the rest of the UK in terms of parliamentary calculations is unclear. The margins are razor-thin, so every seat is precious.

But the Tories are resolute in what they believe it means for Scotland.

"Indyref2 is dead," Ms Davidson says. The prospect of a second independence referendum has been at the core of the Tory campaign, and indeed their entire revival in Scotland.

The SNP have a majority of seats, and thus a "triple lock" mandate for that referendum, according to their manifesto - but it certainly seems a more distant prospect than ever.

And while Mrs May's future might now be in doubt, Ms Davidson's star is burning more brightly than ever.

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