Questions of momentum and relativity


Image copyright AFP

David Mundell says Theresa May is still the best person to lead the country into Brexit negotiations.

She may recover, of course, but last night she scarcely sounded up for that fight.

She entered this contest to gain a personal mandate and hoping for a landslide. She has achieved neither of those aims.


The Tories have made 20 gains across the UK - with 12 of them in Scotland - thus emphasising how poor the result for the Conservatives is in England.

They are now looking to a hung parliament - with the Tories presumably dependent on the DUP to secure votes in the Commons.

This will mean that the issue of Ireland takes immediate centre stage in Brexit talks - at least for the UK government.


Alex Salmond says the SNP have won the election in Scotland.

Handling defeat with dignity and humour, he insisted the SNP would be in a position of influence in the Commons.

He said they would build a progressive alliance, if possible.


Alex Salmond defeated in Gordon.

This will characterise the night for the SNP, despite them holding many key seats.


Ruth Davidson very blunt on indyref2. Says it is "dead".


Theresa May's party are set to win the most seats. And she looks as if she has swallowed a wasp.

Nicola Sturgeon's party are set to win the most seats in Scotland. And she sounds cautious and constrained.

Isn't politics remarkable?

It is, as ever, a question of momentum and relativity.


If Nicola Sturgeon sounds faintly disappointed, Theresa May looked crushed.

Her acceptance speech was downbeat. She urged unity - without suggesting she was able to offer it - then left the stage swiftly.

Speculation will increase that she is not likely to be long in office.


Nicola Sturgeon says it is the second best result in Westminster polling for the SNP.

But also says she will need time to reflect upon the issue of a referendum.

Intriguing stuff ahead?


Alex Salmond is laying emphasis upon the prospect that the SNP will win the election in Scotland. Not upon the seats lost.

He says Labour experienced a late surge on the basis of support for Jeremy Corbyn.

He also says the SNP will be even more influential in what might be a hung parliament.


Tories take Aberdeen South and Ayr.


And so the record swing is overturned.

Anne McLaughlin won Glasgow North East with a 39% swing last time.

But Labour has now overturned that.

Kezia Dugdale, asked whether Jeremy Corbyn had won the right to stay as Labour leader, replied: "Absolutely".


Huge cheers as David Linden holds Glasgow East for SNP.

This was where Natalie McGarry was elected two years ago - but withdrew from the party whip.


Image caption Jo Swinson took the East Dunbartonshire seat for the Liberal Democrats

Very good victory for Jo Swinson for the Lib Dems in East Dunbartonshire.

She says she is humbled - and suggests that the SNP might now show comparable humility by abandoning indyref2.

Intriguing though that the Tory vote here is up by more than the LibDems.

Still, to the victor the prize.


For the SNP, it is a question of relativity.

Relative to their historic performance in Westminster elections, tonight still looks good.

Relative to the result in 2015, tonight looks notably poor.


And so the Portillo moment occurs.

Douglas Ross wins Moray.

However the SNP perform, this will colour their night.

They have lost their deputy leader and a strong Westminster performer, Angus Robertson.


Same pattern in the Western Isles. The SNP returned with pro-Union parties all putting on votes.


Again, in East Kilbride, pro-Union parties all put on votes. The SNP won, with a reduced share.


Same pattern in Dunbartonshire West. Labour up. Tories up more. SNP hold.


More re Paisley. Labour failed to emerge as sole challenger. Indeed, their vote went down when other pro-Union parties, Lib Dems and especially Tories, registered an increase.

Could that division in the pro Union vote help the SNP to hold on in other seats, if replicated?


Image caption The SNP's Mhairi Black retains her seat in Paisley and Renfrewshire South

Mhairi Black is back in Paisley and Renfrewshire South. Especially good victory for her and the SNP, given expectations elsewhere.

And further evidence that we have to await detailed outcomes from individual seats.


The Scottish Secretary David Mundell is blunt. He says the SNP bubble has burst and the voters "deeply dislike" Nicola Sturgeon.

Kevin Pringle, former SNP spin doctor and special adviser, says the 2015 result was "unrepeatable" for the SNP.

A narrative which may well be pursued if the results continue to follow the exit poll pattern in Scotland, with SNP defeats.


Image caption Labour candidate Gerard Killen takes the first seat from the SNP

Winning MP in Rutherglen says result is rejection of austerity and of indyref2.

First seat to change hands tonight.

James Kelly, the Labour MSP, had tipped this from the outset.

Labour up in Rutherglen. Tories up. SNP well down in voting share.


Labour take Rutherglen - where Labour's Scottish campaign was lost.

Huge cheers from Labour supporters at the count.


Derek Mackay, who co-ordinated the SNP campaign, is saying that it was always going to be tough to replicate 2015.

But he says that a victory is a victory.

The expectation from the outset was that the SNP would win the election in Scotland, but lose ground.

Question right now is: how much ground?


More thoughts.

In English seats, particularly in the North-east, the Tory vote is holding up better than the exit poll would suggest.

But how will the UKIP slump play out in core seats in the English Midlands and North-west?

In Scotland, talk is all of tight contests - including in the Western Isles, an SNP stronghold of late.


Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Julie Elliott who won the Sunderland Central constituency - one of the first few results declared

Three results in (none Scottish). Each Labour victories. But each with rising Conservative support, apparently contrary to the exit poll.

Another point. UKIP vote sharply down, even in Leave-voting Sunderland.

Are they being squeezed - or is the conclusion that it is job done on UKIP's principal objective?


Quick reminder. Exit poll was by GFK /Ipsos Mori for three broadcasters: BBC, ITV, Sky.

Sample was 30,450 voters leaving 144 polling stations. Ten sampling stations in Scotland.


Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Could Nicola Sturgeon's popularity be on the decline?

Murdo Fraser, from the Scottish Tories, says the exit poll, if proved correct, takes indyref2 off the table.


IF - and remember it is if - the exit poll is correct, then to what might one attribute the decline in SNP strength?

Douglas Alexander, who lost his seat two years ago, reckons one factor is growing discontent with Nicola Sturgeon.

Jeane Freeman of the SNP says she finds it hard to see where the SNP's "lost" 22 seats - as identified in the exit poll - might come from.

Might she well have a point? We shall see.


Another thought re the exit poll. It is, as I said on air, only a sample, albeit a pretty big one.

Final campaign polls mostly suggested a big lead for Tories although one or two indicated much smaller.


Image copyright AFP

Exit poll suggests 314 for Tories, short of majority.

If it is correct, then she has lost any pretension to a renewed mandate for negotiating Brexit - and would face big questions from within her party.

In Scotland, poll suggests 34 for the SNP, down 22. Jeane Freeman for SNP places emphasis on poor result for Tories.

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