Major losses for the Scottish National Party in Britain's general election could force First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to rethink her plans for independence and her strategy on Brexit, observers said Friday.
The Scottish National Party went into this general election with losses predicted from their record 56-seat haul in 2015, but even the nationalists' fiercest critics could not have envisaged such a hard night for Nicola Sturgeon's party.
The Labour party, which used to dominate Scottish politics, was reduced to just one Scottish lawmaker in 2015. In the 1950s there was no Scottish Conservative party; they were called the Unionist Party.
Addressing a rally in Edinburgh the day before voters go to the polls, Ms Sturgeon said voters in Scotland could hold the key to ensuring the Prime Minister loses her majority at Westminster and urged Liberal Democrat and Labour supporters to switch to her party and avoid "splitting the anti-Tory vote".
The SNP leader said her party will work to keep Conservatives out of power. She argued that increasing the Conservative majority in Parliament would strengthen Britain's hand in Brexit talks. The 37% of the vote that the party won on Thursday might be enough to win a majority of Scottish seats, but it is not anything like enough to win a referendum.
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Labour gained a number of seats back from the SNP, with the party making a return to winning ways in Scotland's largest city as they took Glasgow North East from Anne McLaughlin.
Ruth Davidson was hailed her party's hero of the night as the tartan Tory surge ended for a generation Nicola Sturgeon's dream of a second independence referendum.
The sizable losses appear to have been a repudiation of the party's promise to send Scots back to the polls for a second independence vote.
"I'm proud to be Scottish and British and female and gay and Christian and Conservative and a Fifer and fond of chips, a fan of "Hamilton" the musical and to prefer dogs to cats", she told an audience at the Orwell Foundation last month.
That's a crushing result for the SNP."We've hit peak SNP and we've certainly hit peak Nicola Sturgeon".She added: "Young people in England are coming out of university with £27,000 of debt just from tuition fees". Davidson did not stand in the election and remains a member of the Scottish parliament. So is she. In an election she didn't have to call, she's come across as weak and indecisive, not strong and stable. Sturgeon didn't see this coming until too late, when she launched a personal attack on Kezia Dugdale. The Tories also benefited because they have in Mrs Davidson a leader who, unlike Mrs May, comes across as a human being.
The Daily Telegraph reported that a strengthened Ms Davidson now wanted to "tear her Scottish party away from English control" after tensions during the campaign, and that her aides were working on a deal to set up a separate organisation in Scotland, albeit with a close relationship with the English party.