Politicians reflect on election result

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The SNP held on to both seats in Falkirk and Linlithgow & East Falkirk – but with much reduced majorities.

In a story that was replicated up and down the country, Nicola Sturgeon’s Nationalists lost votes – and in some case seats – to Theresa May’s Tories.

Scottish Labour also recovered from its whipping in 2015 when they only managed to return one MP to the London parliament. This time around it was a case of ‘seventh heaven’ for a party which appears to finally be backing Jeremy Corbyn after some testing times.

As the story developed across Scotland, it was shortly after 2am the smile on John McNally’s face told everyone he was going back to Westminster to carry on with the work for Falkirk he began in 2015.

Martyn Day and his supporters had to wait another couple of hours before they heard that he too would again be joining the now depleted band of Scottish Nationalist MPs in the House of Commons representing Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

However, the surprise of the night locally was how the SNP’s lost votes nearly all went to the Conservatives with their share of the vote more than doubling since the last General Election.

John McNally polled 20,952 votes (38.9 per cent), which was down from 34,831 (57.72 per cent) in 2015. However, his 4923 majority remains one of most solid in Scotland, albeit down from 19,701 previously.

Craig Martin increased Labour’s share from 15,130 (25.07 per cent) in 2015 to 16,029 (29.8 per cent).

However, Callum Laidlaw saw a huge increase in the Tory vote from 7325 (12.13 per cent) to 14,088 (26.2 per cent).

Other were: Austin Reid for the Liberal Democrats with 1120 (2.1 per cent), Debra Pickering (Green) with 908 (1.7 per cent) and Stuart Martin (UKIP) with 712 (1.3 per cent).

Reflecting on his victory this week, Mr McNally said: “Many thanks to everyone who voted – and to those who generously gave up their time and put so much work into our very positive Falkirk campaign. It was an effort I am proud to be part of.

“It’s an honour to be asked by the people of Falkirk to further build on the achievements we have made in our local community over the last two years. I will also continue to speak up for my constituents at Westminster and to counter, whenever possible, the brutal effects of Tory austerity.”

Runner-up Mr Martin said: “Firstly can I thank everyone that voted for me. It’s a real honour to be a candidate in my home town of Falkirk.

“I am very pleased with the result, more people voted Labour than last time and we are now within touching distance of winning the seat. The result in the country has proven that hope trumps fear, that people want a fairer country, a more equal country and a less divisive country.

“I wish Jonny McNally MP all the best in representing this cracking town.

“The local Labour party will continue to be on a campaign footing in the chance that the Tory/DUP coalition of chaos doesn’t make it past a few months.”

Commenting on the surge in Tory votes, Alison Harris MSP said: “We are absolutely delighted to have doubled our vote and this comes on top of our successes in Falkirk Council last month where we now have seven councillors.

“People have chosen to vote for the Scottish Conservatives in the knowledge that we are the only party able to take on the SNP.”

Martyn Day’s majority was also cut by almost 10,000 to 2919. This time around he polled 20,388 (36.4 per cent) compared to 32,055 (52.03 per cent) in 2015.

Joan Coombes maintained the Labour vote at 31.1 per cent with 17,469, while Charles Kennedy increased the Conservative vote from 11.98 per cent to 29.1 per cent (16,311). The Liberal Democrats Sally Pattie brought up the rear but her 1926 (3.4 per cent) was an increase from the party’s 1252 (2.03 per cent) in 2015.

Welcoming an opportunity to “get back to the day job”, Mr Day said: “I am delighted to have been re-elected as the MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, and wish to thank everyone who voted for me.

“It is a huge privilege that the people of Linlithgow and East Falkirk have once again chosen to place their faith in me.

I look forward to serving each and every one of my constituents, however they may have voted, over the term of the next Parliament.”

Mrs Coombes said: “I am obviously delighted with the result. I cut Martyn Day’s majority from 13,000 to less than 3000. The SNP lost seats across Scotland. In many areas they held on with only a handful of votes.

“The predictions proved incorrect because Jeremy Corbyn’s positive vision for change across Britain resonated with most of the voters I met and talked to.”