Scottish nationalists collapse and Tories decimated in Wales

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Scotland has turned its back on its once dominant nationalist party, while Wales has sent the Conservatives packing.


UK election: Scottish nationalists collapse and Tories decimated in Wales

Scotland’s industrial belt has returned to Labour amid a collapse in support for the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), while Wales has booted out the defeated Conservative party in a momentous realignment of UK regional politics.

The SNP, which won all but three of 59 constituencies north of the border in 2015, has dropped from 47 to just nine seats, although a recount was underway in the Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire constituency with the result not expected until Saturday (6 July).

Meanwhile, Labour’s nationwide surge was perhaps most intensely felt in Scotland, where it increased its seat count from a mere one to 37, going a long way to regaining the dominant position it once enjoyed, especially in the urban and industrial heartlands.

The result appears to have dealt a crushing blow to the SNP’s core objective of achieving Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to give it its full name.

Residents voted 55%-45% against independence in a 2014 referendum, but the SNP has continued pushing for another ballot, especially after a majority of Scots voted to remain within the EU in the Brexit referendum two years later.

Party leader John Swinney said today that the UK election in Scotland had in part been about whether the SNP should be given a mandate to push for a second referendum, one of its commitments when it came top, taking 63 of 129 seats, in the Scottish parliament of 2021.

“I have to accept that we failed to convince people of the urgency of independence in this election campaign,” Swinney said.

Conservatives wiped out in Wales

Wales – whose devolved parliament was, like Scotland’s, created in fulfilment of an election pledge after Labour was last swept to power in 1997 – also saw a seismic shift in the balance of power as votes were counted overnight.

Nationalist party Plaid Cymru took four of 32 Welsh seats by winning in what could loosely be termed the Celtic fringe – from the isle of Anglesey in the north, which it took from the Conservatives, to Caerfyrddin in the south. The Liberal Democrats also took their one seat – Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe – from the Conservatives.

But Labour dominated, winning all remaining 27 seats on an electoral map that has been redrawn from a previous 40 constituencies. The result was a wipe-out for the Tories, who won 14 seats in 2019 but no longer have a single Welsh MP in Westminster.

The result was seen as part of a wider regaining of so-called Red Wall seats, constituencies that have traditionally returned Labour candidates but turned to the Conservatives in 2019 when they ran on a “get Brexit done” ticket.

“Of course it was a disappointing day, but the reality is we live in a democracy, and we absolutely accept the results that have come out across the country tonight,” conceded Conservative MP David TC Davies in Monmouth, the first sitting Welsh Secretary to have lost his seat.

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