As May says 'let's get to work'....
Sturgeon accepts indyref talk cost seats
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon conceded that independence contributed to the “bitterly disappointing” General Election result last night which saw the party lose 21 seats.
Speaking at Bute House in Edinburgh the First Minister made further attacks on the Tories and Theresa May for causing “chaos” but accepted that her own policies would need to be revisited.
“Undoubtedly the issue of an independence referendum was a factor in this election result,” she said. “There were other factors…I will reflect on that and come to a considered judgement.”
She repeated her offer to work with others “if at all possible” to keep the Tories out of power.
But this looked a forlorn hope as Theresa May returned from Buckingham Palace to announce she would be forming a government with support from the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.
Mrs May had earlier been expected to secure a deal with the DUP to build a “working majority”.
Speaking on the steps of Downing St after seeing The Queen she gave a brief statement which made no reference to the events of last night or the concerns from Europe about delaying the Brexit talks.
“What the country needs more than ever is certainty,” she said, adding that she had confidence that the Tories and DUP could work together.
She said the country could come together to build a Brexit deal and secure a new partnership with the EU.
“That’s what people voted for last June and which we will deliver,” she said. “Now let’s get to work.”
Her comments gave the impression of “business as usual” and left commentators to speculate on what sort of government she will form and whether she will change her centralist style.
Ms Sturgeon said Mrs May had lost “all authority and credibility” after the General Election result which failed to provide the majority the Prime Minister had been seeking.
The SNP leader accused the Tories of creating “chaos on an industrial scale”, first by recklessly calling an EU referendum” and then embarking on a “disastrous Brexit strategy” with no idea and no plan.
She said they had called an election knowing the result would be declared less than two weeks before the Brexit talks were due to begin.
She said the Tories had the arrogance to think they could get away with it, “and now they try to cobble together an unstable administration causing yet more damaging uncertainty because they have consistently put the party’s interests ahead of those of the country.
“What is perhaps most breath-taking of all”, she said, “this is a party that has the temerity to accuse others of causing division. It simply can’t go on.”
There must be an attempt to find consensus, she said, adding that a hard Brexit must be abandoned.
Ms Sturgeon said the SNP had won more seats than all other parties combined in Scotland, but also admitted it had been a “disappointing” night. The party lost 21 of its 56 seats. The Scottish Tories, which held just one seat before last night, gained a further 12, while Labour and the Lib Dems also added to their single seats.
“It is an inescapable fact that we suffered some bitterly disappointing losses last night,” she said, paying tribute in particular to two big scalps – Westminster leader Angus Robertson and former party leader Alex Salmond whom she described as her “friend and mentor” and a “giant of modern Scottish politics”.
Looking tired and subdued, Ms Sturgeon said her party would “reflect on these results”. She said the party would listen and consider the best way forward in the best interests of all of Scotland. She did not elaborate but said more would emerge on this “in the days to come”. It is thought this may concern the independence issue.
She appealed to all parties to help keep Scotland in the single market.
Notable SNP MPs who lost seats:
Alex Salmond, described by Nicola Sturgeon as a “giant of modern politics”, the former first minster led the SNP for a decade and believed he would become head of an independent nation. He stood down as leader after the 2014 referendum and in 2015 won a seat in the Commons, representing the Gordon constituency.
Angus Robertson represented Moray at Westminster for 16 years, and was the SNP’s leader in Commons. He became an articulate voice of SNP opposition at Prime Minister’s Questions and was often credited for holding Theresa May to account more successfully than Jeremy Corbyn.
George Kerevan elected in the 2015 SNP landslide, he was an executive and commentator at The Scotsman newspaper. Before that he had been an academic. He defected to the SNP from the Labour Party and spent 12 years on Edinburgh Council. He continued to write for pro-independence newspaper The National while in parliament.
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh entered parliament in 2015 and has spoken up for refugees and on equality issues. A former actress, she has also been a member of the Scottish Conservatives and the Labour Party. Before her election she worked as a lawyer, and remains a partner in a Glasgow firm. She formerly chaired the Scottish Asian Women’s Association. In recent weeks she has been subject to an ongoing probe by the law society of Scotland into her time as a partner in a law firm that went into administration.