Market on alert

Tactical voting may deny SNP Holyrood majority

Nicola Sturgeon celebrates but the vote is on a knife-edge

Scotland looked on course to return an SNP government, though its hopes of winning an overall majority appear to have been scuppered by tactical voting.

Labour’s Jackie Baillie held what was Scotland’s most marginal seat, increasing her majority in Dumbarton from 109 to 1,483. This was seen as key target for the SNP, along with Eastwood in Glasgow which was held by Jackson Carlaw for the Tories.

Ms Baillie’s success appeared to have been part of a pattern of tactical voting with Tory and Labour supporters prepared to vote for the candidate best able to defend the unionist seat.

Political strategist Prof Sir John Curtice said: “Tactical voting has been strongest in seats that the unionist parties were trying to defend and played an important role in enabling a number of marginal opposition-held seats to be successfully defended.

“It has been more muted in seats where the opposition were trying to challenge the SNP, who have not suffered a single constituency loss in this election.”

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