Holyrood 2016: SNP falls short of clean sweep of Highland seats

Fergus Ewing. Picture: John Devlin
Fergus Ewing. Picture: John Devlin
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THE SNP recorded a clean sweep in the Highlands constituency seats – but lost two MSPs in the regional list.

The Conservatives matched their counterparts across the rest of the country, seeing a rise in their regional MSPs from three from two.

Labour held on to two on the list, while the Greens picked up one with the election of John Finnie, who resigned from the SNP during the last parliament because of their stance over Nato.

Meanwhile, UKIP’s David Coburn failed to win on the regional list with an embarrassing show in voting, as did the Lib Dems.

Fergus Ewing, the former Business, Energy and Tourism minister in the last parliament, won 18,505 votes in the Inverness and Nairn constituency, a majority of almost 11,000 over second placed Tory Ed Mountain.

He saw his majority rise on 9,475 on the last election.

The result saw the Conservatives rise above Labour, whose David Stewart fell to third with 7,648 votes. Fourth was the Lib Dems Carolyn Caddick with 5,445 votes.

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On winning the seat, Mr Ewing said: “I have had the honour since 1999 in representing this constituency.

“This is the fifth election I have had the privilege in representing Inverness and Nairn.

“I am now part of the old guard. The story in this election is an infusion of new blood and talent joining the SNP.”

Gail Ross, an SNP Highland councillor, won Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, the seat held previously by the Nationalists Rob Gibson, who retired as an MSP.

She won with 13,937, a majority of just under 4,000 over the Lib-Dems Jamie Stone. This was a drop in majority of almost 3,000.

Third was the Tories Struan Mackie with 4,912 votes, while Labour’s Leah Franchetti finished last with 3,334 votes.

Married mother of one Mrs Ross said: “It is just fantastic. It is great for young females to have young female role models in parliament. The rise in females in Scottish politics can only be a good thing.”

Kate Forbes meanwhile took the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency for the SNP, a seat previously held by the party’s David Thompson, who also stood down at the end of the last parliament.

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She won with 17,362 votes, a majority of almost 9,000 over the Lib Dems Angela MacLean.

Her majority rose by almost 5,000.

Labour’s Linda Stewart came third with 5,887 and the Conservatives’ Robbie Munro fourth with 3,821. Last wasIndependent Ronnie Campbell with 1,116.

Miss Forbes, 26, said: “I am delighted. All of us want to see the Highlands thrive. I promise to work hard and be a strong voice for the constituency.”

The regional list saw the Conservatives celebrating with three MSPs elected – Douglas Ross, Edward Mountain and Donald Cameron – up from two in the previous parliament.

Labour had Rhoda Grant and David Stewart elected, while the SNP’s Maree Todd will be joined by the Green Party’s John Finnie.

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