Scottish election 2021: Parties opposed to independence referendum need to respect voters' wishes – Angus Robertson

Around the world, the headlines are emphatic about the SNP victory in the Scottish Parliament election.

One example amongst many is from Germany’s Frankfurter Rundschau which reported: “Scotland – Absolute majority for independence.”

Internationally, it is absolutely clear the SNP won the election and a clear pro-independence majority of MSPs has been returned to parliament.

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Curiously this clarity is absent from some media reporting and losing opposition politicians who sadly find democracy difficult to understand, or prefer their own ‘alternative facts’.

For those who have difficulty confronting reality, it’s worth repeating the results: the SNP emphatically won the election with the highest number of votes (ever), highest number of constituency seats (ever) and highest vote-share in a Scottish election (ever).

The SNP vote was up 1.2 per cent to 47.1 per cent, more than the Tories and Labour combined. Both of the UK parties which stood on an anti-referendum platform lost percentage support and Labour lost seats.

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By way of international comparison, the SNP polled higher than any mainstream political party in Europe. The SNP winning 62 constituency seats in Scotland is the equivalent of a Westminster party winning 552 seats. By comparison, Boris Johnson’s mandate to deliver Brexit during the pandemic was 365 seats. David Cameron delivered the fateful Brexit referendum with only 36 per cent of the vote.

Nicola Sturgeon and Angus Robertson greet each other during a visit to Airdrie on Sunday (Picture: Andrew Milligan/pool/Getty Images)Nicola Sturgeon and Angus Robertson greet each other during a visit to Airdrie on Sunday (Picture: Andrew Milligan/pool/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon and Angus Robertson greet each other during a visit to Airdrie on Sunday (Picture: Andrew Milligan/pool/Getty Images)

Politicians from the losing Tory, Labour and Lib Dem parties are tying themselves into knots to explain why the winning SNP is not able to do what the people just voted for them to do. It’s time to call this out. They are truth-twisters and democracy-deniers.

The Tories have not won a national election in Scotland since 1955 and they were soundly beaten (again) last week. The Labour Party remain in third place in Scotland and lost seats to the SNP and Greens.

The Lib Dems are effectively not even a national party, having lost their deposit in 70 per cent of the seats they contested. It is not the place of election losers to dictate terms. In a normal democracy, they are gracious in defeat and call on the winning party to deliver its manifesto in full.

I went to the electorate as the SNP candidate in Edinburgh Central seeking a clear mandate: “I want to ask for the support of Edinburgh Central constituents of all parties for their help to ensure we oppose Brexit and support the right of people in Scotland to decide our future democratically.”

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When the votes were counted in Edinburgh Central, the SNP won emphatically, taking the Conservative seat formerly held by ex-Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

Support for the SNP was up 10 per cent while Tory support was down three per cent and Labour down six per cent. It was the highest-ever SNP vote and highest-ever majority, nearly 5,000 ahead of the defeated Tories.

It is an honour for me to represent the constituency that I grew up in. I have pledged to work for every constituent in Edinburgh Central regardless of who they voted for.

I will also respect the outcome of the election and support the new Scottish government as it helps Scotland emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and give the people a referendum vote on the independent future of the country.

Angus Robertson is SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central

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