FORMER Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy has become another Lib Dem scalp claimed by the SNP, losing his Highland seat after 32 years.
The SNP’s Ian Blackford overturned one of the largest majorities in the country, winning 20,119 votes in Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
Mr Kennedy had held a massive 13,000-plus majority at the last General Election. He won 14,995 votes compared to 18,335 in 2010.
He has been an MP since the age of 23 when he created a major upset by snatching the seat from the Tories in 1983.
Speaking after the declaration, the popular politician said: “I am fond of political history and tonight, if nothing else, we can all consider and reflect in years to come and tell our grandchildren we were there on the night of the long skean dhus.
“The greatest privilege in my public life of the past 32 years has been the possibility to represent this constituency.
“that is thanks to a generation or more of voters who have extended their trust in me. I hope they feel it was trust well placed.”
Mr Blackford praised Mr Kennedy for his work as a politician, adding: “I give credit to Charles who has given to this constituency over the last32 years. I wish to represent the constituents as well as he has done.”
Mr Blackford, who lives in Skye, has had a varied professional life working in financial services. He runs a consultancy business as well as running a croft.
He is also the chairperson of North West Skye Recreational Association, one of the protagonists of the FlySkye campaign and a director of community radio station Cuillin FM.
He was previously National Treasurer of the SNP and has served on the shadow cabinet.
The constituency covers a central portion of the Highland Council area, and at 12,000 square kilometres (4,600sq mi), it covers the largest area of any House of Commons constituency in Britain.