Holyrood 2016: Tories walking tall in North East

The Tories walked tall in the vast sports hall of Robert Gordon University, buoyed by texts, messages and fizzing rumour of a grand performance on election night.

Counting Staff empty ballot papers at the Scottish Parliament Election count at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Picture: SWNS

Meanwhile, Labour figures huddled in corners, all hushed tones and heavy faces as results started to trickle in. There was straight talking from one. “It’s nae our finest hour,” he conceded.

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The SNP remained calm and businesslike, seemingly without much concern they would lose any of the three Aberdeen constituencies. Indeed, there was chat that they may have increased their majority in Aberdeen Central by 3,000 or so votes.

Labour candidate in that seat, Lewis Macdonald, arrived at the count after the fight of his life to win back Aberdeen Central which he lost in 2011 to the SNP after 12 years – by just 617 votes. “It’s a number I know very well,” Mr Macdonald said.

Despite the signposts to a major defeat, he declared a win for himself. He campaigned for Aberdeen to get a major trauma centre at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary amid an apparent slowdown from the SNP on their commitment to bring one to the north east. With just two days to go to the polls, Nicola Sturgeon vowed it would be built.