Referendum loss “tempered” by election gains - Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: TSPL
Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: TSPL
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THE SNP’s disappointment at losing the independence referendum has been tempered by an upturn in the party’s electoral fortunes and growing democratic participation in Scotland, leader Nicola Sturgeon said at the party’s first national council since the referendum.

Ms Sturgeon addressed party policymakers in Perth, urging them to work to repeat the general election result which saw the election of 56 out of a possible 59 SNP MPs and an increased turnout in Scotland.

She said: “We meet at a time when the SNP has never been more successful in our 81-year history, running a majority government in the Scottish Parliament, winning 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats at Westminster, and our current poll rating for next year’s Holyrood election is

60 per cent.

“And while we will always be disappointed at failing to win the referendum, we can be proud of a positive, uplifting campaign which achieved 45 per cent and 1.6 million votes for independence.

“But even more importantly, the referendum rejuvenated the democratic process in Scotland.

“It turned many people who had never voted in their lives into active citizens who now help hold the country’s politicians to account – and, as we saw last month, vote them out when they are found wanting.

“More engagement, more scrutiny, more people demanding more answers and more action – these are all indispensable parts of a healthy democracy, and as First Minister of Scotland I welcome it all.”

Derek Mackay was also re-appointed as SNP business convener at the national council yesterday, making him the longest-serving holder of the position since it was created.

He said: “I have enjoyed playing my part in the spectacular growth of the SNP.”