Scottish Election 2021 results: Nicola Sturgeon triumphs in seat, but slight dent in majority as Labour doubles vote

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was overwhelmingly re-elected as MSP for Glasgow Southside in a hard-fought election campaign which saw both SNP and Scottish Labour supporters turn out in far higher numbers than at past Holyrood elections.

The SNP leader saw her vote rise from 15,287 at the 2016 election to 19,735, and while her share of the vote was a massive 60 per cent, her majority over second place Labour dropped slightly by 1.2 per cent, after the party's new leader Anas Sarwar opted to go head-to-head with Ms Sturgeon in the constituency seat.

Mr Sarwar saw Labour’s vote rise from 5,694 five years ago to 10,279 on Thursday, while vote share leapt from 22.9 per cent to 31.3 per cent.

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Scottish Election results 2021: Nicola Sturgeon says SNP majority is 'very, very...
Nicola Sturgeon at the count for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow.Nicola Sturgeon at the count for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow.
Nicola Sturgeon at the count for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow.
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The Conservatives saw their vote share drop dramatically from 12.4 per cent to 5.5 per cent, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats also saw a fall from 3.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent. Both results sparked speculation of tactical voting by pro-unionist voters in the seat.

Giving her acceptance speech, the First Minister said her party was ready to get back to work for a fourth term, but she also took aim at far-right candidates in the contest, including former Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who had confronted Ms Sturgeon outside a polling station on election day. Ms Fransen won just 46 votes.

In her speech, the First Minister said: "It’s the privilege of my life to represent the most multi-cultural and diverse constituency in the whole of Scotland and not for the first time it has been targeted by far right thugs.

"The far right thug who led that confrontation got 46 votes and I am proud that once again Glasgow Southside has shown the racists and the fascists that they are not welcome in Glasgow Southside, they are not welcome in Glasgow, and they are not welcome anywhere in Scotland, and let that be a note of unity.”

Anas Sarwar and his wife Furheen at the Glasgow count.Anas Sarwar and his wife Furheen at the Glasgow count.
Anas Sarwar and his wife Furheen at the Glasgow count.

Thanking the voters and her campaign team, Ms Sturgeon said it had been an election “conducted in the most difficult and challenging circumstances”. She praised Mr Sarwar, saying: “We are opponents but, and he might correct me if I’m wrong, we quite like each other.”

She added: “Looking beyond to Scotland as a whole, it’s early stages of a marathon counting operation and we won’t know things properly ‘til tomorrow evening. At this stage I am happy that the SNP appears to be on course for a fourth consecutive election victory and have the privilege of forming a government again.

“I pledge to get back to work immediately to steer the country through the crisis of Covid, to lead this country into recovery from Covid and when the time is right to offer this country the choice of a better future.”

Earlier Mr Sarwar said "it was safe to say there would not be a surprise in Glasgow Southside”, but was pleased vote share had gone up.

He added: “There is energy around the Labour Party again.

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"I have been honest about the scale of the challenge we face, that the process of change wasn’t complete and what I wasn't willing to do was think about this as one election. We’ve got a project and a plan to continue to build a credible alternative.”

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