Scottish Election 2021 results: SNP fails to gain Aberdeenshire West in majority blow

Conservatives candidate Alexander Burnett has described being targeted by social media abuse as “disgraceful” after holding on to the marginal seat of Aberdeenshire West in a significant blow to the hopes of an outright SNP majority.

Mr Burnett took 19,709 votes – some 3,400 votes ahead of his SNP rival Fergus Mutch in what was forecast as one of the tightest fights of the election.

This is the second time Mr Burnett has won the seat. He took it from SNP's Dennis Robertson in 2016.

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Alexander Burnett has been re-elected as MSP for Aberdeenshire West

Mr Burnett said it had been a difficult campaign and that his comfortable win felt "pretty good".

He said: "I think when you have worked for five years, you hope that people have seen you working hard."

Mr Burnett added: "This was the only seat five years ago [in North East] which the SNP didn't win. They have targeted this seat and they have targeted myself for five years.

"It's not been the most pleasant of experiences, I can tell you that.

"But I felt constituents asked me five years ago to do a job because they didn't want a SNP win here. I was happy to do that and I am happy to stand up and do it again."

Mr Burnett spoke of the social media abuse he received during the campaign.

Swastikas were also sprayed on his campaign boards in Banchory.

Mr Burnett said: "I think a lot of you will have seen the narrative that is put out there against me that leads to the abuse on social media which is directed towards me, towards my family, to people who work for me.

"There has been a lot of abuse during the campaign and during the last five years.

"When people go out of their way to go onto someone's property and vandalise someone else's private property and think that is an acceptable part of a democratic process, it's nothing short of disgraceful.

"It's a scandal and I hope the people who did that are feeling some sense of shame now. The amount of people who got in touch with me on the back of that to express their disgust was quite considerable."

Also on the ballot for Aberdeenshire West were Labour’s Andrew Philip Brown (2,382 votes) and Rosemary Bruce of the Lib Dems (3,363).

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