Tories `leading fightback against SNP´ with major gains in local elections

The Tories will be the story in Scotland this weekend. In the shire (Aberdeenshire Council), the Conservative vote is very strong and we'll have to do something about that in five weeks' time.

Political journalists in Edinburgh and London will seize on the Conservative uptick with barely disguised glee.

The First Minister joined her predecessor Alex Salmond on the campaign trail in Aberdeenshire and said the SNP would provide a check on Conservative power at Westminster. In fact they are looking forward to it, for two reasons.

KEZIA Dugdale last night played down the latest election blow for Labour after it was pushed into third place in local government north of the Border.

Counting in Scotland's local elections did not begin until Friday morning.

The First Minister added: "That stands in stark contrast to the Conservatives, who are taking child tax credits and working tax credits away from many working families, making their lives harder".

But coverage of the contest there has overlooked a number of factors.

Labour has also lost overall control in two of the four Scottish councils where it had held a majority - its former stronghold of Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire. In Scotland's fourth city, Dundee, the SNP lost its overall majority, but remains the largest party. If the local results show there is a genuine Conservative challenge in Moray the SNP will hand Robertson all the resources he needs to see it off.

"In people's minds now the SNP is just the natural party of government".

SNP group leader Susan Aitken retained her seat in Langside and the party also picked up a new councillor position created by boundary ward changes, with the remaining two seats retained by Labour and the Greens.

A total of 172 independent councillors were elected, along with 67 Liberal Democrats and 19 Greens.

The SNP won the most council seats, but failed to win an outright majority casting some disappointment over the party's win.

Asked to rate her party's chances of winning the seat, she said: "Pretty good".

That raises the prospect of a first ever SNP-Labour coalition in the Kingdom.

She said: "It's undoubtedly a disappointing result for Labour here in Scotland but it's not particularly a surprise".

He said: "Unionism has become increasingly right wing and Conservative".

The Lib Dems took just seven seats, while the kingmakers could be the Tories after a hugely successful day saw them claim 15 seats. The whispers coming out of SNP HQ are that they are anxious. However, it is too little too late for the SNP, who have neglected this area during their obsessive pursuit of independence.

The second reason the SNP will welcome talk of a Tory surge this weekend is that it suits their ends.

"I have some people to speak to, but one thing I can say is we will not form a coalition with the Tories, as far as we're concerned they have one policy and that is to stop an independence referendum".

More likely the Conservatives will be celebrating this weekend and the media narrative will be of Ruth Davidson riding high.

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