Leaders cast ballots as General Election voting gets under way in Scotland

RED BOX | COMMENTJune 8 2017 12:01am The TimesSturgeon’s character is on the ballot paper in Scotland today Kezia Dugdale

Numerous votes her party lost on Thursday went to the Scottish Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, all of whom have indicated an unwillingness to support another referendum.

Although the Nationalists remain by far the largest Scottish party in Westminster, they lost 21 MPs and nearly 500,000 votes compared to their performance in 2015.

Other high-profile losses included John Nicolson, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Mike Weir while in North East Fife Stephen Gethins held on to win by just two votes. "She must take it off the table", Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said.

After the result was declared, she said: "I recognise all of those who put party allegiance to one side to send a clear message that East Dunbartonshire does not want another divisive independence referendum". The reduced cadre of SNP MP's don't have the leverage to demand one in Westminster, and no party has any incentive to agree it.

The party is aiming to make gains in areas including the Borders and north-east Scotland - with the SNP's depute leader Angus Robertson in Moray among the big hitters the party hopes to topple.

"We saw that and we felt that". However, this by no means signals the end of the SNP - Nicola Sturgeon's party still won the election, taking more seats than all the other parties combined.

"I think we have seen the country's reaction in the number of SNP seats falling", she told the BBC.

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson also fell more than 4,000 votes short of his Tory rival Douglas Ross.

The First Minster said her push for a second referendum "undoubtedly" played a part shocking results for the SNP, which saw the party lose more than a third of its seats.

59 seats of Scotland were contested in the general elections conducted in United Kingdom on Thursday.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, however, said Scots MPs would "work behind the scenes" to champion Scotland's interests on issues like immigration. I never quite understood Theresa May's logic that she needed a "strong and stable" mandate from the British people to negotiate a good deal with the rest of Europe.

"Now, we have to wait and see how things shake out".

Asked if there was a role for the SNP in a future government, Ms Sturgeon said: "There may well be, but it is perhaps too early to say that".

She refused to be drawn on whether the election result had strengthened or weakened Mrs May.

Tory Colin Clark, who defeated Mr Salmond in Gordon, said in his victory speech: "The silent majority have spoken".

"We stand ready to play our part in that alliance".

Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn greets supporters as he leaves after attending a campaign visit in Colwyn Bay, north Wales on June 7, 2017, on the eve of the general election.

The SNP will now have 35 seats, compared to the 56 it held before. The Tories had won just one seat in 2015.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will be joined by her husband Peter Murrell in Glasgow while Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will attend polling stations in Edinburgh.

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