Blue wall remains in southern Scotland as Labour win landslide election

John Lamont was elected with 40.5% of the vote. Credit: ITV Border

It was under enormous pressure, but in the end the thick blue line of Tory blue which stretches from Portpatrick to Eyemouth has held. Just.

Across the south of Scotland in the ITV Border region the Conservatives held on, retaining all three of the seats they won in 2019.

After a humiliating result for Rishi Sunak, the Tories in southern Scotland bucked the UK trend. Given what happened elsewhere, not losing appears like a win. A small crumb of comfort for an otherwise devastated party.

In Dumfries & Galloway newcomer John Cooper is replacing former Scottish Secretary Alister Jack who stepped down, now Sir Alister thanks to the outgoing Prime Minister.

Cooper was a political adviser to Jack and worked on local papers in the south-west of Scotland as a journalist. He won 13,527 votes, with the SNP's Tracey Little on 12,597.

In Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale Scottish Secretary David Mundell returns to Westminster having served since 2005. He won 14,999 votes, ahead of the SNP's Kim Marshal who polled 10,757.

David Mundell MP finished ahead of Kim Marshall in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. Credit: ITV

And former Scotland office minister John Lamont will continue to serve the Borders constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk he has represented since 2017, winning over the SNP's David Wilson by a comfortable 6,635.

Mr Lamont's vote share went down, as did that of his SNP opponent but there was a big rise in Labour share in a seat where the party had previously barely registered.

There was also a substantial rise for Labour in the two seats to the west where the party made advances, following a stunning victory for the party north and south of the Border.

Across Scotland Labour swept the SNP out, reducing the nationalists to what will be minor status at Westminster, where once they were the third largest party in the UK.

How did the Tories do it in the south of Scotland? Well, they continued to talk about the threat, as they presented it, of independence.

However, given the SNP's disastrous results there is little chance of another vote on leaving the UK any time soon. The Conservatives will say they have played a part in securing that, though a small part.

More broadly, the Tories continue to play the Unionist card but they seem to have benefitted from what appears to be voters moving from the SNP to Labour.

In terms of the Scotland-wide picture, the Conservatives say this is a "respectable result", winning five seats, down from six, though their leader Douglas Ross failed to win.

He's standing down as leader after sparking fury among his MSP colleagues for his decision to stand for Westminster in the first place and will become a backbencher at Holyrood, part of a Tory group still angry with him, by his own admission.

The Tories also quietly point out they have done better than the party south of the Border. They are not boasting about it, but they are mentioning it. But they still now have only five seats out of a total of 57 in Scotland.

Labour is jubilant, with the results beyond their expectations, or at least, what they were saying in public or briefings that their expectations were. There is something in this.

Leader Anas Sarwar was confident and has led his party back from the doldrums. He knew for some time the result would be good, but dared not to dream it would be as good as it turned out.

It has been a very, very poor night to the SNP, and new leader John Swinney, who is also First Minister, has already said his party will have to reflect on the result and its strategy of independence.

Reflect is one way of putting it. Swinney has already said that his party, while not giving up on its goal of independence, will have to find a way of convincing Scots that is where their future lies.

When I spoke to Swinney- only elected a matter of weeks ago - before the election he told me he would stay on as leader "whatever happens", and there does not seem to be a mood in the party to challenge him.

They've had three leaders in recent times. Nicola Sturgeon stood down, and Humza Yousaf did not last very long.

The SNP lost many of their seats throughout Scotland. Credit: PA

The Liberal Democrats are happy with what they have so far, with one extra seat won, and hopes of a final seat in the Highlands coming their way, though we will have to wait until tomorrow for that result. Their targeting strategy paid off.

What next? Well apart from Sir Keir Starmer becoming Prime Minister, and Rishi Sunak leave Downing Street - no small matter - Scottish politics continues.

There will be soul-searching and very likely recriminations in the Tories and the SNP. Defeat has that effect on parties. Labour and the Lib Dems will try to consolidate their positions.

And guess what? They are all - all - now thinking about that this means for the Holyrood elections in 2026, with Labour now eyeing power north as well as south of the Border.

No sooner has won election finished then the politicians, if not the voters, are thinking about the next one. It's what they do.

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