Major gains for Tories in council elections but SNP hails ’emphatic’ victory

Ms Davidson said: “I think you have seen in both language and design, the SNP attempt to assimilate the party for Scotland and Scotland for the party”.

The SNP has lost its overall majority in Dundee, although it remains the largest party there with 14 councillors.

While the constituency boundaries for Westminster are slightly different, the Scottish Conservatives are keen to capitalise on the rise in support locally as the general election approaches.

“When it comes down to it, they will be backing the SNP all the way as we see time and again in parliament”.

Professor Curtice said SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson’s Moray seat was under threat while the Tories were favourites to take Calum Kerr’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency.

Labour lost all but one of its Scottish MPs in the 2015 general election, but Mr Kelly said: “Labour was written off before the council elections, but we defied the odds to win three councils, finished joint top in another, and pushed the SNP incredibly close across Scotland”.

The leader of the Labour group, Frank McAveety, held his seat, also in Shettelston, after 26 years but his role as council leader looks uncertain as the SNP still hopes to seize control of the city.

Last week the UK Prime Minister accused the European Union of interfering in the upcoming UK General Elections on 8 June, causing more tensions with the 27 member block and drawing criticism for provoking what some analysts fear could be a “no deal Brexit” situation. Paul Nuttall’s Ukip was crushed as every single councillor facing re-election suffered defeat. Therefore, although the Labour Party is down I don’t think it is yet out.

Aitken says she is exploring a deal with Glasgow’s seven Green councillors, which would give the administration 46 votes, against Labour’s 31 and the Conservatives’ seven. In retrospect, Nicola Sturgeon pushing for a second independence referendum when she did has turned out to be an absolute gift for her bitterest foes.

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said losing seats is “disappointing” for the party.

Meanwhile, the SNP have not had any difficulty increasing their vote in local by-elections during the last two years; on average the party’s share of the vote has been up ten points on 2012 in such contests.

He put his victory down to opposition to another Scottish independence referendum. “It was the only thing they spoke about”, she said. To show they can’t take Scotland for granted. “If there’s a message at all on that issue, it’s a message for the Conservatives”.

It did not, though it did become the largest party in each, as it now is in half of Scotland’s 32 councils.

She told Sky News: “So far it’s looking like a very good result and a very good day for us”.

Nevertheless, the local government elections confirm that political momentum, remarkably, is with the Scottish Conservatives. Fisheries will go, there will be movement on immigration, on freedom of movement – she will buckle on that. “Ukip could be bigger than it ever was before”.

Moray candidate Angus Robertson