Sturgeon hails ‘historic’ SNP victory in Euro elections, as Labour vote plunges
Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to keep working to try to stop Brexit after the SNP secured an “historic and spectacular victory” in the European elections.
Her party increased its share of the vote, securing 37.7% of all votes cast north of the border and winning three out of the six Scottish MEPs.
While the SNP vote increased from 28.9% in the 2014 European elections, Labour’s support plummeted, with the party paying the price for its lack of a clear message on the crucial issue of Brexit.
Labour polled less than a 10th (9.3%) of the votes, putting it in fifth place, and down from 25.9% five years ago.
It was Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party who came second in Scotland, with 14.8% of the vote, giving the party one Scottish MEP, Louis Stedman-Bryce.
He declared: “I think that sends a clear message that there are people in Scotland who do agree with Brexit.”
And Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “The arrival of the Brexit Party demonstrates the clear frustration of the Scottish electorate that Brexit still isn’t sorted.”
The Liberal Democrats, who lost their MEP in 2014, won a seat this time round after taking their share of the vote from 7.1% to 13.9%
And the Scottish Tories held on to their one MEP, with Baroness Nosheena Robarik returned to the European Parliament after the party polled 11.6% of the vote.
But with the SNP securing 594,553 votes, and topping the poll in 30 of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said: “This is an historic and spectacular victory for the SNP, and an overwhelming rejection of Brexit by the people of Scotland.”
The First Minister, speaking from Dublin, said: “The UK political system has failed – and it has failed Scotland utterly.
“Scotland said no to Brexit in 2016. This result makes clear, we meant it.
“The message from Scotland today is that we will not accept a Brexit process that silences our nation, that treats our parliament and government with contempt and that fails to represent the interests of people in Scotland.”
She pledged: “The SNP will continue working with other parties to stop Brexit and all the ensuing economic damage to Scotland.”
Alyn Smith was returned as an MEP for the party, along with French-born Christian Allard, and former Scottish Government minister Aileen McLeod.
Mr Allard said “merci to the people of Scotland” after the results were declared.
The former SNP MSP said Scotland had “voted to have a very strong voice, loud and clear, from Scotland to Westminster to say that we are for remain, we want to stop Brexit”.
Mr Smith said that the SNP had won the election “emphatically” and stressed that three years on from the European referendum “Scotland has voted remain again”.
With the election of Sheila Ritchie as a Lib Dem MEP from Scotland, he pointed out four of Scotland’s six MEPs had fought the campaign on an anti-Brexit platform.
“We have rejected isolationism, we have voted for Europe, we have voted for international solidarity,” he said.
Labour’s David Martin, who had been the UK’s longest-serving MEP after being first elected in 1984, lost his seat, blaming the lack of a “clear message” from Labour on Brexit for this.
He said: “While obviously personally disappointed to lose my seat, I’m devastated for the hundreds of good Labour people who put so much into the campaign.
“We lost not because of lack of effort but lack of clear message.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged the First Minister not to interpret the SNP’s success in the election as support for independence.
Mr Rennie stated: “She’s tried to say that people who voted remain in Scotland in the referendum have somehow indicated support for independence and she’s misjudged that, she shouldn’t misjudge this one as well.
“This is about stopping Brexit, that’s the top priority, it’s the crisis that is ahead of us and is why everybody needs to join together.”