In what has been an election campaign like no other, it’s perhaps fitting that we had to wait a little longer than usual for the results to come in. It was certainly worth the wait though as the SNP secured a decisive victory – winning an historic fourth term in office with the highest ever number of votes in a Scottish Parliament election.
In a landslide win where we gained seats from both Labour and the Tories, the SNP have broken electoral records by winning the highest ever number of constituency seats at Holyrood in a record turnout.
It has been a remarkable vote of confidence in the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, and I’d like to thank everyone in West Dunbartonshire and across the country who voted to re-elect an SNP Scottish Government.
It was a privilege to be at the election count at Clydebank Leisure Centre to see Marie McNair elected as our first ever female MSP for the Clydebank and Milngavie constituency. Marie may be a first-time MSP, but she is a determined and experienced local representative from her many years serving as a councillor and I look forward to working with Marie on behalf of all our constituents in West Dunbartonshire.
In the Dumbarton constituency, the eyes of the nation were on us with the results on a knife-edge. Despite a strong campaign from our candidate Toni Giugliano, it was always going to be a challenge for the SNP to gain the Dumbarton seat at Holyrood which has been held by Labour for 22 years. Congratulations go to Jackie Baillie for holding the seat despite Labour falling to their worst ever election results in Scotland finishing a distant third place behind the Tories nationwide.
However, even with clear evidence of tactical voting amongst the unionist parties, the people of Scotland have just elected the largest pro-independence majority of MSPs in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
We live in a parliamentary democracy. The people of Scotland are sovereign and it is not for Westminster politicians to stand in the way of the clear mandate we have in Scotland for a referendum on independence once the pandemic is over.
And yet Boris Johnson – the self-anointed “Minister for the Union” who was nowhere to be seen during the Scottish election campaign – has doubled-down on this Tory government’s threat to block Scotland’s democratic route to independence.
Labour politicians may disagree with the SNP over independence, but if they choose to side with Boris Johnson in denying Scotland’s right to self-determination then they are sure to suffer at the ballot box for decades to come.
The people have spoken and it’s clear that Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands.
This article was written for publication in the Clydebank Post on 10 May 2021