Nicola Sturgeon rules out ‘rash decisions’ on Indyref2 after major SNP losses

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not make “rash decisions” on her plan for a second independence referendum, despite the SNP suffering a number of high-profile losses in the General Election.

The First Minister said she was “disappointed” by the results, which saw both depute leader Angus Robertson and former first minister Alex Salmond dramatically defeated by the Conservatives.
The SNP also lost Mike Weir, who had been the MP for Angus since 2001, and culture spokesman John Nicolson in East Dunbartonshire.

While the Tories made gains north of the border, with Douglas Ross claiming the high-profile scalp of Mr Robertson in Moray and Colin Clark ousting Mr Salmond in Gordon, Ms Sturgeon said the SNP is still on course for its second best Westminster result ever.

She told BBC Scotland: “This has been a disaster for Theresa May. She called an election clearly very arrogantly thinking she was going to crush the opposition, sweep everybody aside and cruise to a landslide majority.

“Her position I think is very, very difficult. We have to wait and see how things shake out. I’ve always said the SNP would want to be part of a progressive alternative to a Tory government.

“I’m disappointed at the SNP losses but I’m pleased that we’ve won the election.”

Asked about the impact the result may have on her plan for a second independence referendum, she said she is “not going to take any rash decisions”.

But Lib Dem Jo Swinson, who defeated Mr Nicolson to retake the East Dunbartonshire constituency, said supporters of other parties had backed her to send a message to the First Minister.

Ms Swinson 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.

“Nicola Sturgeon, I hope you’re listening.”

The SNP also lost out in East Renfrewshire, this time to the Tories.

Paul Masterton took the constituency – which 20 years ago had been the safest Tory seat in Scotland – from the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald.

The results came after an exit poll suggested the SNP could lose 22 seats across Scotland.

The nationalists had swept the board in 2015, winning 56 of the 59 seats up for grabs – leaving Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats with just one MP each.

This time round the first result in Scotland went to Labour as the party won Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Gerard Killen claimed the seat for Jeremy Corbyn’s party with 19,101 votes, defeating the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier, who won the constituency in 2015 but who polled 18,836 votes this time round.

After being elected, Mr Killen declared: “This result is a rejection of austerity and a rejection of a divisive second independence referendum.

“Above all this result is a vote for a progressive manifesto and a fresh start for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.”

Pete Wishart, who was the chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee in the last Parliament, managed to hold on to his Perth and North Perthshire constituency – but by the narrowest of margins of just 21 over Conservative MEP Ian Duncan.

The Tories picked up one of their top target seats, with former MSP John Lamont defeating the SNP’s Calum Ross to win Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

Labour also made gains in East Lothian, Midlothian and Glasgow North East, as well as Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.

The Liberal Democrats regained Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross with former MSP Jamie Stone taking the seat from the SNP’s Paul Monaghan.

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