Victorious Blackford: ‘We will have our referendum’

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP and SNP Leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, greets the party's other 47 MPs in London on Monday. NO F51 MPS outside Westminster

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Newly-returned MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber Ian Blackford has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson Scotland will have a referendum after the SNP won 48 of the country’s 59 Westminster seats at last week’s General Election.

Speaking shortly after 6am on Friday morning, after being declared constituency winner at the count in Inverness, Mr Blackford addressed cheering SNP supporters.

‘We will be demanding democracy takes place. We are not prepared to sit back and see Scotland taken out of the EU against its will,’ he said from the podium after thanking everyone who voted for him.

‘We’re not prepared to see the devastation to our communities and the loss of jobs or the loss of rights we have as EU citizens.

‘We will have our referendum and I ask all people throughout Scotland to engage with us in a debate about the vision and values we have.

‘This election has been about saving Scotland – and we will save Scotland. We will have that referendum. Scotland will become an independent member of the European Union.’

Nearly 40,000 people, approximately three-quarters of those eligible to vote, went to polling stations across the constituency.

Mr Blackford was returned with 19,263 votes out of a total ballot cast of 39,949 votes – an increased majority of 23.7 per cent. The SNP got 48.3 per cent of the vote share.

The full results, declared by Donna Manson, Returning Officer, were:

Gavin Ingo BERKENHEGER – Scottish Conservative and Unionist – 6,900 votes
Ian BLACKFORD – Scottish National Party (SNP) – 19,263 votes
Donald MacLeod BOYD – Scottish Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’ – 460 votes
Kate BROWNLIE – Brexit Party – 710 votes
John Robert ERSKINE – Scottish Labour Party –  2,448 votes
Craig Thomas Alexander HARROW – Scottish Liberal Democrats – 9,820  votes
Richard Crewe LUCAS – Scottish Family Party – Putting Families First – 268 votes. A total of 80 ballot papers were rejected.

Three of the seven candidates, Katie Brownlie (Brexit Party), Donald Boyd (Christian Party) and Richard Lucas (Scottish Family Party), lost their £500 deposits after failing to win five per cent of the vote.

Gathering with the SNP’s 47 other newly-elected Westminster MPs outside the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Blackford, SNP Leader at Westminster, said Scotland’s right to choose its own future must be respected.

‘The SNP’s landslide election victory was a watershed moment. We stood on a clear and unequivocal platform of rejecting Brexit and giving the people of Scotland a  choice over their future – ensuring Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands.

‘Having won 80 per cent of the seats in Scotland, that mandate to hold a referendum on Scotland’s future is indisputable and must be respected by all democrats.

‘I am hugely grateful to the people of Scotland who have put their trust in the SNP. We will work every day to repay that trust and stand up for the whole of Scotland.

‘The Tories can rage against democracy but, have no doubt, Scotland will have the choice to become an independent country and protect our place at the heart of Europe so we can get on with building a better future as a fairer, greener, prosperous and equal country.’

In the Western Isles, the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil was returned to serve as the MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar for an historic fifth term.

The SNP took more than 45 per cent of the vote with Labour and the Conservatives left to battle it out for second place finish with 28 per cent and 22 per cent of the vote share respectively. The Liberal Democrat candidate Neil Mitchison received ony four per cent .

A total of 21,106 people were eligible to vote with total votes cast numbering 14,542 on a 68.90 per cent turn out.

After being declared the winner, Mr MacNeill tweeted: ‘England and Scotland have spoken and we are clearly two different countries. Pressure next on Scot Lab and Scot Lib – do they support five years of Boris or Scottish independence?’

CAPTION: Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP and SNP Leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, greets the party’s other 47 MPs in London on Monday.

NO F51 MPS outside Westminster