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Election excitement continued on Saturday with the results of the regional lists being revealed over the course of the day.
Regional Returning Officer for Highland and Islands Donna Manson declared the results for the Scottish Parliamentary Highlands and Islands Regional list, which includes Argyll and Bute.
The seven regional list candidates elected to the Scottish Parliament were: Douglas Ross, Edward Mountain, Donald Cameron and Jamie Halcro Johnston, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party; Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Party; Ariane Claire Burgess, Scottish Green Party, and Emma Roddick, Scottish National Party.
Re-elected Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron told the Lochaber Times: ‘I was delighted to secure the highest number of votes that the Scottish Conservatives have ever received in Argyll and Bute since the Scottish Parliament was created over 20 years ago.
‘The result, which has delivered a record four Scottish Conservative MSPs in the region, confirms our position as the main challenger to the SNP here and across the Highlands and Islands.
‘Locally my priorities will be securing a permanent solution for the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, a fit-for-purpose ferry service and adequate broadband provision.
‘SNP ministers can rest assured I will hold their feet to the fire if they continue to fail to meet their promises.’
Scottish Conservatives had much to celebrate after increasing their vote share and overtaking the Liberal Democrats to become the main challenger to the SNP in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch as well as returning a record number of MSPs in the Highlands and Islands.
Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: ‘Looking ahead, I will continue to press the Scottish Government to deliver more rural housing, better broadband, improved transport links and a replacement for the Belford Hospital.
‘And that Scottish ministers focus on protecting local jobs, addressing the impact of the pandemic on delayed operations and increasing demand for mental health services.’
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant was also returned.
‘It is a privilege to be elected to serve the Highlands and Islands again. I don’t take a single vote for granted and I will work hard to serve this beautiful area,’ she said.
‘Scottish Labour are laser focused on creating a Scottish national covid recovery that is fair for all. Having been an MSP on and off since 1999, I’ve never seen such a diverse group of MSPs and I’m excited to see what that brings.
‘I would also like to pay tribute to John Erskine, the Labour candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, and to my Labour Highlands and Islands colleague David Stewart who has retired.’
Votes given were as follows: Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party, 686; Alba Party, 3,828; All for Unity, 1,540; Freedom Alliance – Integrity, Society, Economy, 671; Reform UK, 547; Restore Scotland, 437; Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, 60,779; Scottish Family Party, 1,976; Scottish Green Party, 17,729; Scottish Labour Party, 22,713; Scottish Liberal Democrats, 26,771; Scottish Libertarian Party 488; Scottish National Party, 96,433; Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, 280; UK Independence Party, 457; Mansfield, Hazel, 219; Wightman, Andy 3,367.
The turnout for the Highlands and Islands Regional list was 66.1 per cent.
Returning officer Donna Manson paid tribute to all the count staff across the Highlands and Islands, adding: This year count staff have been working in exceptional circumstances due to the impact of the pandemic.
‘I want to thank everyone who has been involved for their hard work and continued efforts to ensure we have an efficient, accurate and safe process.
‘I also want to thank the candidates and agents and the media for their patience and understanding during these exceptional times.’