Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “The SNP has won the council elections”.
James Kelly Labour campaign manager said: “This analysis shows that Labour is ahead of the SNP or within touching distance of the SNP in seven seats across Scotland”.
For the first time ever, the Tories had a councillor elected in Paisley’s Ferguslie Park – the most deprived part of Scotland – while the party also increased its numbers in Glasgow, where it previously had just one representative.
Ms Davidson also went on to criticise Labour, who slumped to become the third largest party in Scotland’s councils, adding: “As for Labour, they were left to count the cost of decades of complacency, arrogance and a failure to respond to the concerns of ordinary families”.
Following yesterday’s council elections in North Ayrshire SNP Group Leader Marie Burns said: “We’re pleased to get a strong showing for the SNP, with 11 of our candidates returned, and winning the popular vote”.
Sturgeon has explicitly ruled out doing any deals with the Tories, even though the SNP had two coalitions with Conservative councillors after the 2012 election.
Earlier on Saturday Ms Sturgeon described suggestions as “ludicrous” any claims the surge in Tory support in Scotland could derail her bid to hold a second independence referendum.
Tony Blair’s landslide victory 20 years ago all but wiped out Scottish Conservatism, with the party failing to win a Westminster seat in 1997 and never holding more than a single constituency since.
In target areas for next month’s election, such as East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh, the party gained seats.
In West Garioch the new councillors are Victoria Harper (SNP), Sebastian Leslie (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) and Hazel Smith (Scottish Liberal Democrats).
We aren’t going to roll over and let the SNP tear it up.
“We take nothing for granted but I’m confident that the strength of these local candidates will win through”, the First Minister stated. By which I don’t mean to suggest she has been struck dumb or otherwise rendered mute for the duration of this general election campaign, merely that she no longer has anything new to say.
We have heard all of Ms Sturgeon’s lines before – only the SNP will act as a bulwark against the Tories, only a vote for the SNP is a vote for Scotland, and so on. It was the Tories who tried to make it a referendum on an independence referendum and they came quite a distant second. “In a first-past-the-post General Election, it’s now abundantly clear it is only Labour that can defeat the SNP in these seats”.
“The SNP ended up with pretty much the same number of councillors as they had in 2012”, he said.
Scottish Labour, a party that used to weigh its vote in town halls across Scotland, particularly in the West, did predictably badly, now finding itself where the Scottish Tories once languished, unloved and increasingly irrelevant.