SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon holds seat at Holyrood election

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar came in second but was 9000 votes behind Sturgeon.

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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has retained her Glasgow Southside constituency in the Scottish Parliament election.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar came in second but was 9000 votes behind Sturgeon.

The SNP’s share of the vote was 60.2%, down 1%.

Labour were up to 31%, with a swing of 4.8% from the SNP to Labour.

Speaking after retaining her seat, the First Minister said: “At this stage I am extremely happy that the SNP appears to be on course for a fourth consecutive election victory and to be on course to have the privilege of forming a government again.

“If that is indeed the outcome of this election I pledge today to get back to work immediately to continue to steer this country through the crisis of Covid, to lead this country into recovery from Covid, and then, when the time is right, to offer this country the choice of a better future.”

Sturgeon also addressed the confrontation on polling day when she was accosted in the street by the former deputy leader of Britain First, Jayda Fransen, who stood as an independent in Glasgow Southside.

Speaking after winning the constituency while Fransen secured 46 votes, Sturgeon said: “Yesterday, not for the first time, the constituency was targeted by far-right thugs.

“The far-right thug who led that confrontation got 46 votes and I’m proud that once again Glasgow Southside has shown the racists and the fascists that they are not welcome in Glasgow Southside, they are not welcome in Glasgow and they are not welcome anywhere in Scotland and let that be a note of unity.”

On Thursday Sturgeon called convicted criminal Fransen “racist” after she accused the First Minister of “flooding” the country with immigrants.

Before the First Minister arrived at the Glasgow count, Scotland’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf said members of an anti-vaccine party had made a “beeline” for him due to his skin colour.

Derek Jackson, standing for the Liberal Party in Glasgow Southside, arrived at the count with supporters wearing black suits and yellow stars with “unvax” written on them, and claimed to be satirising “fascist SNP hate laws”.

After they approached Yousaf, members of other political parties joined the SNP to confront them.

Speaking to reporters after the incident, Yousaf said: “What I’m always struck by is voices of good always outweigh the voices of hatred.”

Members of the Scottish Liberal Party were later escorted from the count by security and police.

Meanwhile with more than 20 seats declared across Scotland, just one has changed hands – the SNP took East Lothian from the Scottish Labour Party.

As he secured his Perthshire North seat, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the SNP would be the “leading and largest party” in the new Scottish Parliament.

While he said there is a “long way to go” before all the results are known, Swinney insisted it is “beyond any doubt” that the SNP will form the next government.

He added: “That is an absolutely gigantic feat for the Scottish National Party to have achieved, to be on the brink of a fourth continuous term.”

Elsewhere, former first minister and Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said the measure of his party’s success would be “our existence as a political party”, adding it is “here to say”.