The SNP Has Pulled Off An Absolutely Incredible Election Victory In Scotland
Scotland went to bed with six SNP MPs – it woke up with 56.
Nicola Sturgeon's SNP has won one of the most stunning election victories in British political history, increasing its number of MPs from six to 56.
The Scottish nationalists claimed scalp after scalp, including some of the biggest figures in Scottish politics – such as Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander – as they steamrollered their way to victory in almost every seat in Scotland.
Danny Alexander and Charles Kennedy of the Lib Dems were also unseated by SNP candidates, and the safest Labour seat in Scotland, Gordon Brown's Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, fell too.
The Lib Dems, the Conservatives, and Labour have been left with just one MP each in the country. Yesterday, Labour had 40.
Alex Salmond, who won the Gordon constituency, hailed the result as the most "extraordinary" election win since political records began.
"There is a swing under way in Scotland, the like of which has not been seen in recorded politics," he said in his victory address. "It is twice the level of any swing in Scotland or across the United Kingdom since electoral records began in 1835.
"It is an extraordinary statement of intent from the people of Scotland – the Scottish lion has roared this morning across the country."
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the increased block of MPs would take the party's anti-austerity message to Westminster, and repeated an offer to Ed Miliband to "lock the Tories" out of power – although the Conservatives appear to be on course for a majority government.
But in Scotland this general election may be remembered more for those who lost their seats than those who gained them, with some of the biggest names in Scottish politics being defeated.
Mhairi Black, a 20-year-old politics student, defeated shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander in the Paisley and South Renfrewshire constituency. In doing so, she became the youngest MP since 1667.
Danny Alexander, one of the most powerful figures in the coalition government, suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the SNP's Drew Hendry. Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy lost the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency he had served since 1997.
Margaret Curran, the shadow Scottish secretary, lost her seat to Natalie McGarry, and the former deputy leader of Scottish Labour, Anas Sarwar, was also dumped by the electorate in Glasgow – where all seven constituencies fell to the SNP.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the night was when Jim Murphy lost his seat in resounding fashion.
SNP candidate Kirsten Oswald, who only joined the party last June, in the run-up to the independence referendum, pulled off one of the most memorable results in SNP history by beating Murphy in East Renfrewshire.
Murphy looked emotional as he thanked the activists and candidates who had tried so hard to fight back the SNP tide but found the task impossible. He congratulated his SNP opponents during his speech, before giving a warning about political nationalism.
"No one should ever confuse nationalism with our nation," he said, "no one should ever mistake their party for our country, because our history, our streets, and our flag have never, and will never belong to one political party or one political cause."
Despite calls for his resignation, Murphy said he will continue to lead the Scottish Labour party into the Scottish elections next year. "Scotland needs a strong Labour party," he said.
"Our fightback begins tomorrow morning."