Douglas Ross criticises Sturgeon over IndyRef2 mandate
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Douglas Ross’s Scottish Tories secured 31 seats, the number it won in 2016 and its previous record total, holding off a majority for the SNP. At 64 seats the SNP was one shy of a majority with Labour securing 22, the Green Party 8 and the Lib Dems 4.
However with the help of the Green Party, Nicola Sturgeon could have a pro-independence majority.
But during a briefing with journalists today, Mr Ross who was returned to Holyrood on the Highlands and Islands regional list said the party had delivered on it promise to “stop an SNP majority” and block a second independence referendum.
The Scottish Tories picked up two seats on the regional lists, offsetting the loss of two constituencies.
The SNP’s former Westminster leader Angus Robertson took Edinburgh Central, beating Scott Douglas, who was seeking to hold Ruth Davidson’s former seat.
John Scott lost his Ayr constituency to the SNP’s Siobhian Brown.
However, the party’s most celebrated victory was when Tory MSP Alexander Burnett retained the Aberdeenshire West seat which dashed SNP hopes for a majority in Holyrood.
Mr Burnett returns for another term at Holyrood with 19,709 votes while SNP candidate Fergus Mutch received 16,319 votes.
Mr Ross said the Scottish Tories had increased its voter share and described it as their “best-ever result” in a Holyrood election.
The Scottish Tory leader said: “We know there is a lot of hard graft to be done to get into that position and that right now it may seem incredible to some.
“But we proved yesterday that 2016 was no fluke, that the Scottish Conservatives are here to stay as Scotland’s second party.”
Mr Ross also said the Scottish Tories had “cemented their place as Scotland’s opposition”.
He continued: “We have built a brand, a pro-UK movement, that is bigger than any one person.
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“The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party is going from strength to strength.
“We promised that if pro-UK voters united behind us, we would stop an SNP majority. We did it.
“We promised to stop indyref2 – we have.”
But the new MSP refused to be drawn on whether he would support legal action against a second independence referendum after Nicola Sturgeon pledged to “proceed with the legislation that is necessary”.
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If Boris Johnson tried to stop it, the First Minister threatened he would need to go to the Supreme Court.
Mr Ross said he would be supporting “protecting people’s jobs, investing in the NHS, raising our education standards” among other things which can currently be pursued in the Scottish Parliament.
He also reiterated he would continue to serve as an MP alongside his new position in Holyrood.
The Tories campaign however had been branded as “dark” and “divisive” by critics because of its strong focus on preventing the SNP from holding a second independence referendum.
Mr Ross insisted they had achieved that, pointing to seats such as west Aberdeenshire, where the Tories increased their majority despite a strong challenge from the SNP, with results such as this key in stopping Nicola Sturgeon’s party from winning an overall majority.
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