To little surprise, the SNP will be staying in government at Holyrood as the largest party by an overwhelming margin.
Nicola Sturgeon’s party lost 6 seats and narrowly lost its majority, but given that the electoral system intentionally mitigates against majority governments, that shouldn’t be an enormous shock.
It was a dreadful night for Scottish Labour, who started off with 37 MSPs and ended up with a paltry 24. Despite winning Edinburgh Southern from the SNP, the party slipped into third place behind the Scottish Conservatives. Kezia Dugdale, the party’s sixth leader in 8 years, vowed to carry on as party leader.
The Conservatives, wiped out north of the border in 1997 and barely ever a force in Holyrood since 1999, are now the assembly’s main opposition. They more than doubled their seat tally, from 15 to 31. Ruth Davidson, the party’s leader, won a constituency seat in Edinburgh from the SNP. The party also took Eastwood, long a Labour stronghold – perhaps hinting at broader problems for the Labour party nationwide with Jewish voters.
The Liberal Democrats are not dead yet. Willie Rennie, whose campaign highlights included being interviewed in front of a pair of romping pigs and launching his manifesto in a soft play area, took the seat of North East Fife from the SNP, while his party also held seats in the Scottish islands comfortably.
Labour remains the largest party, albeit probably in a minority, and should govern alone fairly comfortably.
Leighton Andrews, a long-serving member of the Welsh government, was unexpectedly defeated by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood in his Rhondda constituency.
The Conservatives failed to make significant gains, with party sources blaming the row over Port Talbot’s steel.
UKIP won its first seats in the assembly, picking up at least 6 assembly seats through the list, including former Kent MP Mark Reckless – with disgraced former Conservative MP Neil Hamilton also winning a seat.
Labour retained the Ogmore seat at Westminster in a by-election, with UKIP in seco nd place.
Labour have become the first opposition party to lose seats in midterm elections since 1985 – when Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party still lost fewer seats than the Conservative government.
That said, the party’s results were probably not quite as bad as some feared – the party retained control of Crawley and Southampton, though lost Dudley to no overall control.
The Conservatives gained some council seats, taking control of Peterborough council, but losing Worcester to no overall control.
UKIP became the joint-largest party on Thurrock council, drawing level with the Conservatives – and missed out on taking a further seat from the Conservatives by just 1 vote.
Labour won the Sheffield Brightside by-election, with UKIP in second place.
Joe Anderson won re-election as Mayor of Liverpool with more than 50 per cent of the vote.
The count for London Mayor and the Greater London Assembly began at 8am, with the result expected to be announced in the late afternoon.
Campaigners on all sides predicted record low turnout.