Holyrood 2016: Results, rethinks and reappraisal

Christine Grahame won the final constituency seat for the SNP
Image caption Christine Grahame won the final constituency seat for the SNP

07:50 The final constituency is in - and it goes to the SNP. But still the firm forecast is that they will fall short of an overall majority. Very good result for them, nevertheless, bearing in mind that voting system is designed to constrain majorities of seats on popular minorities.

06:29 - Kezia Dugdale, returned as a Lothian list Labour member, says that steering clear of the constitution in this election cost her party votes.

She says they tried to move on.

05:52 - The Lib Dem peer Jeremy Purvis says Labour may now be in terminal decline in Scotland.

Catherine Stihler, Labour MEP, says she completely and utterly disagrees. She says Labour will hold SNP to account over public services.

04:59 - Nicola Sturgeon, returned as MSP for Glasgow Southside, says she will govern in the interests of all in Scotland.

Offers to govern with courage, confidence and imagination. In keeping with her approach during the campaign, no overt mention of independence.

04:48 - Very good result for Labour in Edinburgh Southern. Bucks the trend - as Edinburgh South did last year in the UK General Election.

Early indications of list voting suggest strong showing by the Greens. Could that overhaul the Lib Dem performance? We shall see.

04:29 - Another Conservative victory in Aberdeenshire West. Very good night for them.

Perhaps this justifies Ruth Davidson's decision to major on defence of the Union. Perhaps adds to questions for Labour - who mostly avoided the constitution.

04:24 - Smile until your jaws ache, Ruth Davidson advised her candidates at the manifesto launch.

She has just followed that advice in winning her Edinburgh seat.

Adds to a very good night thus far for the Tories. She said it was sending a message to the SNP

03:49 - Congratulations to Iain Gray on winning East Lothian. You will recall that he stepped down as Labour leader after a poor performance by his party at Holyrood elections in 2011.

Asked whether Kezia Dugdale should do the same, he replied: "Absolutely not."

That appears to be a common - although not universal - view in the Labour Party.

Rather they want to think, hard, about their strategy. If they fall behind the Conservatives into second place, that rethink might gain a certain edge.

02:42 - Tavish Scott, returned as Lib Dem MSP for Shetland, says there is a need to rethink how an alternative government can be offered to challenge the SNP.

Image caption Tavish Scott held his seat in the Shetland Islands

Hints of realignment? Perhaps, although Mr Scott declined to be drawn.

Story of the night so far? SNP victories, Labour defeats, Tory advance. Plus those LibDems victories in the isles. More to come.

02:32 - Very good result for Tories in Eastwood - their victory driven by the emerging pattern of Labour decline.

Warmly welcomed by David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, who said it confirmed that his party was en route for second place and an opportunity, as he put it, to close the sore of independence.

02:30 - Another result. Another very poor result for Labour. For the Tories, this could be insubstantial in wider terms but that is a decent increase in the vote in Hamilton.

More to come, much more, but it seems that the rethink in Labour ranks will have to be deep and searching.

No political party has a right to exist, let alone to command support. Labour - again, to stress, on results so far - may be facing a fundamental reappraisal.

01:04 - Congratulations to the first MSPs in Orkney and Rutherglen. That Orkney result is a good victory for Liam McArthur. Does it signal more than Orcadian effort or can it extrapolate to a limited degree?

The Rutherglen result is very poor for Labour. They focused on this seat, Kezia Dugdale visited it early, James Kelly is a doughty fighter. And still the SNP swept it all away.

Rutherglen in 2011 signalled an SNP majority. Tonight it signals, perhaps, a further Labour calamity.

00:40 - Without a result being declared, the early editions of the newspapers have had to call the outcome -and they have opted for suggesting that the SNP will win.

I expect they may be right. Interesting that sundry SNP voices, including the former leader Alex Salmond, are stressing how big a deal it would be for them to retain an overall majority, given the voting system for Holyrood.

They are, of course, right in that regard. When the voting system was devised, by Labour, it was intended to prevent a party (they meant the SNP) from winning a majority with a minority of the vote. Nobody envisaged the current degree of support for the SNP.

00:31 - Andrew Dunlop, a Conservative Minister at the Scotland Office, says people do not know what Labour stands for. That is a sentiment I have heard expressed - but by key Labour figures.

They believed the programme they set out at this election - increased tax and public spending - might begin to address that dilemma.

Thomas Docherty is now overtly challenging that programme - before a result has been declared.

00:17 - Thomas Docherty, the former Labour MP, has said that his party is now fighting with the Conservatives for second place.

He says that they stood on an "unambiguously Socialist programme" - and must draw lessons from the apparent slide in support.

The manifesto they stood on, he says, is "self-immolation for dummies". Mr Docherty who has been standing for a Holyrood seat also criticises the decision to increase tax for all.

An early indication, if one were needed, that a period of introspection may follow for Labour. Yes, another one.

23:36 - Labour appears torn tonight between preliminary optimism and pre-emptive pessimism. Speakers for the party are talking up the worth of their campaign. But the votes may go the other way.

In Glasgow, Frank McAveety, the council leader, says that the party might lose every constituency in the city.