Highlands & Islands

Holyrood 2016: SNP hold Highlands and Islands seats

UKIP's David Coburn and SNP's Kate Forbes preparing for a television interview
Image caption UKIP's David Coburn and new SNP MSPs Kate Forbes preparing for a television interview after the count in Dingwall

The SNP have held seats in the Highlands and Islands while the Conservatives have had three list MSPs elected.

Alasdair Allan has been returned to Holyrood to represent the Western Isles constituency of Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

Fergus Ewing has also been re-elected after securing the vote in Inverness and Nairn.

Gail Ross secured Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, while Kate Forbes took Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch for the SNP.

Three Scottish Conservatives have been elected as list MSPs - Douglas Ross, Edward Mountain and Donald Cameron following the count in Dingwall.

Scottish Labour's Rhoda Grant and David Stewart and the Scottish Green Party's John Finnie will return to the Scottish Parliament as list MSPs.

Maree Todd, of the SNP, has also been elected as a Highlands and Islands list MSP.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats failed to have an MSP elected in the area. UKIP's David Coburn was also unsuccessful in his bid to be elected as a list MSP.

Image caption Highland councillor Gail Ross held Caithness, Sutherland and Ross for the SNP
Image caption Fergus Ewing held Inverness and Nairn
Image caption Kate Forbes paid tribute to her campaign team after being elected

Mr Allan polled just over 52% of the votes in the Western Isles - 6,874 - but it put the SNP's share down by 13.2%.

Scottish Labour's Ms Grant came in second place with just over 25% of the vote, but this represented a fall of 3% on the last Scottish election in 2011.

The turnout was 60.9%.

Everest Base Camp

Mr Ewing secured just over 48% the vote at 18,505. It represented a fall of just over 3%.

Conservative candidate Edward Mountain came second.

The turnout for Inverness and Nairn was 57.5%.

Image caption Party political signs on a lamppost in Inverness catch the sunlight on Friday morning

Highland councillor and Caithness civic leader Ms Ross has became one of the new faces who will be making their way to Holyrood.

She comfortably held the seat with a majority of 3,913 for the SNP. However, the party's share of the vote fell by 5.1%

Ms Ross paid tribute to Rob Gibson, who was a long-standing SNP politician in the area until earlier this year when he did not seek re-election.

The new MSP said: "I don't believe I will ever fill his boots, and would not want to fill his boots as I have my own way of doing things.

"Rob has done such good work and all we can do now is build on that."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats' Jamie Stone came second and his party's share of the vote increased by 9%.

'An escape'

Ms Forbes, who received a message of support on Facebook from two SNP supporting climbers at Everest Base Camp on Thursday, secured a majority of 9,043 and also boosted the SNP's share of the vote by 1.4%.

The 26-year-old Gaelic speaker praised the work of her predecessor Dave Thompson, who like Mr Gibson did not seek re-election, and her campaign team.

Ms Forbes said: "We have built on the majority Dave Thompson gained. I think it (the result) is part of his legacy."

Angela MacLean came second for the Lib Dems, but the party saw its share of the vote go down by almost 8%.

The turnout was 61%.

List MSP Mr Stewart admitted to fearing the worst during the count and had prepared himself for the prospect of Labour returning just one member from the Highlands to Holyrood.

He said: "It was a close run thing.

"I've been involved in national politics for 17 years and seen the highs, the lows, the difficult and the ugly but I have to say that was an escape, frankly."

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