Deputy leader Jackie Baillie has held onto her marginal Holyrood parliamentary constituency of Dumbarton in a big relief for Scottish Labour and a blow to the SNP’s chances of winning a majority in this election.
Baillie secured her constituency by a majority of just 109 votes in 2016, when the SNP’s Gail Robertson received 13,413 votes and Labour gained 13,522. The deputy head of Scottish Labour has done better this year.
She won 17,825 votes compared to SNP candidate Toni Giugliano’s 16,342, making her new majority larger than the last, with an increase from 109 to 1,483. The result ensures Baillie keeps the seat she has held since 1999.
Political scientist John Curtice told the BBC after the declaration that an SNP majority now appeared “less than likely”, saying: “The most probable outcome is indeed that the SNP is going to be one or two seats short.”
The likelihood is that there will only be an SNP-Green majority in favour of Scottish independence in Holyrood, which may make it easier for the UK government to deny any request of the Scottish government to hold a fresh vote.
Commentators have noted that Baillie likely benefited from tactical Tories who lent their vote to Labour to help block the SNP from securing a majority in the Scottish parliament.
Results today have also revealed that Labour has held onto Edinburgh Southern, where Daniel Johnson was re-elected with a bigger majority than in 2016. The MSP is Scottish Labour’s finance spokesperson.
Labour has lost East Lothian to the SNP, however. Martin Whitfield won 16,789 votes, but this was not enough to stop the SNP from winning the constituency, as Paul McLennan secured 17,968, giving him a 1,179-vote majority.
A more complete picture of Scottish Labour’s performance in this election will be unveiled tomorrow, when the winning MSPs elected by Scots via regional lists – on which the party relies – are declared.