Tories 'extremely foolish' over election boasts, says Alex Salmond

The SNP leader has framed the General Election as a choice between the Scottish Parliament's right to take decisions and the Conservative government at Westminster.

'That being said, Mrs May and the Conservatives can afford to lose some Remain voters because, as the local elections showed, they are absorbing most of the Ukip vote and are on course for the type of victory last seen by Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher when they were at their peaks'.

The Tories - who previously had just one councillor - now have eight, while the Greens also made gains, winning seven seats.

Now more than ever, it's only the SNP that can stop the Tories in Scotland.

In addition, the two elections are conducted using completely different voting systems, and the first past the post system is likely to favour the SNP again, as it did in 2015, even if the local election results breakdown looks increasingly concerning for the Nationalists.

They can reward Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond by sending another SNP cheerleader for independence to Westminster.

The prime minister insisted she was not taking "anything for granted" but her party enjoyed a stunning day that was matched by a dramatic decline for Labour, which lost more than 300 seats.

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She added: "Wherever you are, from the Borders to the Highlands, the only party strong enough to lead that fightback against the SNP is the Scottish Conservatives".

The SNP appears to have failed to take the city cleanly from Labour, despite it being among the few urban areas to vote leave during the European referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also said there had been a "clear backlash against the SNP's plans for a divisive second independence referendum". The youngster has failed to make his mark since getting elected and the Tories won in the same area at the Holyrood elections previous year. Their vote share will rise from the 13% they got at these elections last time out, there'll be more Conservative councillors.

"There were a lot of people who voted for us for the very first time and what I would say is that every single Conservative councillor who has been elected across Scotland will absolutely work so hard to put local services first and not drag us back to any more constitutional division".

"The results like this across Scotland are a real springboard to beat the SNP where we are challenging them on 8 June", he said. Over one in ten votes on May 4 were cast for independent candidates - in the Highlands and the Islands in particular, council elections are often still genuinely local rather than partisan battles.

A total of 262 councillors were elected on a Labour platform, although one of them had been expelled from the party after the ballot papers had been printed.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has challenged her party to redouble efforts over the next month, saying it faces a "massive" fight against an "all-powerful SNP".

  • Adam Floyd