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Douglas Ross elected as party takes extra seat in Highlands

·3 min read

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross will return to Holyrood on the Highlands and Islands regional list as his party upped its number of MSPs in the area.

Mr Ross was one of the four Tory MSPs to be elected, the rest of whom served during the last parliamentary term.

Edward Mountain, Donald Cameron and Jamie Halcro Johnston will all return to Holyrood with their leader, as the party gained one more MSP in the region.

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The SNP and Scottish Greens maintained their number of MSPs in the Highlands and Islands, although the seats will be filled by different people.

After children’s minister Maree Todd won the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross seat, Emma Roddick will take the seat, while Ariane Burgess will take the place of the retiring Green MSP John Finnie.

Labour lost one seat in the area, with Rhoda Grant returning to Holyrood.

Speaking after his election, Mr Ross said: “This region is so important to me – I have lived within the Highlands and Islands in Moray my entire life.

“I have had the great pleasure and privilege to represent this this area before and I’m delighted to be returned again to represent this diverse and wonderful part of Scotland.”

He added: “We have had six weeks of extremely competitive and at times divisive debate, but I believe now people are looking for their MSPs, both in this region and across Scotland, to work together – to show the same unity that people across this country have shown in coming through the worst of this pandemic so far and looking towards our recovery as a country.”

The gain comes after the Tories were able to hold onto a key marginal seat in Aberdeenshire West, effectively ending the hopes of a majority for the SNP.

Alexander Burnett increased his majority from 900 to 3,390 against former SNP head of communication Fergus Mutch.

Tactical voting was said to have helped contribute to an increase in the Tory’s share of the vote in this election.

Speaking to the PA news agency earlier in the day, Mr Ross said he believed the Alba Party’s introduction into Scottish politics had been more beneficial to the Greens, as it helped to illustrate to voters how the voting system operates.

Alex Salmond
The Scottish Tory leader said he believed the Alba Party and Alex Salmond helped the Scottish Greens (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Speaking at the count in Inverness, he said: “It certainly showed people that there was a real risk there, but it might actually be converse it wasn’t Alba that benefit from that but the Greens.

“Because Alba were also explaining that because of the system and the fact that it’s not a perfect system then you can vote for a party in the constituency and a different party on the list.

“Actually today I think at close of play the Greens have benefitted from the messaging that Alba were putting out at the start of this campaign.

On Alex Salmond, Mr Ross added: “He should never have come back – he was a totally unsuitable person to seek elected office again.

“I thought it was wrong for him to seek election again and the people of the north east have made it very clear they don’t want him.”

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