INTERNATIONAL

SNP wave decimates Labour

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon (centre) celebrating the result with supporters in Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday.— Photo: AP

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon (centre) celebrating the result with supporters in Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday.— Photo: AP  

When a 20-year-old political novice ousted a former shadow foreign secretary, the scope of the Scottish National Party’s stunning victory over the Labour Party became totally clear.

Mhairi Black on Friday became the youngest member of the British Parliament since 1667 when she triumphed over Douglas Alexander — and the Scottish nationalists overturned decades of Labour Party dominance just seven months after they failed in a referendum to break up the 308-year-old political union with England.

She is a pro-independence university student with a history of volunteer work and activism who reached enough new voters to topple a Labour Party stalwart. “I have been elected alongside a strong group of SNP MPs,” she said in her acceptance speech. “We will work to put an end to the austerity cuts which are hurting people in communities both North and South of the border. We will call for the powers promised to Scotland in the referendum, starting with those that make the biggest impact of getting more people into work and making work pay.”

Third-largest party

The SNP took 56 out of the 59 U.K. parliamentary seats in Scotland. Some of Britain’s most experienced Labour politicians lost their seats. Throughout Scotland, the vote for change and for a party that favours independence was overwhelming.

The SNP will now become the third-largest party in the U.K. Parliament — an ironic position for a party that wants to break off from the United Kingdom.

It is also staunchly opposed to the austerity program imposed by the ruling Conservatives, and seeks the removal of the Trident nuclear fleet from Scottish waters.

Jim Murphy, leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, lost the Renfrewshire East seat he had held for 20 years. One of the most dramatic results of the election was the loss of the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency which had been under the control of Labour for more than 80 years. Until recently the seat of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it was taken by the SNP’s Roger Mullin by a margin of almost 10,000 votes.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the election had been a great result for the party, which has seen membership numbers rise from 25,000 to more than 105,000 in six months.

“The tectonic plates of Scottish politics have clearly shifted and what we have seen is a historic shift in Scottish political opinion. It hasn’t happened overnight, and not even in the last seven months since the referendum. Labour has been losing the trust of the people of Scotland over several years.” — AP

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