Lib Dems lose sole Scottish EU seat as UKIP secures first Scottish MEP

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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
The Lib Dems’ Scottish woes have continued today with confirmation that they have lost their sole Scottish Euro MEP.
 
Euro election results for Scotland, released on Sunday evening, have revealed that George Lyon’s seat has gone to UKIP candidate David Coburn.  The result gives the anti-European party its first electoral success in Scotland.

Despite the disappointment in failing to pick up the vacant Lib Dem seat, the SNP has some consolation with results confirming Alex Salmond’s party topped the popular vote in Scotland.

Results of Scottish votes cast gave the SNP 386,193 votes (28.9%), Labour 346,377 (26.9%), Conservatives 230,569, UKIP: 139,687 Greens: 107,805 and the Lib Dems: 95,076.  Other parties included Britain First who achieved 13,551 votes, the BNP 10,150 votes and No2EU on 6,388.  At the time of publication, results from the Western Isles had yet to be confirmed.

The result means both the SNP and Labour retain two MEPs with the Conservatives and UKIP one apiece.

The vote leaves the Lib Dems without an MEP in Scotland with its Scottish leader Willie Rennie blaming its Westminster coalition for what he described as a “heartbreaking evening”.

However the evening’s results were marred by several personal attacks on First Minister Alex Salmond.  UKIP’s Scottish MEP David Coburn called Mr Salmond’s leadership a “nasty little dictatorship” and compared the First Minister to Robert Mugabe.

Senior Better Together official Rob Shorthouse attacked the First Minister’s criticism of the high profile coverage given to UKIP by the BBC, calling Mr Salmond’s comments, “cringe worthy”.  Mr Salmond had slammed what he termed, the “wall-to-wall media coverage of UKIP that has been beamed into Scotland.” which had seen four times the coverage for UKIP than that enjoyed by Scotland’s party of government.

The Better Together head of communications said later, “and to add to the embarrassment from Salmond, he went on to not just blame the BBC – but specifically the London BBC.”

The personal attacks on Scotland’s First Minister continued on BBC Scotland, with the radio phone-in programme ‘Morning Call’ witnessing more attacks on Mr Salmond.

Labour MP Anas Sarwar caused some online controversy when he appeared to welcome support for pro-UK parties such as the BNP and Britain First in Scotland.  He tweeted: “Thanks @scottishlabour activists. Our vote share up. ProUK parties 68% Indy 32%. No joy in UKIP – we must continue fight against nationalism”

However the SNP responded to the results by highlighting its success in the EU election which followed seven years of Government.  In a statement, the party said the SNP remains the most popular party in Scotland with 29% of the votes that have been counted so far.

In twelve of the council areas to declare so far, the SNP increased its vote on 2009, propelling the SNP to victory in the popular vote.

Commenting, SNP Leader and First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“This is a remarkable result for the SNP, winning another national election after seven years in Government.

“It is a real vote of confidence in the SNP Government and a result that the Westminster parties would have bitten your arm off for.

“UKIP’s performance has shown the real and increasing threat to Scotland’s place in the EU that comes from being part of the Westminster system. But in Scotland UKIP have come fourth with only around a third of the vote they got in the rest of the UK, where they won the election, and only around 3% of Scotland’s electorate backing them – despite the wall to wall media coverage of UKIP that has been beamed into Scotland.

“That substantial level of support they secured south of the border means that all the Westminster parties are now dancing to a UKIP tune.

“And with the Westminster parties now having to do even more to respond to UKIP’s agenda, it is clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, with all that that entails for jobs and investment, is with a Yes vote in September.

“Only a Yes vote can ensue that Scotland’s place in the EU is protected and that we can continue to work in partnership with Europe to bring jobs and investment to Scotland.”

The Scottish Greens called it their “best ever result”.  They took 107,805 votes (8%), ahead of the Liberal Democrats who got a total of 95,076 votes (7%).

Green co-leader Patrick Harvie, said: “We have strengthened our position as the torch-bearer for radical ideas in Scottish politics, and are in the process of replacing the Liberal Democrats as Scotland’s fourth major party.”