Big shock for SNP as Tories topple Westminister leader

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Two decades of SNP domination in Moray came to an end when the party’s Westminster leader was toppled in one of the biggest shocks of the night.

Conservative Douglas Ross turned Angus Robertson’s 9,000 majority from two years ago into a 4,000 lead for himself.

The SNP deputy leader declared “that’s it from me” in a brief speech at Elgin Town Hall before leaving without answering questions.

At the start of the night neither side was willing to predict how it would turn. However, shortly after midnight Conservative officials began to grow increasingly confident Highlands and Islands MSP Mr Ross had produced a surprise win.

The Tory claimed 22,637 votes – an increase of nearly 7,000 from his 2015 result. Meanwhile, Mr Robertson’s support fell by about 6,000 to 18,478.

Mr Ross said: “I was hopeful but I’ve stood here before and have been beaten a few times by Angus before. However, our vote has always been increasing and there has been growing support in Moray. I had been receiving positive responses on the doorstep but I wasn’t sure about the result until I was actually declared as MP.”

Mr Robertson, who had held the seat since 2001, said: “I will no longer be the leader of the third biggest parliamentary party at Westminster, I will no longer be able to hold the Prime Minister to account but someone else will from the SNP. That’s it from me. It’s time for me to go off and do something else.”

Labour’s Jo Kirby believed her party’s downwards slide in Moray was beginning to turn. Lib Dem Alex Linklater received 1,078 votes. Independent Anne Glen got 204 votes.

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