Victorious Edinburgh SNP candidates say Westminster must heed IndyRef2 calls

The three SNP candidates re-elected in Edinburgh on Saturday have insisted there should be another independence referendum.

Ash Denham
Ash Denham

The SNP won a clean sweep of the remaining Edinburgh constituencies following a second day of counting for the Holyrood election, as victorious candidates insisted Westminster “must listen” to demands for another independence referendum.

After all votes were counted in the Scottish capital, the SNP had four seats – including the Edinburgh Central constituency won by former Tory leader Ruth Davidson at the last election.

Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats each held their seats, with every incumbent increasing their majority.

Speaking after her re-election as MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, the SNP’s Ash Denham said “Westminster must listen” after a pro-independence majority looked set to return to Holyrood.

Ms Denham, who served as the community safety minister in the last Scottish Government, held her seat and increased her majority to more than 10,000.

She won 22,658 votes, a majority of 10,117 over second-placed Bill Cook of Scottish Labour, almost double the 5,087 majority she secured in 2016.

Speaking after her victory, Ms Denham said: “This has been a very tough year, but I believe a better future is ahead of us.

“The people of Edinburgh Eastern have spoken, the people of Scotland have spoken, and Westminster must now listen because Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice.”

Ben Macpherson, the re-elected MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, said his victory was an “overwhelming endorsement” of his record locally, as well as the SNP’s performance in government and its manifesto pledges.

He received 22,443 votes, 11,569 more than second-placed Katrina Faccenda of Scottish Labour.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Macpherson said the SNP wanted to deliver a “green and just recovery” from the pandemic and then push forward with plans for another independence referendum.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
SNP candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Ben MacPherson, was re-elected (Lesley Martin/PA)

He said: “The First Minister’s been clear that once the emergency and the very acute part of the pandemic response has passed and we’re starting to recover as society, yes, of course we must have that choice in our future because we’ve been taken out of the European Union, against our will.

“We have a UK Government that has very, very, very little support in Scotland, we want to build a progressive socially democratic society in Scotland, and there’s a Conservative government in the UK.

“People see the injustice of that, more and more people are getting convinced by the independence position because of Brexit, and because of the democratic deficit.”

Gordon MacDonald said the SNP has a chance to complete “unfinished business” from the 2014 independence referendum after he was re-elected as the party’s MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands.

Mr MacDonald said it was “just a matter of time” until Scotland becomes independent and said the country has “spoken loud and clear” that it wants another referendum.

The SNP candidate won 16,227 votes, a majority of 3,897 over his nearest challenger, the Scottish Conservative candidate Gordon Lindhurst.

He increased both the number of votes and his majority, up from 13,181 in 2016, when he was 2,456 ahead of his Tory rival.

Speaking after his re-election, Mr MacDonald said: “You have all spoken loud and clear, we will have that referendum.

“It is a democratic wish of the people that they should have a choice over Scotland’s future.

“When the time is right, we will complete that unfinished business that we failed to complete in 2014.

“The world is watching and Scotland wants to join the family of nations – it’s just a matter of time.”

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
SNP candidate Gordon MacDonald reacts after he held his seat in the Scottish Parliament elections (Lesley Martin/PA)

Former SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson won in Edinburgh Central with 16,276 votes, a majority of 4,732 over the Conservatives.

Scottish Labour’s Daniel Johnson held Edinburgh Southern and Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton retained the Edinburgh Western seat with 25,578 votes – more votes than any other Holyrood candidate has ever received – giving him a majority of 9,885.

Turnout in all three Edinburgh constituencies counted on Friday was higher than at any other Scottish Parliament election, with Edinburgh Southern receiving 45,466 votes (71.11%), Central getting 41,833 (62.69%) and 46,901 (71.46%) in Western.

These were increases of 8,307 voters, 7,664 and 7,135 respectively from the 2016 Holyrood election turnouts.

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