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A 'Bittersweet' Night for Tories and SNP in the North East

Our thoughts on the rise of Reform, the defeat of Douglas Ross, the survival of the SNP, and much more

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Had the TVs been turned off at P & J Live Arena, one could have been fooled into thinking it was a good night for the Tories and SNP. 

Here in Aberdeen, the SNP held both seats, returning Kirsty Blackman and Stephen Flynn to Westminster. In the Shire, the Tories emerged victorious in two constituencies, electing Andrew Bowie and Harriet Cross. However, outgoing Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross was one of the night’s biggest losers, as the North East electorate punished him for his controversial entry to the race. 

Read on for analysis of all five results. 

Aberdeen North:

The northern half of Aberdeen was the first constituency to declare, shortly after 3 AM. Heading into the night, incumbent MP Kirsty Blackman was expected to comfortably hold the seat, which had one of the SNP’s biggest majorities in 2019.

The SNP"s Kirsty Blackman speaks after winning re-election for the third time. Photo Credit: Clive Davies

However, Labour’s Lynn Thomson performed much better than expected, finishing just 1780 votes behind Ms Blackman, who received 34.5% of the vote. A more effective tactical voting strategy could have seen Ms Thomson returned, with the Conservatives gaining 5,881 votes and the Lib Dems receiving 2,583. 

After the count, Ms Blackman told The Gaudie: “I’m really chuffed that the people of Aberdeen North have put their trust in me.”

“It’s a big national swing, but if you look at the seats that were Labour pre-2015, actually I’m pretty chuffed that it's still an SNP seat."

"I think the amount of work we’ve done [and] the amount of help and support that we’ve given people in Aberdeen has been really vital.”

Full results from Aberdeen North: 

Kirsty Blackman (SNP): 14,533 (34.5%)

Lynn Thomson (LAB): 12,773 (30.3%)

Gillian Tebberen (CON): 5,881 (14.0%)

Kenneth Leggat (REF): 3,781 (9.0%)

Desmond Bouse (LIB): 2,583 (6.1%)

Esme Houston (GRE): 1,275 (3.0%)

Charlie Abel (ALB): 703 (1.7%)

Dawn Smith (SFP): 352 (0.8%)

Lucas Grant (TUS): 214 (0.5%)

Aberdeen South:

Twenty minutes later, the result in Aberdeen South was confirmed. SNP Westminster Leader Stephen Flynn was re-elected with 32.8% of the vote. Mr Flynn received 15,213 votes, 3,758 more than Labour councillor M Tauqeer Malik. Despite increasing the Labour vote share by 15.9%, Mr Malik finished just 155 votes ahead of Conservative candidate John Wheeler. 

Stephen Flynn smiles as he thanks the count team at the P&J Live. Photo Credit: Clive Davies

Early in the night, several projections stated that the Tories could gain the seat, an assertion that was quickly squashed by Scottish Conservative sources. Like Ms Blackman, Mr Flynn is likely feeling relieved this afternoon, as his two main rivals split the unionist vote down the middle.

After the result, Mr Flynn told The Gaudie that the party needed to reflect on their losses across Scotland. He said: “We’re going to get thumped tonight. I think everyone knows that. 

“Now, we need to do what’s difficult in politics sometimes. [We need] to pull back the curtain and look at some of the skeletons in [our] closet, realise what the problems have been and try and put them right.”

Despite coming short in both seats, the increased vote share is a boon for Aberdeen Labour, who will look to challenge for control of the city in the 2026 Scottish Parliament and 2027 local council elections. 

Full results from Aberdeen South: 

Stephen Flynn (SNP): 15,213 (32.8%)

M. Tauqeer Malik (LAB): 11,455 (24.7%)

John Wheeler (CON): 11,300 (24.4%)

Michael Pearce (REF): 3,199 (6.9%)

Jeff Goodhall (LIB): 2,921 (6.3%)

Guy Ingerson (GRE): 1,609 (3.5%)

Graeme Craib (SFP): 423 (0.9%)

Sophie Molly (IND): 225 (0.5%)

Aberdeenshire North and Moray East:

Shortly after 5:30 AM, SNP activists filled the counting hall with cheers, celebrating the defeat of Douglas Ross in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East. SNP councillor Seamus Logan was elected with 13,455 votes (35.2%), just 942 votes ahead of Mr Ross. 

Seamus Logan of the SNP celebrated a hard fought victory over Scottish Tory chief Douglas Ross. Photo Credit: Clive Davies

Likely bolstered by local anger over Mr Ross’s last minute replacement of popular incumbent David Duguid, Reform gained 14.6% of the vote in the constituency, far greater than the margin of victory the Conservatives needed to hold the seat.

Mr Ross told the BBC: “I warned that voting Reform would see the SNP win here in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East - they got almost 15% of the vote - and people here now have an SNP MP who will agitate for independence so the Reform vote was clearly the big factor here."

Mr Ross, who will stand down as leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, faces an uncertain political future.

Full results for Aberdeenshire North and Moray East:

Seamus Logan (SNP): 13,455 (35.2%)

Douglas Ross (CON): 12,513 (32.8%)

Jo Hart (REF): 5,562 (14.6%)

Andy Brown (LAB): 3,876 (10.1%)

Ian Bailey (LIB): 2,782 (7.3%)

Gordon and Buchan:

At 5.50 AM, there was finally some good news for the dozens of Conservative activists and campaigners gathered at the P & J Live. Harriet Cross defeated SNP incumbent Richard Thomson by 878 votes, gaining 32.9% of the vote share.

Harriet Cross was victorious in Gordon and Buchan, dethroning an SNP incumbent. Photo Credit: Clive Davies

Running a hyper-local campaign, Ms Cross bucked national trends by holding off a challenge from Reform, who finished fifth in the constituency. 

Posting on X this afternoon, Ms Cross said: “To be elected as your MP for Gordon & Buchan is a responsibility & honour I am so fortunate to be in a position to hold.

“To all those living & working in Gordon & Buchan - I am here for you & our remarkable part of [the] country no matter how you voted last night.”

Full Results for Gordon and Buchan: 

Harriet Cross (CON): 14,418 (32.9%)

Richard Thomson (SNP): 13,540 (30.9%)

Conrad Wood (LIB): 7,307 (16.7%)

Nurul Hoque Ali (LAB): 4,686 (10.7%)

Kris Callender (REF): 3,897 (8.9%)

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine:

Despite a night of horrors for Tories up and down the UK, incumbent Andrew Bowie comfortably won re-election in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, increasing his majority from 843 to 3,441. However, due to a drop in turnout and a challenge from Reform, Mr Bowie received 5,000 fewer votes than in 2019.

Andrew Bowie addresses supporters after expanding his majority. Photo Credit: Clive Davies

Yet, the SNP vote collapsed even more, with the nationalist vote share dropping from 42.7% to 28.6%. Aberdeenshire councillor Glen Reynolds faced accusations of ‘pro-Russian’ tweets, which may have affected the party's standing in the constituency. 

Speaking to a crowd of supporters at the count, Mr Bowie said: 

“This has been a rough night for Conservatives up and down the United Kingdom…”

“We are going to have to take a long hard look about why we have received the votes we have across the country, and why we suffered some of the results we have.”

Full results for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine:

Andrew Bowie (CON): 17,428 (35.6%)

Glen Reynolds (SNP): 13,987 (28.6%)

Kate Blake (LAB): 6,397 (13.1%)

Michael Turvey (LIB): 6,342 (13.0%)

Brandon Innes (REF): 3,497 (7.1%)

William Linegar (GRE): 1,032 (2.1%)

Iris Leask (IND): 219 (0.4%)

David Neill (IND): 56 (0.1%)

What comes next?

As the dust settles from six weeks of campaigning, and 14 years of Conservative rule, many questions remain.

Despite emerging victorious in Aberdeen, the SNP face turbulent times ahead. Photo Credit: Clive Davies

Can the SNP regain the trust of the country, which saw them dominate Scottish electoral politics in the 2010s? Alternatively, will Labour parlay last night's success into gains at Holyrood? Given that losses are expected in 2026 for the SNP, who will step up for the party? Many would tap Stephen Flynn to stand down from Westminster and take the reins. But what about Kate Forbes?

On a wider scale, the rise of Reform has exposed the UK's proclivity to populist sentiment. Will their emergence push the Conservatives further to the right? Given that Labour only marginally improved its share of the vote from 2019, is the story of this election really about Labour victory, or Tory failure? Starmer may prove to be the next Macron, a centrist politician whose ascension creates a path for the hard right.

Change may have been the narrative of the summer, but here in the North East, the status quo remains. The SNP still dominates the city, and the Tories hold the Shire. Yet, cracks have emerged, and soon, the dam will burst.

1 Comment

Adam Brody
Adam Brody
3 days ago

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