THE Scottish National Party’s Michael Russell has been elected as Argyll and Bute’s new MSP - with an enormous majority of the vote.
In what was once regarded as the nearest thing in Scotland to a four-way marginal constituency, Mr Russell polled 13,390 votes – slightly more than half of all the votes cast - beating his nearest rival, the Conservatives’ Jamie McGrigor, into a distant second place, with Labour’s Mick Rice third.
The result was announced in Lochgilphead by returning officer Sally Loudon just after 2pm on Friday.
The SNP’s hugely increased majority mirrors the national picture, in which the SNP, at the time of writing, is on course for an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament.
Again reflecting the national picture, the Liberal Democrats – who held the seat for eight years from 1999, and have represented the area at Westminster since 1987 – saw their vote collapse, with the party’s candidate, mid Argyll councillor Alison Hay, limping home in fourth place.
Full result as follows: 1 Michael Russell (SNP) 13,390 votes (50.6 per cent); 2 Jamie McGrigor (Conservative) 4,847 (18.3%); 3 Mick Rice (Labour) 4,041 (15.3%); 4 Alison Hay (Liberal Democrat) 3,220 (12.2%); 5 George Doyle (Independent) 542 (2%); 6 George White (Liberal) 436 (1.6%).