Tories win majority of council seats in East Renfrewshire election

Miss Davidson said: "We won the local government election in Gordon this week, beating the SNP into second place".

There has been a slight dip in support for the Tories since the campaign began, but one analyst said they were still on course for "the type of victory last seen by Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher". But both were outstripped by the SNP, which added 31 councillors to win a total of 431 seats.

"There are many others where we are just a few points behind, with the Tories a distant third".

Ms Davidson declared: "Today's result makes one thing crystal clear: all across Scotland, only the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to fight back against the SNP".

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also said there had been a "clear backlash against the SNP's plans for a divisive second independence referendum".

It would be nice to believe that Thursday's election was a series of local referendums on local services rendered (or not), but it would be a fantasy: this was a national election fought on national issues, and those issues revolved around the prospect of another independence referendum.

Tory strategists have expressed concern that voters won't bother turning out for May next month because the Conservatives are so far ahead.

It is understood John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will be at the centre of Labour's pitch to voters in the next four weeks as the party tries to bounce back for the general election. "It's time to focus on this crucial general election campaign - and we can take absolutely nothing for granted", May will tell the event on Monday.

"The worry for the SNP is not that they're not going to remain the largest party on June 8 - it would be very surprising if that changed - but that they are indeed vulnerable in individual constituencies where the unionist vote does seem to be congregating around a particular party".

The former first minster continued: "I've never taken any election battle for granted, I've represented the north-east of Scotland for 30 years and every election the Tories tell me they are going to beat me and every time they fall short".

The party lost 10 MPs in the 2015 General Election, and now holds only one seat in Orkney and Shetland.

"There are 77 members of North Lanarkshire council, the SNP have 33, so numerically they are not in a position to form an administration so I will meet with senior colleagues, we'll sit down and look at the all the options while ruling nothing in and nothing out".

The Scottish Conservatives won seats in working-class areas including Shettleston in Glasgow's east end, and Ferguslie Park in Paisley, two of the most deprived areas in Scotland which had previously been no-go areas for the Tories.

"The SNP ended up with pretty much the same number of councillors as they had in 2012", he said.

  • Leroy Wright