The overwhelming SNP victory in the General Election has seen the sitting Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Charles Kennedy swept from office, with Ian Blackford winning over 20,000 votes to secure his seat in Westminster.
Following a national trend which saw the SNP win a total of 56 seats out of 59, Mr Kennedy placed second behind Mr Blackford with 36 per cent of the vote (14,995) compared to 20,119, or 48 per cent.
Mr Blackford sent out a message of thanks to all those who had supported him, adding: “I am delighted, privileged and honoured and I do not take for granted what it means.
“I wouldn’t want to represent anywhere else and it is important to represent the people and work hard to campaign on local issues, of which there are so many, including connectivity – both transport and digital – and electricity prices.
“I will work hard to represent all the constituents. I am there to serve the interests of everyone.”
Speaking after the results were announced in Dingwall, Mr Kennedy said: “The greatest privilege of my public life over these past 32 years has to be being entrusted with the responsibility of representing this constituency.
“That is thanks to a generation and more of voters who have extended that trust to me and I hope looking back over those 32 years they will feel that it was trust well placed.”
Mr Kennedy added, darkly, that the election would become known as “the night of the long sgian-dubhs.”
Lindsay McCallum, standing for the Conservatives, came third with 2,589 votes (six per cent); Chris Coniff, Labour, was fourth on five cent (2,043 votes); Anne Thomas for the Greens took 1,051 votes followed by UKIPs Philip Anderson (814) and Independent candidate Ronnie Campbell (191).
In the Western Isles, Angus Brendan McNeil retained his seat, winning 8,662 votes (54 per cent) while the Labour challenger Alasdair Morrison was on 4,560 votes (29 per cent).
Behind them, on eight per cent (1,215 votes) was Mark Brown of the Conservatives, Christian Party candidate John Cormack and the Lib Dem’s Ruaraidh Ferguson.
In Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross it was another end of an era, as the SNP’s Paul Monaghan won over 15,000 votes to knock the long-standing Lib Dem John Thurso into second place.
Overall the SNP recorded 50 per cent of the vote nationwide, taking key seats from Labour including those of leader Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander, while Lib Dem Danny Alexander also lost out.
Indeed the only non-SNP MPs elected are the Lib Dem’s Alistair Carmichael in Orkney and Shetland, Labour’s Ian Murray in Edinburgh South and David Mundell for the Conservatives in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.