SNP hold five Highland seats, while Tories show signs of resurgence in the north

alasdair allan
Alasdair Allan won in the Western Isles

The Scottish National Party successfully retained five seats in the Highlands and Islands on their way to claiming a third successive Holyrood election victory.

On a night when the overall support for the Nationalists fell, the Conservatives made ground, increasing their share of the vote in the region by more than 10 percent, and returning three MSPs via the Highlands and Islands list.

Kate Forbes – standing for the first time – was the only SNP candidate in the region to win with an increased majority as she took the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat by over 9000 votes.

Alasdair Allan comfortably retained the Na h-Eileanan an Iar seat, albeit with a much reduced share of the vote.

kate forbes
Kate Forbes retained the seat previously held by Dave Thompson
rhoda grant
Labour’s Rhoda Grant will return as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands

There were further SNP wins for Michael Russell in Argyll and Bute, Fergus Ewing in Inverness and Nairn and Richard Lochhead in Moray. Parliamentary newcomer Gail Ross successfully held off the challenge of former LibDem MSP Jamie Stone to retain Caithness, Sutherland and Ross for the Nationalists.

The Liberal Democrats – so recently the dominant force in Highland politics – held on to both Orkney and Shetland, but have no other MSPs north of Fife.

On a bad night for Labour, the party could take some consolation in the north as both Rhoda Grant and David Stewart held on to their regional list seats in the Highlands. The Tories gained a Highland MSP as Douglas Ross, Edward Mountain and Donald Cameron were all returned for the region. John Finnie, elected in 2011 for the SNP, won a list seat as a Green Party member this time around, while Maree Todd also won a regional seat for the SNP.

Elsewhere, among the SNP MSPs to lose her seat was Aileen McLeod, the former crofting minister who stood in the south of Scotland.