John Swinney admits SNP has failed on independence and promises to listen to voters

John Swinney
-Credit: (Image: Perthshire Advertiser)

First Minister John Swinney has admitted the SNP has failed to persuade Scots on independence after his party was hammered at the general election.

A humble Swinney said the SNP must now "listen" to voters on how he takes forward the case for independence.

He also reached out to PM-in-waiting Keir Starmer by saying he "unreservedly" wanted to work with him.

The SNP suffered an electoral catastrophe after falling from 48 seats to nine at the time of publication.

Labour took dozens of seats off the Nationalists, including taking the scalps of high-profile SNP MPs like Joanna Cherry and Tommy Sheppard.

Anas Sarwar's party swept the board across the central belt and the west of Scotland, ending over a decade of SNP dominance.

At a press conference, Swinney said independence was central to the SNP manifesto but recognised the result had been "incredibly tough".

He said two areas had to be addressed, the first of which is "building trust" with Scots.

He also said the SNP had failed to persuade voters on the urgency of independence and promised he would now "listen".

Swinney also said he needed to "heal" his party's relationship with voters and took "full responsibility" for the campaign.

Asked if independence is now on the "back burner", Swinney said people chose to change the Government at Westminster

"I have to respect that," he said.

Party insiders do not blame Swinney, who has only been in post for eight weeks, for the drubbing.

Sources point the finger at predecessors Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon, whose time as First Minister coincided with a police probe into SNP finances.

Labour won a landslide victory across the UK after a bruising six week campaign for the Tories.

Keir Starmer is expected to become Prime Minister today after meeting the King.

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