Nicola Sturgeon pledges second independence referendum as she is re-elected in Glasgow Southside

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Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacts as she visits a counting centre as votes are counted for the Scottish Parliamentary election, in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, May 7, 2021.  - Russell Cheyne/REUTERS
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacts as she visits a counting centre as votes are counted for the Scottish Parliamentary election, in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, May 7, 2021. - Russell Cheyne/REUTERS

Nicola Sturgeon has been re-elected as MSP for Glasgow Southside after comfortably seeing off a direct challenge from Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader.

In an unsurprising result, Ms Sturgeon received a massive 60.2 per cent of the vote in the constituency, compared to 31.3 per cent for Scottish Labour and 5.5 per cent for the Tories.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarwar was able to deliver a credible nine-point increase in his party’s vote share, which is likely the result of switching Conservative voters and an increased turnout.

In her victory speech, the First Minister said that her party "appears on course for a fourth consecutive election victory and to be on course to have the privilege of forming a government again”.

"If that is indeed the outcome of this election, I pledge to get back to work immediately to continue to steer this country through the crisis of Covid, to lead this country into recovery from Covid,” she added.

Second referendum ‘when the time is right’

However, she promised that "when the time is right" she wishes to "offer this country the choice of a better future" with a second independence referendum.

Thanking the Glasgow Southside electorate, Ms Sturgeon paid particular tribute to Mr Sarwar, saying they “actually quite like each other” and added it is “difficult to campaign against someone you like”.

She also took aim at “far-Right thug” Jayda Fransen, who received just 46 votes after standing for the seat. Ms Fransen, who has convictions for racially aggravated harassment, confronted the SNP leader while out canvassing in the constituency on Thursday evening.

“The constituency was targeted by far-Right thugs. The far-Right thug that led that confrontation got 46 votes and I am proud that once again that Glasgow Southside has shown the racists and the fascists that they are not welcome in Glasgow Southside, they are not welcome in Glasgow and they are not welcome anywhere in Scotland,” she said, adding: “And let that be a note of unity.”

And while Mr Sarwar did not win the constituency contest, he is almost certain to be returned to Holyrood as an MSP as he is high up on his party’s regional list for Glasgow, the results of which will be announced on Saturday.

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