Nicola Sturgeon 'owes the SNP an apology' following general election disaster, says ousted MP

Nicola Sturgeon owes the SNP an apology following its general election thrashing, one of the party's former MPs has said.

Joanna Cherry was one of dozens of Nationalists to lose their seats in the early hours of July 5 as Scottish Labour swept to victory across the central belt.

The KC was one of the few senior SNP politicians willing to openly criticise Scottish Government policy or the party's strategy, particularly over controversial gender recognition reforms.

But Cherry's independent spirit was not enough to keep her Edinburgh South West seat when voters went to the polls last week.

"Many, many former constituents said to me on the doorstep ‘I would vote for you Joanna but I just can’t vote SNP this time’," she told Sky News.

"Our core support the people who believe passionately in the cause of Scottish independence… was very disillusioned at the party’s failure to progress the cause of independence and failure to take advantage of some of the opportunities that were presented to us during the Brexit saga and also during the Boris Johnson premiership.

"And on the other hand there were a lot of people who voted for us in the past in Scotland who didn’t necessarily support independence but saw us as a strong and competent government at Holyrood, and also a party that governed with integrity.

"And I’m afraid to say, I’m not ashamed because it’s not down to me, but I am afraid to say and ashamed for my party, that both our reputation of governing competently and for integrity has taken a severe battering in the last couple of years.”

Asked whether the former first minister owed the party an apology, Cherry said: "I think she does.

"I don’t think you can ever blame a setback like this on one person, however, Nicola Sturgeon was a very strong leader who brooked no debate and no dissent, as I know to my considerable cost.”

She said there had been a “huge strategic failure” on Sturgeon’s part to further the cause of independence and reach unconvinced voters.

Cherry did back current leader John Swinney.

She told Sky News the First Minister had “widespread support” but added: “If he is to maintain that support, he is going to have to acknowledge the enormity of the setback and address the reasons why it happened.”

Sturgeon, who was part of ITV’s General Election coverage, said on air that said it would be the “easy solution” for people to “take refuge in somehow it’s all my fault”.

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