Former Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond loses seat

Scottish National Party (SNP) former leader Alex Salmond (left) speaking to a delegate at the Scottish National Party (SNP) Spring Conference, on March 18, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

EDINBURGH (AFP) - Former Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond, the ex-first minister, lost his parliamentary seat on Friday (June 9) to a member of Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives, adding to night of setbacks for his party.

Salmond, who had represented the north-eastern Scottish seat of Gordon, gained global prominence in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, which he lost but succeeded in making self-rule a key political issue in Britain.

Earlier, Angus Robertson, who led the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Westminster, lost to a Conservative in the north-eastern constituency of Moray.

Salmond had swept to power in Gordon in 2015, reversing a decades-long grip by the centrist Liberal Democrats.

The SNP had 54 seats in the outgoing parliament, making it the third-biggest party in Westminster. It had won 33 by early Friday.

"The SNP has lost a number of fine parliamentarians this evening, that is a grievous blow for us," Salmond said, in a speech accepting defeat.

"But overall results show the SNP will win a majority of the seats in this country and a majority of the votes."

He said that while the SNP may have been reduced in numbers at Westminster, they will still have significant influence.

"You've not seen the last of my bonnet and me," he said, quoting a song by the Jacobites - an 18th-century movement of Scottish patriots.

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