4 days later, and three leaders resigned. Annabel Goldie (Scottish Conservative), Iain Gray (Scottish Labour) and Tavish Scott (Scottish Liberal Democrats) have all announced they will step down from their leaderships of their respective parties.
- Leader since 2005
- Saw a loss of 2 seats (10% Loss)
Goldie today announced that due to her party’s disappointing performance she will be replaced as soon as the party can elect a new leader.
“There are four years until the next UK general election, and five years until the next Holyrood contest.
I want my successor to have the maximum time for him or her to shape the party and its policies and to lead the opposition at Holyrood.”
Although the Conservatives loss was minimal in comparison to the other two parties’, it is the first drop in two Scottish elections, and is most likely a signal that even Scottish Conservative supporters have been taken aback by the scale of the Westminster cuts.
The new leader will be announced this year, and will have the tough job of steering a party with very minimal influence in Scottish politics, but accountable for most things Westminster.
- Leader since 2008
- Saw a loss of 9 seats (20% Loss)
Having held his own constituency seat by a mere 151 vote, Iain Gray reported on Friday that he would be standing down in Autumn.
“There are many hard lessons we must take forward from this election, not least my own responsibility and role as the Scottish Labour Leader.
After consulting with colleagues I have decided to stay on until the autumn as we conduct a fundamental and radical reappraisal of the structure and direction of Scottish Labour.”
Any new leader will have the task of reconvicting a disgruntled Scottish electorate that Labour still stands for them. Even a year after Labour left Westminster office, it seems the hangover continues. In the next year Labour are likely to distance themselves from the old ‘new labour’ movement, and start a fresh drive for new support.
- Leader since 2008
- Saw a drop of 11 seats (69% Loss)
In his resignation speech Scott announced:
“Thursday’s Scottish General Election result was disastrous and I must and do take responsibility for the verdict of the electorate.
The party needs a new direction, new thinking and new leadership to win back the trust of the Scottish people.”
This may be wildly optimistic, the Liberal Democrats coalition strikes the Scots as a deal with the devil, and at the very best stabbing them in their electing backs. The Scottish LibDems will be eager to distance themselves from the events in Westminster, but in all likelihood, the Liberal Democrats will remain low in Scottish politics for a generation.