KEZIA DUGDALE has vowed to continue as Scottish Labour leader despite a "heartbreaking" result for the party in the Holyrood elections.

Labour finished third in the contest with 24 seats - down 13 from 2011 and its worst-ever result in the Scottish Parliament vote.

The Scottish Conservatives won 31 seats to make them the second-largest party behind the SNP on 63, with Scottish Greens on six and the Lib Dems on five.

READ MORE: Despite 'fresh start', Kezia Dugdale faces uphill struggle at helm of Scottish Labour

Labour suffered the loss of a dozen constituency seats and swings to the Conservatives as it saw its support in its former heartlands all but evaporate.

Ms Dugdale failed to secure the Edinburgh Eastern seat in which she was standing and had to rely on a regional list seat to return to the Scottish Parliament.

Elsewhere, the party lost Eastwood to the Conservatives and failed to win a single constituency seat in Glasgow - which was once a Labour stronghold.

Last May, the party lost all but one of their MPs in Scotland as the SNP swept the board in the general election.

Ms Dugdale said after that result ''this election was always going to be tough for the Scottish Labour Party''.

She said she was "heartbroken, without question" at finishing third behind the Tories but insisted she would remain as leader, adding: ''I am proud that our campaign rose to the challenge of offering an alternative vision of what could be done in our new, more powerful parliament.''

READ MORE: Despite 'fresh start', Kezia Dugdale faces uphill struggle at helm of Scottish Labour

With the constitution now the dominant issue in Scottish politics, she said her ''determination to try to move the Scottish debate on'' from the arguments of the 2014 independence referendum had cost Labour votes.

She backed income-tax rises for not just the wealthiest Scots but basic-rate taxpayers, saying this was needed to prevent cuts in public services such as schools and the NHS.

Ms Dugdale added: ''There's no doubt that our defeat for the Labour Party is painful but it is not the end of our campaign.

''We will continue to argue for Labour values, Labour ideas and Labour principles.

''The work to renew the Scottish Labour Party so it is fit to serve the people of Scotland continues.''

Labour had some successes, including constituency holds for Iain Gray and Jackie Baillie, and a win for Daniel Johnson from the SNP in Edinburgh Southern.

The party also returned four MSPs on the Glasgow list, including former MP Anas Sarwar and former leader Johann Lamont.

Senior figures within Labour backed Ms Dugdale, insisting she should not quit.

Mr Gray said: "Five years ago I was the leader and we had a bad election result and that was what happened, I resigned.

"You have to remember I had been leader for three years and that was an election which I was expected to win, and we lost badly.

"The situation was very different. Since then, we have changed leader repeatedly and it has not served us well."

Mr Sarwar, Lothians list MSP Neil Findlay and Ian Murray, Labour's only MP, also said Ms Dugdale should stay on in the role.

READ MORE: Despite 'fresh start', Kezia Dugdale faces uphill struggle at helm of Scottish Labour