THERE is now "no conceivable path" to an SNP majority after the party failed to gain a key seat in the north-east. 

The Scottish Conservatives held on to the crucial constituency of Aberdeenshire West with an increased majority. 

Professor John Curtice, the Strathclyde University polling expert, said the result had effectively ruled out an SNP majority.

He told the BBC: "The Conservative success in this constituency means that there is now no conceivable path to the SNP securing 65 seats.

"At most they could now win 64 by picking up list seats in the Highlands and the South of Scotland."

The BBC projected the SNP will win 63 seats, the same number it secured in 2016.

The Conservatives are projected to win 31 seats, the same as in 2016, Labour 22, two down on the last election, the Greens nine, up three, and the Liberal Democrats four, down one.

Tory Alexander Burnett secured a majority of 3,390 over the SNP's Fergus Mutch in Aberdeenshire West, an increase on his slender lead of 900 in 2016.

It was one of a handful of opposition-held seats that held the key to an SNP majority.