Nationalist MPs insisted that a disastrous election night in Edinburgh should not be interpreted as a rejection of the cause of independence as the party was wiped out in the capital. 

Joanna Cherry, Tommy Sheppard, and Deidre Brock - all members of the SNP's bumper 2015 intake to Westminster - lost their seats to Labour candidates in an unexpectedly grim night for the nationalists. 

Ms Cherry - a high-profile and divisive party figure who clashed with former party leader Nicola Sturgeon over gender rights, but was also a prominent anti-Brexit campaigner - said she had faced "challenging" times during her nine year tenure in parliament. 


Conceding defeat in the Edinburgh South West constituency to Labour's Scott Arthur, an Edinburgh city councillor, Ms Cherry said she had endured a "torrent of abuse and intimidation" including "death threats and rape threats", adding: "That's what happens today in politics if you are a lesbian feminist who stands up for women's rights."

Ms Cherry - a KC -  said Labour's landslide victory reflected "massive dissatisfaction" with the Conservatives, but she stressed that the SNP must also question "what's going wrong". 

Labour won Edinburgh South West with 18,863 votes compared to 12,446 for the SNP, on a turnout of more than 62%. 

Across the capital, turnout exceeded 61-69% - higher than the average for Scotland

Adding that she would "have more to say" in the coming days, Ms Cherry said the party's defeat in Edinburgh "should not be interpreted as rejection of the cause of independence" and the Labour party would be "foolish" to do so. 

Tommy Sheppard, who lost his Edinburgh East and Musselburgh seat by 3,715 votes to Labour's Chris Murray admitted that it had been "a very bad night" for the SNP. 

Tommy Sheppard lost his seat to LabourTommy Sheppard lost his seat to Labour (Image: Gordon Terris/Herald&Times)

Mr Sheppard's constituency was the last of the Edinburgh seats to be declared, with candidates taking to the stage at the Royal Highland Centre shortly before 5am. 

Conceding defeat, Mr Sheppard said: "Politics is a game of ups and downs, of good and bad, and tonight this night belongs to the Labour party, and I congratulate them for that. 

"It has been a very bad night for my party, for the SNP.

"And there are two main reasons for that. One is that a large number of people in my constituency and throughout the country offered their vote to the Labour party because they were so sick and tired of the Conservative government that they were prepared to do anything to get rid of them. 

"But the second reason why many people, who voted for me in the past didn't vote for me this time or stayed at home, is because they are concerned about what my own party has been doing in recent years. 

"There are many, many factors involved here, some of which are contradictory.

"I want to say to them - we get it, we understand. For some people, we have lost your trust, your confidence."

Mr Sheppard added: "This is not the end of the journey - this is a setback. We will be back."

In the Edinburgh North and Leith constituency, Deidre Brock lost to Labour's Tracy Gilbert by 13,537 votes to 20,805 on a turnout of more than 63%. 

She vowed to "keep on fighting", telling supporters assembled in the hall that she hoped "you do not read this as us giving up in any way on the cause of independence". 

Ms Gilbert said support for Labour was a "vote for change in Scotland", pointing to the housing emergency, poverty, and "poor people feeding more poor people in food banks". 

Christine Jardine retained her seat for the LibDemsChristine Jardine retained her seat for the LibDems (Image: GordonTerris/Herald&Times)

The only seats not to change hands in the capital were those already held by Labour's Ian Murray - hotly tipped to become the Scottish Secretary in Keir Starmer's new government - and Christine Jardine, the LibDem candidate who has held her seat in Edinburgh West since 2017. 

Ms Jardine saw a massive increase in her majority, from 3,769 in the 2019 election to 16,470 over the SNP. 

Mr Murray - at one point Labour's sole MP left in Scotland - said people were "crying out for change" after holding his Edinburgh South seat with a majority of more than 17,000 over the SNP. 

He said his time as an MP had been "sometimes lonely, often hard, but always hopeful", adding: "Being the sole Labour MP ends tonight with a bang".