THE Conservatives could still win the next general election despite disastrous losses in two byelections south of the border overnight, the chair of the Scottish party has insisted.

MSP Craig Hoy said the outcome was “not a foregone conclusion”.

Scottish Labour said "no Tory or SNP seat" was safe from it.

Rishi Sunak’s party was defeated by Labour in Yorkshire and by the Liberal Democrats in Somerset, but narrowly managed to hold on in a third seat outside London.

Tory majorities of more than 19,000 were overturned in both the seats the party lost.

Despite the ominous implications for the Government at the election due by January 2025, Mr Hoy told BBC Radio Scotland: “I don’t think the next election is lost.

“The Prime Minister set out key pledges and he’s delivering on them.”

Mr Hoy also said the election would be fought against a distinctive background in Scotland, where the Tories won six of the 59 seats in 2019 compared to the SNP’s 48.

Recent polls suggest support for the SNP slipping in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation and developments in the police probe into the party’s finances.

Mr Hoy said: “In one of the most recent by-elections in East Kilbride, for example, our vote was up, the SNP vote was down significantly.”

The East Kilbride West council by-election this month saw Labour candidate Kirsty Williams win on a 13.7% rise in her party’s vote, while the Tories moved into second with a 6.3% jump in their share and the SNP lost the seat, along with 8.3% of its vote compared to last year.

Mr Hoy said: “In the seats that we hold, or the seats that we’re targeting, it’ll be a straight choice between the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate and the SNP, there’ll be a very different dynamic at the next general election in Scotland."

If the party got its message out and fought a positive campaign on local issues, “I don’t think we will see those kinds of results here in Scotland”. 

Thursday’s three byelections saw Labour overturn a Tory majority of 20,137 in Selby & Ainsty to win by 4,161, its biggest ever such victory.

The LibDems flipped a Tory majority of more than 19,000 in Somerton & Frome into a lead of more than 11,000 on a mammoth 29% swing.

But despite a 6.7% swing to Labour, Sir Keir Starmer’s party failed to overturn a 7,000 vote Tory majority in Boris Johnson’s former Uxbridge & South Ruislip seat.

The Tories made the byelection there a mini-referendum on London Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s anti-pollution measure aimed at drivers, Ulez, and held on by 495 votes.  

Scottish Labour deputy leadr Dame Jackie Baillie said: "This remarkable victory shows that change is coming to Britain and no Tory or SNP seat is safe from the Labour surge.

“The people of Britain are crying out for change and it is the Labour Party that will deliver it.

“While the Tories try to spin dismal failure into victory and the SNP look on in fear of a Labour resurgence, Labour is getting to work to gain the trust and support of working people.

“From the cost of living crisis to the jobs of the future, it is only the Labour Party that has a plan for this country. Join us as we build a better future for all.”

SNP Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said the by-elections were a “disappointing night” for both the Tories and Labour.

He said: “The Conservatives have lost two seats in their heartlands area, the Labour Party were widely expected, widely tipped and accepted the fact they would probably take Boris Johnson’s seat but have missed out,” he said.

“The next GE is going to be about delivering change.

“We want to see the back of the Conservative government, but Keir Starmer over the last short while, has been making U-turn after U-turn, most noticeably recently on social security where he accepted to Tory policy of the brutal two child policy and rape clause.

“So we know now the only way of delivering real change at the next election is through the SNP and thereafter independence.”