26 May 2014
Last updated at 01:51
UKIP is on course to win its first Scottish seat in the European election, on a night which saw the SNP take the most votes overall.
Scotland’s party of power is expected to win two of the six MEP seats, with two for Labour and one for the Conservatives.
The Liberal Democrats, who came sixth, will lose their previously held European Parliament seat.
A total of 31 out of Scotland’s 32 council areas declared overnight.
The full Scottish result will be known later on Monday, as the Western Isles does not count votes on a Sunday. Voter turnout was 33.5%.
UKIP lead candidate David Coburn, whose party won 10% of the vote in Scotland, said the result showed his party had appeal beyond England.
SNP top the poll – and declare themselves delighted with that.
However, they are less than delighted that they have failed to squeeze out UKIP. It looks like David Coburn will become Scotland’s sixth MEP.
Plus, their voting share as it stands is down on five years ago.
He claimed, ahead of the 18 September Scottish independence referendum, the SNP had peaked and were now on the slide.
Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond said the Euro poll was a “remarkable result” for his party and a “real vote of confidence” in the nationalists, after seven years in government.
He added: “UKIP’s performance has shown the real and increasing threat to Scotland’s place in the EU that comes from being part of the Westminster system.
“But in Scotland, UKIP have come fourth with only around a third of the vote they got in the rest of the UK, where they won the election, and only around 3% of Scotland’s electorate backing them – despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of UKIP that has been beamed into Scotland.”
Mr Salmond said only a “Yes” vote in the independence referendum would protect Scotland’s place in the EU.
The SNP won 386,193 votes on the night – almost 29% – with Labour coming second, on 346,377 votes (25.9%).
In third place was the Conservatives, with 230,569 votes (17.2%), followed by UKIP on 139,687 (10.4%).
The Scottish Greens hailed their “best ever result”, after winning 107,805 votes (8%), while the Liberal Democrats got a total of 95,076 votes (7%).
Green co-leader Patrick Harvie, said: “We have strengthened our position as the torch-bearer for radical ideas in Scottish politics, and are in the process of replacing the Liberal Democrats as Scotland’s fourth major party.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, added: “We continue to pay the price for being in coalition and for the decisions we have taken in government. I get that.
“In this election, we put forward a positive case which was unashamedly pro European. Despite our defeat I am proud of that.”
The European Parliament’s powers have expanded since the last election, and the 751 MEPs now negotiate legislation with national government ministers, before parliament votes on the laws.
They also have a say on budget areas, including agriculture and regional aid.
European Parliament seats are allocated in proportion to each country’s population.
Britain is one of eight countries to use a “closed list” system where people vote for a party, rather than an individual, with seats allocated within each European constituency using the D’hondt system, a form of proportional representation.
The new intake of MEPs will be representing 500 million citizens in 28 states.
26 May 2014 | 1:51 am – Source: bbc.co.uk