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General Election results – What does this mean for Scotland?

With almost all results now in, it is clear that Labour will have a large majority in the House of Commons and the King has asked the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer MP, to form a government. 

The new parliament will sit on Tuesday 9 July, beginning the first session of this parliament. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will sit for a few days before the State Opening of Parliament, on the 17 July, which is the formal start of a parliamentary session and features the King’s Speech. 

Scotland Seats

Boundary changes in Scotland resulted in a reduced number of constituencies from 59 to 57 seats for this most recent general election. Labour won 37 of these seats, which has now ended the SNP party stronghold over Scotland seats in Westminster and puts any possibility of another independence referendum under threat. 

At the last general election in 2019, final voting saw SNP with 48 seats, Conservatives six, Liberal Democrats four, and Labour with just one seat in Scotland.

This year, the final voting figures saw SNP with nine seats, Conservatives five, Liberal Democrats five, and Labour with 37 seats in Scotland. One seat is still to be declared in Inverness, Skye, and West Ross-shire. This is expected to be announced by Saturday 6 July at the latest. 

What does this now mean for Scotland?

Labour has not been in power in the Scottish parliament since 2007, and the party is hoping that with the recent victory at the General Election, this will catapult it into power in Scotland as well. This will undoubtedly be an uphill battle for Labour in 2026, when Scottish Parliamentary elections take place. It will need to persuade die-hard independence voters to back Labour if it is to regain power in Scotland. With current polls suggesting 45-47% would vote for independence, this is not going to be an easy victory for Labour in converting these seats to red.

The First Minister, John Swinney, has previously stated that another independence referendum should be called if the SNP win the majority of Scottish seats in the House of Commons at this election. However, with only nine seats won across Scotland, Mr Swinney has not achieved his aim and it is very unlikely that Labour will bow under SNP pressure in future calls for a referendum. In a press conference today, he admitted:

"I have to accept we failed to convince people of the urgency of independence in this election campaign."

Mr Swinney has vowed to fix this difficult period for the SNP, and he claims full responsibility for the campaign and the results but pledges the SNP will listen and learn after a “very tough night” for his party.

Devolved and reserved matters – Rural Affairs

The majority of rural issues in Scotland are devolved matters, which include:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • Energy (promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and onshore oil and gas licensing)
  • Environment
  • Housing
  • Tourism
  • Transport (some aspects)

Some issues that have a UK or international impact remain the responsibility of the UK Parliament alone. These are known as reserved matters. Reserved matters relating to rural affairs usually include:

  • Energy (other aspects)
  • Telecommunications
  • Trade and industry (including gun licensing)
  • Transport (some aspects)

For more information on devolved and reserved matters, click here.

Summer recess 

Given the proximity of the general election to the traditional summer recess period, which runs from the end of July to the beginning of September, it is not certain whether recess will follow the usual pattern or whether the parliamentary timetable will be altered. The first Business Statement will take place on Thursday 18 July, when we would expect an update on recess dates. 

The Countryside Alliance's General Election Hub has all the up-to-date information on the General Election results, and more.

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