POLITICS

Nicola Sturgeon Pictured With All 56 Of Her New MPs After Election Result Victory

09/05/2015 14:18 BST | Updated 18/12/2015 13:59 GMT

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has insisted Scotland will no longer be "sidelined or ignored" at Westminster after her party won an unprecedented 56 seats in the general election, sending political shockwaves across the UK.

The first minister said the landslide victory - which saw the SNP claim all but three of the constituencies north of the border - had given the nationalists a "mandate on a scale unprecedented for any political party, not just in Scotland but right across the UK".

Half of those who voted in Scotland backed the SNP on Thursday, with the party winning 1,454,436 votes across the country.

nicola sturgeon

While that has resulted in a record number of nationalist MPs at Westminster, it remains unclear how much influence they will be able to exert after David Cameron's Conservatives won a shock majority government.

  • Cameron will spend the weekend planning his his new cabinet. On Friday he re-appointed George Osborne as chancellor, Theresa May as home secretary, Philip Hammond as foreign secretary and Michael Fallon as defence secretary.
  • Ed Miliband has been pictured leaving his home following the unexpected election defeat.
  • The race to succeed Miliband as Labour leader is underway. David Lammy is the first out of the blocks to declare an interest. Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Dan Jarvis are all also in the frame.
  • The Lib Dems also need a new leader. Tim Farron and Norman Lamb are the two most likely contenders to lead their rump of eight MPs.

As Sturgeon gathered with her group of MPs, she said they would now be pressing for an end to austerity. She insisted: "Our message to Westminster is simple, our message to the politicians of the other parties at Westminster is this one - no longer will Scotland be sidelined or ignored in Westminster. Our voice will be heard. Our interests will be protected."

The first minister, whose party had had just six MPs after the 2010 election, stated: "Scotland has given the SNP a mandate on a scale unprecedented for any political party, not just in Scotland but right across the UK.

She said: "We will use that mandate to speak up for and protect the interests of Scotland. Let us be very clear, the people of Scotland on Thursday voted for an SNP manifesto which had ending austerity as its number one priority, and that is the priority that these men and women will now take to the very heart of the Westminster agenda.After Thursday, and as I told the prime minister when I spoke to him yesterday, it simply cannot be and it will not be business as usual when it comes to Westminster's dealing with Scotland."

Nicola Sturgeon and her MPs