SNP candidate Richard Lochhead has secured a landmark tenth year as Moray constituency MSP – but his majority has been drastically cut.
The Nationalist stalwart had been heavily tipped to retain his seat – but SNP supporters’ confidence began to fade as votes for Conservative candidate Douglas Ross piled up.
Mr Lochhead secured 15,742 of the 33,421 ballots cast – earning him a comparatively slim majority of just 2,875.
In 2011 he powered to the top of the polls with a majority victory of 10,944.
Pundits believe the cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment faced a voter backlash after presiding over an IT bungle which has left the nation’s farmers millions of pounds out of pocket.
Conservative candidate, and Fochabers and Lhanbryde councillor, Douglas Ross capitalised on that controversy and won 12,867 votes.
Labour representative Sean Morton secured 3,547 votes while Liberal Democrat Jamie Paterson won 1,265.