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SNP’s Kate Forbes ‘surprised and taken aback’ by the size of her majority

An astonished Kate Forbes could hardly believe her vastly increased majority in her Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat.

She polled 24,192 , a clear 6,000 more than all her three opponents put together.

For the Tories, Jamie Halcro Johnston polled 8,331. In third place for the Lib Dems, serving Highland councillor Denis Rixson took 6,778, while Labour’s John Erskine languished with 3,855.

Ms Forbes, not long turned 31, could barely take in the size of her majority, more than 15,000 as she left the declaration hall, describing herself as surprised and taken aback to see an increase of that magnitude.

She said: “I feel quite honoured and quite moved after five years of serving the communities of this constituency, that they would not only put their trust in me but the my majority would increase.

“I’m quite overwhelmed by it.

“I feel the weight of the trust of the voters and want to redouble my efforts to represent people because it is quite an overwhelming increase in the majority, and I want people to feel that they can count on me to deliver for them.”

‘I love the people, I love the place’

The daughter of Dingwall is now being tipped as a first minister in the making, having shouldered the responsibility of stepping in to finance secretary Derek Mackay’s shoes after his shock resignation.

With barely a moment’s notice, she coolly delivered a Scottish budget worth billions.

That led to her being appointed as Scotland’s first female finance secretary, having previously been the first government minister born in the same decade that parliament was created.

But for now she is firmly rooted in the Highlands, telling her supporters after the count: “I love the people, I love the place, I love the culture of this place and I commit to redoubling my efforts to be your representative and advocate in the Scottish Parliament.”

Runner up Jamie Halcro Johnston said it had been a long and difficult campaign but he was pleased with the votes he had been able to garner.

Denis Rixson (LibDem) thanked the other candidates for their “good humoured and entirely cordial debates” which he described as one of the strengths of campaigning in the Highlands and islands.

Election Hub Live: Kate Forbes pledges action on rural housing crisis

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