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Douglas Ross: Scottish Conservative leader will serve as both MP and MSP after securing list seat

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is now both MP and regional list MSP after results for the eight Highlands and Islands constituencies were confirmed.

The Highlands and Islands were the first in Scotland to declare their list results on Saturday.

Under the complex D’Hondt formula, Mr Ross is joined by fellow Scottish Conservatives Edward Mountain, Donald Cameron and Jamie Halcro Johnston, all incumbent MSPs.

The remaining three list seats went to Rhoda Grant (Scottish Labour), Ariane Burgess (Scottish Greens) and SNP Inverness Central councillor Emma Roddick.

‘Our best ever’

Mr Ross said: “Today is the best ever result for the Scottish Conservatives in this region.

“I was elected as an MSPĀ  five years ago with two other colleagues and at that time.

“That was our best ever result and five years on I am joined by three colleagues.

“This region is so important to me.

“I have lived here my entire life and I’m delighted to be returned again to represent this diverse and wonderful part of Scotland.

“Forty-four per cent of the landmass of Scotland, a huge number of different islands and communities all seeking something different from their elected politicians.

Douglas Ross at the count at the Inverness Leisure Hall.
Douglas Ross at the count at the Inverness Leisure Hall.

“We’ve had six weeks of extremely competitive and at times divisive debate.

“But I believe now that people are looking for their MSPs to work together, to show the same unity that people across the country have shown in coming through the worst of this pandemic so far, and look towards our recovery as a country.

“Democracy has won because the turnout for this Scottish parliament election is the highest ever.

“And whatever people’s individual choices, the fact that so many came out and did their democratic duty to vote in this election is encouraging and something we can all welcome.”

Mr Ross said he would not stand down as an MP.

He added: “It’s been done before and it is advantageous to have a presence in Westminster and Holyrood.”

Edward Mountain said he had found it challenging in the past five years dealing with all the requests for help as an MSP.

“Mainly on matters to do with health, education and infrastructure. And I pledge to those people that voted for me and for my party that in the next five years that will be the focus of my attention, resolving the issues that people face every day as part of their lives.

“I will not be deflected by other matters in relation to politics because those issues are the things that are important.”

Rhoda Grant for Scottish Labour accepting her list seat in Inverness. Picture by Jason Hedges

Rhoda Grant (Scottish Labour), an MSP for the Highlands and Islands since 1999 chose the moment to pay tribute to retiring colleague MSP David Stewart.

“I’d like to point out the work that he did for the region, and it’s a privilege for me to continue to do that work.

“We love the area that we serve and I hope to continue that work, serving the Highlands and islands, taking the issues in our region to Holyrood and fighting for a better deal for the area.”

Scottish Greens Ariane Burgess becomes a list MSP. Picture by Jason Hedges

Ariane Burgess (Scottish Greens) pledged to keep the pressure on the government over the climate and nature emergencies, and over rural depopulation.

“I am absolutely committed to working with communities across the region to ensure that we turn that around and we make this region a place where young people can stay, where they don’t feel homeless and they don’t feel that they have to leave to the cities.”

Emma Roddick (SNP) takes her list seat after a difficult year personally. Picture by Jason Hedges

SNP councillor for Inverness Central, Emma Roddick receives her list seat after a tough year personally after losing her mother to Covid.

“back in 2020, which was a terrible year for many of us I would never have expected to have been standing up in front of you today getting ready to serve the beautiful, diverse region that I love so much, and I certainly wouldn’t have expected to have been doing this without my mother watching.

“So I want to thank my little sister Sophie for being so supportive when I became a candidate in a really difficult time for both of us after I lost my mother to Covid in January.

“The pandemic has had so many serious effects on the region including inflicting personal losses on so many of us, damaging mental health and unexpectedly plunging countless working people into poverty.

“So I will get to work immediately to support individuals, businesses and the NHS in the region as we begin our recovery.”

The turnout for the Highlands and Islands Regional list was 66.1%.

The winners were: Conservative: Douglas Ross, Edward Mountain, Donald Cameron, Jamie Halcro Johnston; Labour: Rhoda Grant; Greens: Ariane Burgess; SNP: Emma Roddick.

Scottish Election 2021: Track the results live

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