Scottish National Party wins 4th term just short of overall majority

A number of former MPs have won seats in the Holyrood election

Mark Scates via SNS Group A number of former MPs have won seats in the Holyrood election Mark Scates via SNS Group

"The only people who can decide the future of Scotland are the Scottish people, and no Westminster politician can or should stand in the way of that", Sturgeon told BBC TV.

Sturgeon has said her first priority will be to lead the country out of the coronavirus pandemic but independence has remained front of mind for the 50-year-old politician, "it looks as if it is beyond any doubt that there will be a pro-independence majority in that Scottish Parliament and by any normal standard of democracy that majority should have the commitments it made to the people of Scotland honored, " Sturgeon said.

Other results from Super Thursday's array of elections across Britain emerged Saturday, including the Labour Party's victory in the Welsh parliamentary election.

"This is now a matter of fundamental democratic principle", Sturgeon said.

Sturgeon argued that the Brexit vote changed circumstances and Scotland should not be dragged out of the European Union against its will.

Johnson said the vote was "very encouraging" for his government, while Starmer said he was "bitterly disappointed".

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result meant she would push ahead with plans for a second independence referendum once the COVID-19 pandemic was over, adding that it would be absurd and outrageous if Johnson were to try to ignore the democratic will of the people.

"You'll have Nicola Sturgeons saying, "I won the election, I now have a mandate to hold a second referendum" and Boris Johnson saying, 'Well, I'm not giving you one, it's too soon, you didn't win well enough'".

Sturgeon, who comfortably defeated Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar to claim Glasgow Southside, said afterwards her initial focus would be "to get back to work to steer the country through the crisis and into recovery". However, should Sturgeon force the issue, Johnson would have to appeal to the UK Supreme Court to block the move.

"I couldn't think of a more powerful argument for independence than that", she said.

Britons went to the polls Thursday for a number of regional elections, but the counting has been slower in part because of pandemic-related restrictions.

A similar invitation to the summit was being sent to Northern Ireland's first minister and deputy first minister, Mr Johnson said.

So far the elections in England have been largely positive for Johnson's Conservatives, notably its victory in a special election in the post-industrial town of Hartlepool for a parliamentary seat that the main opposition Labour Party had held since 1974.

The last time voters went to the polls in the United Kingdom was in 2019, as elections were postponed previous year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For Labour's new leader, Keir Starmer, the Hartlepool result was a huge disappointment and has led to another bout of soul-searching in a party that in 2019 suffered its worst general election performance since 1935. He secured 55.2% of the vote once second preference votes were counted, beating his Conservative rival Shaun Bailey got 44.8%.

The Conservatives' Andy Street, meanwhile, was reelected as mayor of the West Midlands, which includes the city of Birmingham.

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