Nicola Sturgeon commenting on the election results said:
When the SNP first entered government back in 2007, we secured just one more seat than the Labour Party.
Few people back then could have predicted that 14 years on, the SNP would be re-elected for a fourth consecutive term as Scotland’s government.
And absolutely no-one then would have predicted the sheer scale and record-breaking nature of our victory at this election.
We have won 62 constituency seats – a record number and an incredible 85% of the total.
We haven’t just held on to every constituency we won in 2016 – we’ve also gained seats from both Labour and the Tories.
And while the constituency vote shares of Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems are all down, the SNP has recorded our best ever share of the constituency vote.
Indeed, we have won more votes and a higher share of the votes in the constituency ballot than any party in the history of devolution.
This election result is – by any standard – an extraordinary and historic achievement.
We took our positive message of hope and recovery to every corner of the country, and it has been endorsed emphatically by the Scottish people.
My heartfelt thanks go to all those in the SNP who worked so hard in such difficult circumstances to make all of this possible.
I also send my warm congratulations to successful candidates from all parties and of course my commiserations to those who lost out.
I know – from personal experience – how tough that is.
But most of all I want to thank the people of Scotland for putting their trust in me and in the SNP once again.
We will work to repay that trust every day.
Over these past 14 years, the make-up of the Scottish electorate has changed.
16- and 17-year olds can now vote, and seeing so many of our young people engaged and energised inspires real hope for the future.
And in this election, for the very first time, foreign nationals and refugees also had the right to vote – a tangible symbol of the inclusive country we are.
On Thursday morning in my own constituency, I met with Syrian refugees who had just cast their first vote in Scotland.
It was a deeply emotional moment for them – and as a country it should make us proud.
But my message today is for all of Scotland and it is this –
Wherever you are from, whatever age you are, whatever your background – and no matter who you voted for – the SNP in government is dedicated to working hard for you.
I pledge that the task of building a better Scotland for everyone who lives here will be my priority every single day.
As First Minister, my immediate and over-riding task will be to everything I can to keep people as safe as possible.
While we are making real and positive progress, we have not yet beaten COVID.
In this election I said tackling the pandemic must come first and I meant it.
I will be returning to work straight away to take the decisions that will guide our next steps back to normality, and onto recovery.
In this election, the SNP put forward an ambitious and transformative programme to kick-start and drive recovery.
We will now get on with the job of delivering that programme.
It means –
The remobilisation of our NHS, coupled with the investment it needs to secure it for the figure.
A new National Care Service.
Investment to support new, green jobs and reskill people for the jobs of the future.
A Youth Guarantee to secure opportunities for our young people.
Action to tackle the climate emergency and ensure a just transition.
More houses, better schools and an unwavering commitment to lifting children out of poverty.
The policy programme we put before the people of Scotland will move our country forward and make it better – of that I have no doubt.
But while we have obviously focussed this weekend on our own election results, the results south of the border reveal an important truth about Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The majority of people in Scotland back a progressive, inclusive, outward looking vision for the future of our nation.
And yet we are facing many more years of right-wing Brexit-obsessed Tory governments that we don’t vote for, taking us in a direction we haven’t chosen.
And that brings into sharp focus the key question we posed at this election – how do we best secure the kind of country we want to build?
And it is why – just as we said in the election – the people in Scotland must have the right to decide our own future when the Covid crisis has passed.
This is now a matter of fundamental democratic principle.
Already today, I hear opposition parties – and some commentators – talking about what they call “SNP demands” for an independence referendum.
They are desperately trying to rewrite the basic rules of democracy and redefine what constitutes an election win and a mandate.
And I hear about Boris Johnson refusing to give in to these demands.
And what supposedly clever manoeuvres Westminster might be planning.
All of this treats voters in Scotland as if they simply don’t matter – like they are just a side-show.
But voters are not a side-show.
You – not me or Boris Johnson – are the people who matter.
And so, let’s be clear about what Scotland voted for on Thursday.
The people of Scotland have voted to give pro-independence parties a majority in the
The SNP and Scottish Greens both stood on a clear commitment to an independence referendum within the next Parliamentary term.
And both of us said that the timing of a referendum should be decided by a simple majority of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.
So, in no way is a referendum just demand of me or the SNP.
It is a commitment made to the people by a majority of the MSPs who will take their seats in our national parliament next week.
Usually – and by the normal standards of democracy – parties are expected to deliver on the commitments they make in elections, not face attempts to block them from doing so.
Given the outcome of this election, there is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future.
If there is such an attempt it will demonstrate conclusively that the UK is not a partnership of equals and that – astonishingly – Westminster no longer sees the UK as a voluntary union of nations.
That in itself would be a very powerful argument for independence.
Holding a referendum of course does not mean that Scotland will automatically become independent.
That will be a choice for the people of Scotland.
The task for those of us who support independence is to patiently persuade our fellow citizens of the case, and that is what the SNP intends to do.
So, let me set out the task ahead – for me and your re-elected SNP government.
First and foremost, it is lead Scotland through the pandemic and to keep people safe.
That will be my focus when I return to my desk.
It is then to kick-start and drive our recovery with an ambitious and transformative programme for government.
And, yes, when the crisis has passed, it is to give people in Scotland the right to choose their future.
All of that is what I promised and all of that is what I intend to deliver.
But first, I am getting back to work to lead the country through and out of this Covid crisis.
Thank you for the trust you have once again placed in me.
I promise to serve you with integrity, energy and an unwavering commitment to building the better Scotland we all know is possible.