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Scottish energy minister loses seat after failing in bid to oust Tory

Former Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.
Former Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.

Scottish Government minister Paul Wheelhouse has failed to reclaim a seat in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Wheelhouse – the energy and islands minister in the last parliament – lost his bid to take Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire from Tory incumbent Rachael Hamilton by 18,564 to 11,701 votes.

Gains in other parts of the South Scotland region harmed the energy and islands minister’s chances on the regional list, with the SNP taking the East Lothian and Ayr seats from Labour and the Tories respectively.

Under Holyrood’s voting system, winning constituencies in a certain region harms the chances of a party also gaining seats on the corresponding regional list.

In the region, only Emma Harper was able to win a seat for the SNP, meaning MSPs Joan McAlpine and Mr Wheelhouse would not return.

In a tweet earlier in the day, Mr Wheelhouse appeared to accept his fate, saying he was hoping for the SNP to secure one list seat, but because he is third in the party’s ranking it may not go to him.

“Not expecting it will be good news personally given the fact I am third, but still hopeful we get at least one list MSP elected to cover our area,” he said.

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