Tory group overtakes Labour in Scotland

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Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has called on Nicola Sturgeon to rule out another referendum on independence after the Scottish Conservatives became the second-largest party at Holyrood.

At a press conference in Edinburgh, Ms Davidson said the SNP leader now had “no mandate, no majority and no cause” to hold another vote on the issue, and any claims to the contrary had been “utterly shredded”.

Ms Davidson was speaking after the Tories recorded their best-ever Holyrood result by securing 31 MSPs to overtake Labour while the SNP took 63 of the 129 seats, failing to win a second overall majority.

Among the party’s major gains was Ms Davidson winning the Edinburgh Central constituency from the SNP and deputy leader Jackson Carlaw taking the Eastwood constituency on the outskirts of Glasgow from Labour’s Ken Macintosh.

The move came as Nicola Sturgeon announced she will lead a minority Scottish Government after securing a “clear and unequivocal mandate” in the elections.

Speaking on the steps of Bute House, Ms Sturgeon said: “With such a large group of MSPs elected, I don’t intend to seek any formal arrangement with any other parties.”

With no overall majority at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon will need the support of other parties to secure her place as First Minister and to pass legislation.