As a result, it could present a particularly strong challenge to the SNP in such key seats as Moray, now held by Angus Robertson, and Perth, where the incumbent is Pete Wishart. It means that in this seat, as in many others, it is a two-horse race between us and the Nationalists. It also went from first to second place in Aberdeenshire. Scottish Conservatives even have their first ever councillor in the Western Isles.
"There's no question the Tory vote is on the increase and therefore we have to galvanise the SNP support", he told Press Association Scotland. "To show that we, the Scottish Conservatives, can lead Scotland's fightback against the SNP".
She said: "The council elections showed people are turning away from the SNP, because they are fed up with the Nationalists' attempt to force another divisive referendum".
Blair McDougall, a key figure on the pro-union side during the 2014 independence referendum, will aim to win the seat from the SNP's Kirsten Oswald, who ousted former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in 2015.
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party faced a challenge on a "historic scale" to win back power, but insisted he could close the gap on the Tories. "It is only by working flat-out, every day, from now to 8 June that we can gain the trust of the British people and earn their support on polling day".
But she also stressed: "Equally, if our colleagues in the Greens, who have done well in this election, if they would like to be able to make a formal contribution we're up for having that conversation with them".
"Voters across Scotland will take a dim view of arrogant Tories taking them for granted".
A total of 1,889,658 valid votes were cast on Thursday with turnout increasing to 46.9%, the highest for a local election not held on the same day as a national poll in Scotland since 1977. "We will not be a government that presides over food bank Britain or asks teachers to go on the school gates and collect funds to pay the teachers' wages", he said. The SNP's success in ending Labour's control of Glasgow City Council was matched by an eight-point increase in support across the city.
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"And it was in the north-east where the Conservatives - whose tally was up by 12 points across Scotland as a whole, enough to put them five points ahead of Labour - registered their biggest advances". On May 4th, vote Scottish Labour.
Sturgeon rejected the suggestion that the SNP's share of votes indicated it would struggle to achieve a majority in a future independence referendum, insisting the two contests were not comparable.
"In places such as Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, East Lothian, Inverclyde, Fife and elsewhere, the Tories are in a distant third place".
She is expected to say: "Theresa May's extraordinary attacks on our European partners demonstrate that an unchecked Tory government is prepared to pursue a chaotic hard Brexit if it is in the interests of the Tory Party, whatever the cost to Scotland".
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And although the SNP's share of the first preference vote may have held steady across Scotland as a whole as compared with 2012, it has not held up everywhere.
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