The SNP’s clean sweep of Fife MPs was confirmed at 3.45am when Stephen Gethins was declared the winner in North East Fife.
Mr Gethins, a former special adviser to former First Minister Alex Salmond, overturned a seat previously regarded as safe for the Liberal Democrats and vacated by retiring MP Sir Menzies Campbell.
Thanking the staff and his fellow candidates for a “robust debate”, he paid tribute to outgoing MP Sir Ming who had been a “fine MP for North East Fife.”
He said he looked forward to continue representing the constituency well.
Speaking to The Courier, Mr Gethins said: “I’m really pleased. Delighted obviously. The SNP came from fourth in 2010 to take the seat.
“We’ve had a great team of SNP campaigners across North East Fife. They’ve been chapping doors and we’ve worked hard.
“There’s clearly an appetite. People want a strong voice for North East Fife and Scotland.
“I think it was positive ambition for what Scotland can be.
“People were promised something at the referendum. The Vow has not been delivered and it’s our job to go down there and make sure The Vow is delivered.”
Paying tribute to his own campaign team which had been “absolutely outstanding”, he said it was a “privilege of a lifetime” to be elected MP for North East Fife.
He added: “I am MP for the entire constituency and look forward to representing everyone in the entire constituency over the next five years.”
Referring to the wider seismic national vote, he said: “People in North East Fife, Fife and Scotland have spoken.”
The runner-up, Liberal Democrat Tim Brett, echoed praise for the election staff, campaign team and also recognised the role played by Sir Menzies Campbell over 28 years as an MP.
He congratulated Mr Gethins for fighting a “strong campaign”. He added: “I don’t think we could have done anything more. I am very proud of our campaign.”
Third placed Conservative Huw Bell also thanked the whole team and the police.
He said the Conservatives would fight the SNP positively, adding “We’ll be back!”
He told The Courier he was “frustrated” at Conservative voters who had voted tactically for the Lib Dems in an attempt to keep the SNP out.
Mr Bell said: “I feel we have been pushed into third place. I felt through the campaign we had momentum to be second. I firmly believe it’s been late decisions by a large number of Conservative voters to vote tactically (for Lib Dems) that has pushed us into third.
“I’m very disappointed. We ran a very positive campaign based on our party’s record in government, my background and our record in the local area.”
He added: “I’ve had fantastic feedback on the doorsteps but I’ve had a large number of constituents who’ve said to me ‘Huw, we really like you, we really like what your government is doing, we really want the Conservatives to stay in power, we want to vote for you, but we are really really scared about the SNP and are voting for the Lib Dems’. A lot of them said to me they don’t even like the candidate.”
Huw Bell (Conservative) 7373
Tim Brett (Liberal Democrat) 14179
Andy Collins (Greens) 1387
Stephen Gethins (SNP) 18523
Mike Scott-Hayward (independent) 325
Brian Thomson (Labour) 3476
Stephen Gethins wins with majority of 4344.
Electorate 62,003. Turnout 73.09%.