Scotland's papers: Tories 'turn on May' and indyref election impact

Russell repeated First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's stance that the SNP would reflect on plans for a second independence referendum amid calls by the anti-independence parties for it to be taken off the table after the party lost 21 seats.

That is the key question hanging over Scottish politics in the wake of Thursday's election, in which the SNP lost almost two in five of the seats they were trying to defend.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond and the party's Commons leader Angus Robertson, Sturgeon's number two in the party, lost their seats to the Conservatives.

By contrast, the Scottish Conservatives fought this election as practically a single-issue campaign - the issue being their steadfast opposition to another independence referendum.

The United Kingdom election delivered a hung parliament.

Former Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said Ms Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell, must be replaced as the SNP's chief executive.

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Davidson, whose colorful humor and approachability has won her many fans, notched up the Conservatives' best result since 1983 north of the border.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Neil said: "Our demand for indyref2 was way ahead of its time and should only have been pursued once it was clear a majority of Scots actually want independence".

While pleased on a personal level, he said more importantly, the "sea change" Scottish result would stop a second independence referendum "in its tracks".

If the SNP lost seats in Westminster, she reasoned, it would seriously undermine Miss Sturgeon's claim to have a mandate to run Scotland, where her party has no overall majority.

Ruth Wishart in The Guardian agrees with the First Minister's assessment, saying the result was more "generally attributed to the Corbyn factor rather than Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale, who opposed his election".

Meanwhile, there is much more life in the SNP's political opponents. The three pro-UK parties had won just one seat each the last time around.

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Newspapers said foreign minister Boris Johnson and other leading party members were weighing leadership challenges. But the Tories are left with few options after failing to reach a majority in Thursday's election.

The SNP is expected to remain Britain's third-largest party, giving Sturgeon the chance to seek a "progressive alliance" with Labour to lock May's Conservative Party out of government.

Scotland was one of the few territories which yielded success for the Conservatives at the General Election, with the Tories securing 12 new seats for a total of 13 Westminster MPs.

In an address following the election, Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the role of the Labour leader in the SNP's demise.

"I think we can have a tremendous amount of leverage".

Whether their willingness to remain part of the European Union would be a strong enough argument to trigger a separation from the United Kingdom remained uncertain, however, when Sturgeon launched the new referendum attempt last summer.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said her new MPs will be firm opponents of a second independence referendum.

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