THE SNP have achieved their highest ever share of the Holyrood vote amid increased turnout, sources say – but it may not be enough to secure a majority.

Senior party figures were last night celebrating seat gains in East Lothian, Ayr and Edinburgh Central after a day of counting in which it didn’t lose a single constituency.

But as the wins clocked up for the party after 14 years in government, observers continued to question whether or not they’d get the 65 seats needed to control the Scottish Parliament and make it easier to achieve its policy agenda.

In the morning, an SNP source told The National that “from our data, 64 [seats] is going to be easy to get to, 65 is harder but not impossible”.

By 8.30pm key personnel were expecting anything from 63 to 66 wins across both votes.

And as increased turnout was seen across the country, they also expected election officials to confirm the party has achieved its highest ever number of votes cast at a Scottish Parliament election.

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A source said: “This looks like the biggest endorsement of any party since the entry to the devolution era.”

Higher turnout, the insider said, is “great for democracy”, regardless of where those votes fall. They said: “Our job was to give people a reason to go out and vote SNP. We are going to finish well above 1 million votes.”

Another said: “Vote share numbers are going to be higher or at the top of our predictions.”

In the last week of campaigning, activists from the central belt and beyond said they were quietly confident after a campaign in which the party was seen to have driven home its “both votes SNP” message. But without an exit poll or extensive canvassing, campaigners said they were “not complacent” about their chances.

In North Lanarkshire yesterday morning, a senior activist said: “It all felt very positive yesterday. I’ve probably never experienced an election day as positive as that – toots and thumbs up and everything all day.

“In this area everybody’s been getting the same feedback. If there’s a swing against us, it’ll be the same swing for everyone.”

He went on: “It felt brilliant but at the same time I’m still shitting it.”

Later, the SNP’s Fulton MacGregor, Neil Gray and Clare Adamson were returned for three local constituencies, with the other one – where their colleague Jamie Hepburn is seeking re-election – still to be announced.

Local members were also confident in Renfrewshire before its two constituency seats were also announced as SNP victories. George Adam returns as Paisley MSP, while Natalie Don won Renfrewshire North and West, where the party’s vote share dipped by 1.4% after a year in which outgoing MSP Derek Mackay has attracted serious criticism for failing to attend parliament or hold surgeries.

A source said: “You never take anything for granted, and obviously the Derek thing didn’t help us, but we knew we’d run a good campaign. The party has run a good campaign nationally.”

That campaign, sources said, was given a last-minute boost by the viral video of Nicola Sturgeon addressing right-wing candidate Jayda Fransen in her Glasgow Southside constituency. The footage of Sturgeon calling Fransen a “fascist” and a “racist” was shared across social media.

An MSP candidate said: “It was brilliant the way she dealt with it – I got goosebumps watching it.

“She did really well and it might have pushed some people out to vote.”

However, there was disappointment for the SNP in their target Dumbarton and Dumfriesshire seats, which remained with Labour and Tories respectively.