VOTERS have “sent a message” to Boris Johnson as Tories suffer losses in ScotlandSNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said.

The Conservative vote share in several wards across Scotland has dropped by more than 10%. One Scottish Tory frontbencher described the early results as “disappointing”, saying the partygate scandal was partly to blame.

Speaking to the BBC, Blackford said: “The important story from Scotland is the fact that the Tories are being rejected. Their vote is down and I think what really is important today is that the voters have sent a message to Boris Johnson.

“I think there’s two things that count; one is of course the cost-of-living crisis – more needs to be done, and the other issue is partygate.

“I think people in Scotland have made it very clear that they want no more of this from Boris Johnson and his Conservatives.”

READ MORE: Former Tory tells Douglas Ross to 'own' failure instead of blaming Boris Johnson

He added that voters had sent a “very clear message” and “we can celebrate the fact that the Tories have got the message that we expected”.

Speaking to the PA news agency from the election count in Edinburgh, Scottish Tory frontbencher Miles Briggs said: “We knew it was going to be challenging, we’ve known that for a couple of weeks now. I’m personally disappointed with the results which have come in so far.

“Some seats which we won five years ago we are now holding, which is really good to see.

“There’s some good news but it’s really disappointing."

READ MORE: Senior Tory councillor loses seat after meeting with ultra-Unionist group revealed

He continued:  “From the work I did yesterday [Thursday] with my activists here in Edinburgh, it’s quite clear that people weren’t going to go to vote.

“They were protesting voting by not going to any other party, or when they’ve gotten their postal votes they hadn’t returned them and put them in the bin.

“It has depended on how people want to send a message. You either go and vote for someone else or you don’t vote at all.”

When asked if partygate had impacted Tory support, Briggs said: “Yes I think that’s part of it. You can’t deny that and I think speaking to people yesterday they certainly weren’t happy with the actions of the Prime Minster and his team.”

READ MORE: Ultra-Unionists take seat from Tories in major upset for Douglas Ross

However, the Tory said he “thoroughly expects” incumbent Tory councillors in Edinburgh to be returned.

“We will lick our wounds and move on,” he added. “Let’s look back five years ago, that was a tremendous election and one of the most exciting elections I’ve been involved in with the Conservatives.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has been re-elected – but the SNP councillor fell behind Greens candidate Holly Bruce in first preference votes in the Langside ward.

Scottish Labour has taken overall control of West Dunbartonshire Council – unseating a minority SNP administration.

The party returned 12 councillors, four more than the previous vote, compared to nine SNP councillors – a drop of one.

After the 2017 election, no party held a majority in any local authority area in Scotland.

READ MORE: Women end male-only rule on council with wins for SNP

Elsewhere, Shetland Islands Council became the first to declare all of its wards, with 19 independents, one SNP, one Scottish Labour and one Scottish Green elected.

South of the Border, the Prime Minister admitted the Tories endured a “tough night”.

The Prime Minister said that he took full responsibility for the results as Labour strengthened its grip on London and the Liberal Democrats also made gains at the Conservatives’ expense.

However, he faced a growing backlash from local Tories who blamed continuing public anger over lockdown parties in Downing Street for the losses.

One Conservative MP publicly warned it may require a change of leadership if the Government was to rebuild the trust of voters.

Sir Keir Starmer, meanwhile, hailed a “turning point” for Labour as they took the totemic Tory authority in Wandsworth, won Westminster for the first time since its creation in 1964 and clinched victory in Barnet.

David Simmonds, the Tory MP for neighbouring Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, said the issue of lockdown rule-breaking in Downing Street had kept coming up on the doorstep.

“He [Johnson] needs to find a way to restore confidence in the Government and I think there’s a number of ways he might do that,” he told the PA news agency.

“A change of leader would be one of them. Alternatively he needs to demonstrate what the alternative plan would be.”

Johnson could face a leadership challenge if 53 Tory MPs – 15% of the parliamentary party – write to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, calling for vote of no confidence.

Some MPs who previously called for him to step down have since backed off amid the crisis in Ukraine, but the results may prompt a new round of soul-searching within the party.

Among grassroots Tories there was anger and frustration that local councillors were paying the price for what they said were the failures of the national leadership.

John Mallinson, leader of Carlisle City Council, hit out after Labour took control of the new Cumberland authority which will replace it.

He told the BBC: “I think it is not just partygate, there is the integrity issue.

“Basically I just don’t feel people any longer have the confidence that the Prime Minister can be relied upon to tell the truth.”