THE Scottish Conservatives have blamed “tactical voting” for their loss in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election.

It comes after the party’s candidate Thomas Kerr lost his £500 deposit after failing to win 5% of the vote.

Just 3.9% of voters – 1192 people – backed Kerr while the SNP won 8399 votes and Labour picked up 17 845 votes.

However, a number of Scottish Tory MSPs have blamed the loss on “tactical voting”.

The National:

Writing on Twitter/X, MSP Stephen Kerr said: “Perhaps before getting too carried away re #RutherglenandHamiltonWest, there was clearly a v high level of tactical voting as a result of intense by election campaigning, such campaigning wont’ be repeatable in a general election.”

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland meanwhile, MSP Miles Briggs (below) said he was still optimistic about the results despite the defeat.

“When I was helping our candidate, from the conversations I had it was clear [tactical voting] was the motivation in this by-election – they wanted to make sure the SNP would not be returning an MP,” he told the BBC.

Briggs added that he thought an “SNP wipe-out” is within reach and that Unionist voters would push Labour or Tory candidates over the line.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack (below) meanwhile also reacted to the result, saying he would rather Kerr hadn’t lost his deposit but that the by-election was always a “two-horse race”.

The National: File photo dated 15/03/22 of Scottish Secretary Alister Jack who has said "It is not possible for the next general election to be a de facto referendum on Scottish independence." Issue date: Thursday July 7, 2022.

He told the PA news agency: “I am confident, very confident, we will increase our seats by a good number come the general election.

“We have to be realistic. These are parts of the central belt which have always been a battle between Labour and the SNP. And that’s just how politics works.

“Just as there are parts of the country that are a battle between the Conservatives and the SNP.”

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Jack added that his party “stands up for the strongest for the Union” and that the SNP’s loss showed voters “are fed up with a lack of delivery from the Scottish Government and their obsession with independence”.

We previously told how the Scottish Tory chair claimed Unionist voters will switch from Labour to the Tories just as Tory voters switched to Labour in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election.