COUNTING is now underway in the Scottish Parliament election, with the constituencies of Renfrewshire North & West and Paisley expected to declare later today.

Votes are being totted up at Braehead Arena, in Renfrew, for Renfrewshire’s three constituencies and the West Scotland region over the next two days.

The final results are expected to emerge at some point on Saturday evening.

The Gazette:

More than 200 staff are supporting the count in various roles, with enhanced Covid-19 health and safety measures in place to ensure a safe environment for everyone attending.

Votes in 46 of the 73 constituency seats in Scotland began being counted at around 9am, with the first results expected in the afternoon.

It is anticipated all 46 should be declared by Friday evening.

The Gazette:

From around 9am on Saturday, the remaining 27 constituency seats - including Renfrewshire South - will be counted, after which the regional seats will be allocated.

This year’s election, while conducted under the constraints of coronavirus rules, is considered to be one of the most important since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

With the SNP set for another five years in government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will no doubt ramp up the pressure on Westminster to grant the powers for another vote on Scottish independence.

The Gazette:

Her opponents in the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have stressed the importance of focusing on Scotland’s recovery from coronavirus instead.

But the SNP leader and her party have said no referendum will be held until after the immediate health crisis is over, and they insist powers gained through independence would actually improve the recovery in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon has said another pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, including the Greens and Alba Party seats, should be enough to let Scots vote again on whether they want to leave the UK.

The Gazette:

Make sure to follow The Gazette online as we bring you latest coverage of the results and reaction from the election over the next two days.