Tories 'extremely foolish' over election boasts, says Alex Salmond

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Nicola Sturgeon has played down the threat from the Conservatives in Scotland after Theresa May's party achieved their best local election results in the country in generations to push Labour into third place.

An SNP spokesman said: "The arrogant Tories can spin as much as they like, but the fact stands that the SNP won the election last week on a platform of protecting local services while Ruth Davidson's party obsessed over the constitution and were roundly beaten".

Labour also had a higher percentage of first preference votes than the SNP in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, up 1.65% percentage points, and was 0.91 percentage points higher in Lanark and Hamilton East.

Ms Davidson said: "I think you have seen in both language and design, the SNP attempt to assimilate the party for Scotland and Scotland for the party".

The SNP has lost its overall majority in Dundee, although it remains the largest party there with 14 councillors.

The Conservatives believe that they could take 15 seats, and have given the SNP good reason to fear the fate of some senior figures. I don't think it's right to compare this election with 2012.

The leader of the Labour group, Frank McAveety, held his seat, also in Shettelston, after 26 years but his role as council leader looks uncertain as the SNP still hopes to seize control of the city. "It's time to focus on this crucial general election campaign - and we can take absolutely nothing for granted", May will tell the event on Monday.

How major USA stock market indexes fared on Tuesday
Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, lost 17 cents to settle at 51.65 USA dollars (£39.98) a barrel in London. In the first few minutes of trade, the S&P 500 index hit 2,405.77, while the Nasdaq hit a record high of 6,160.82.

If the results of Thursday's polls in Wales, Scotland and 32 county councils in England were repeated nationally, the Conservatives would be on 38%, Labour 27%, the Lib Dems 18% and UKIP 5%, according to analysis by polling expert John Curtice.

The Greens and Conservatives made further gains as results for a further four wards were declared, with the former taking one seat and the latter two, while Labour gained five and the SNP secured six.

In one of the biggest shocks of the 2015 contest, the SNP's Roger Mullin achieved a huge 34.6% swing to win Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath with a near 10,000 majority. And the SNP have not had any difficulty increasing their vote in local by-elections during the last two years.

The results for each council were still coming in on Friday as, unlike the rest of the country, Scotland does not count overnight but instead started at 9am this morning.

"SNP MPs like Pete Wishart will be MPs that go to Westminster to stand up for Scotland, make Scotland's voice heard and protect Scotland's interests".

The election results showed the SNP in the ascendency, with the Tories and Labour "scrapping for second place", she said. By holding a vote this year, she'll avoid the pressure of a looming election when the Brexit talks are reaching their conclusion in 2019.

Labour polled 20.2% of first preference votes and are the largest party in three authorities: Inverclyde, Midlothian and East Lothian.