NOW that a few days have passed since the General Election and those of us involved in campaigning have had the opportunity to catch up on some sleep, there is time to reflect on the result.

For us locally here, I am of course delighted to see us return a SNP MP, John Nicholson, to Westminster, who will be a strong voice for constituents across the Wee County.

We have really missed that SNP representation since 2017, necessary to challenge and hold to account a toxic Tory Government that has overseen the rollout of the disastrous Universal Credit, introduced callous welfare reforms and forced many here locally into poverty.

More generally, the SNP won an incredible 80 per cent of the seats across the country – a ringing endorsement of our positive message of putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, protecting our NHS from a Trump trade deal and escaping a damaging Tory Brexit.

Being an elected representative is a privilege, and your SNP representatives work hard to earn your trust, however you vote, both in opposition at Westminster and in government at Holyrood.

Those voices are more important than ever, with the Labour party collapsing across the UK, handing the Tories a large majority.

We are now at a fork in the road. It could not be clearer that Scotland and the rest of the UK want different futures.

It was clear after the EU referendum in 2016, the EU election earlier this year and it was emphatically confirmed last week.

The Tories fought their election on getting Brexit done and here in Scotland that message was roundly rejected.

But despite having no mandate here, we know that the Tories will continue to ignore the people of Scotland and press on towards dragging Scotland out of the EU against our will.

Following the election result, the Tories can pass any Brexit deal they choose, inevitably one that damages jobs and incomes and undermines your rights, while bending over backwards to get a bargain basement trade deal with Trump, offering up our NHS as a sweetener.

All those years of work put into making Scotland a more progressive and equal country are now at risk, ready to be undone by a government that Scotland did not vote for.

That is why it is so clear that the people of Scotland must be given a choice over their future.

A choice between being trapped in a dysfunctional union determined to cut Scotland off from the world or a future as an independent and equal member of the European Union.

Anyone wary of the size of an independent Scotland within the EU need look no further than the way Ireland has been supported by the rest of the EU throughout Brexit, compared to the way the Westminster system has treated Scotland.

For me, and for increasing larger numbers of Scots, it is simple. We must have that choice.

The takeaway from this election result is that the people of Scotland have spoken – it is time to decide our own future.