Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon on 8 May held out the possibility of a new independence referendum – but not immediately – after her party's crushing victory north of the border in a British national election.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) obliterated its opponents, taking 56 of Scotland's 59 seats in the Westminster parliament. The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats could muster only one seat each.

This marked a spectacular gain from the six seats the SNP won in the last UK election in 2010.

But with the Conservatives securing victory across Britain overall to stay in power, a wide divide has opened up between England and Scotland.

Sturgeon described the result as ''historic'' and said the ''Tectonics plates of Scottish politics shifted yesterday".

"This is a massive, massive result, we saw some swings that haven't been seen before in the history of Westminster politics. Clearly, there is an appetite to change in Scotland and there is a very, very strong desire for Scotland's voice to be heard more loudly, and that's the job of these 56 SNP MPs who are heading to the House of Commons,'' she added.

She said the SNP will continue to put campaigning against austerity imposed by a Tory government at "the top of their agenda".

Scottish independence take two on its way?

The results from the election immediately put the question of another referendum on Scottish independence at the forefront of minds north and south of the border.

Sturgeon, basking in the triumph on, repeated her words from the election campaign that independence was not the immediate priority. But she signalled battles ahead with the Conservatives.

She said: "This election was not about another referendum. I'm not going to start speculating about what might or might not happen in the future. We will in the House of Commons vote against an in/out EU referendum, if there is going to be one.

"We will seek to ensure that there is what is called a double-majority rule, so that Scotland couldn't be taken outside the European Union against its will. So we will seek to use the substantial influence we now have in the House of Commons. We're the third-biggest party in the House of Commons. We will seek to use that influence to get policies which are in Scotland's best interest."

Despite Sturgeon's words, her opponents say the SNP's aim is to push for a second referendum.

Not all SNP voters are pro-independence, though, and polls show the sentiment on that issue has not changed much since the 2014 referendum.

Bad news for Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander

The SNP rampage ousted the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, Jim Murphy, from parliament and took former prime minister Gordon Brown's one-time stronghold in Kirkcaldy.

Labour's UK campaign chief Douglas Alexander lost his seat to a 20-year-old politics student, the SNP's Mhairi Black, the youngest British member of parliament since the 17th century.

The SNP will be shut out of any role in the British government. It had hoped to play kingmaker in a leftist alliance with Labour to force Cameron out. Labour had ruled out a deal before the election but failed to win enough seats anyway to make that an option.

Sturgeon said she was ''disappointed by a Tory government but attacked Labour's poor result in England.

She said: "Labour wasn't strong enough to beat the Conservatives in England. We have seen the shadow chancellor lose his seat. Labour's vote is barely up, they've failed to take key seats that they needed to take to be in contention to be the next government. The fact we're heading for another Conservative government is nothing to do with what happened in Scotland, it's everything to do with the fact Labour isn't strong enough in England."