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The results of the 1 May 2003 election to the Scottish parliament, the second to take place since the devolution of Scotland were as follows:-

Labour are clearly the largest party in the Scottish parliament, as they were in 1999, but have no overall majority, so Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell looks likely to have to enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats again. The 1999 coalition brought the end of tuition fees for university students in Scotland and free health care for pensioners in Scotland. This time the Lib Dems price looks like to be proportional representation for local government elections. The benefits of the proportional system for the Liberals and all other parties in Scotland are clear - if this election had been conducted on the first past the post basis of UK General Elections then Labour would have held 46 out of 73 seats and would be able to form a government by themselves.

The big losers of the election were the Scottish Nationalists, with a sizeable decrease in votes although they did gain some seats from Labour in Aberdeen and Dundee. The Lib Dems and the Conservatives vote both remain stabilised, but the Conservative managed to win some seats of their own this time, notably David McLetchie's win in Edinburgh Pentlands, meaning they no longer have to rely on the top-up lists.

The biggest gains were made by the SSP and the Green party. The SSP, led by Tommy Sheridan have now proved themselves to be a true force in Scottish politics and their inclusion should liven up reports from the Parliament somewhat. The Green party did even better, but have not gained as most coverage for their successes, this is mainly due to their tactic of not fielding any candidates in individual constituencies and concentrating their efforts in gaining the 'second vote' in the party list. Both these parties benefited from the low turnout (around 50%) and the trend of the loss of faith in 'conventional politicians' from the four 'major' parties. There is also evidence that the voters are becoming more sophisticated in the use of their second vote. In the safe Labour areas of the central belt, where Labour easily win most of the individual constituencies, there was a notable decrease in Labour votes in the party list.

They was also success for the independent candidates. Dennis Canavan, the former Labour MP who was deselected from his Falkirk constituency in 1999, won his constituency as an independent again, maintaining the highest majority (10,000) in the land. More surprisingly the former Nationalist MSP Margo McDonald won a seat on the Lothian party list as an independent, McDonald, who fell out with the SNP leadership, has been a strong critic of the rapidly escalating cost of the new parliament building in Holyrood. A retired GP, Jean Turner also won as an independent in the Strathkelvin and Bearsden constituency, campaigning against proposed cut-backs to the local hospital. Finally John Swinburne, commercial manager of Motherwell football club and SSCU candidate, won a top-up seat, pledging to battle pensioner poverty.


Breakdown of results:

Central Scotland

Labour 9 (0 top-up)
SNP 3 (3 top-up)
Ind (Dennis Canavan) 1 (0 top-up)
Conservative 1 (1 top-up)
SSP 1 (1 top-up)
SSCU 1 (1 top-up)
Lib Dem 1 (1 top-up)

Glasgow

Labour 10 (0 top-up)
SNP 2 (2 top-up)
SSP 2 (2 top-up)
Conservative 1 (1 top-up)
Lib Dem 1 (1 top-up)
Green 1 (1 top-up)

Highlands and Islands

Lib Dem 5 (0 top-up)
SNP 4 (2 top-up)
Labour 3 (2 top-up)
Conservative 2 (2 top-up)
Green 1 (1 top-up)

Lothians

Labour 6 (0 top-up)
Lib Dem 2 (0 top-up)
Conservative 2 (1 top-up)
SNP 2 (2 top-up)
Green 2 (2 top-up)
Ind (Margo MacDonald) 1 (1 top-up)
SSP 1 (1 top-up)

Mid Scotland and Fife

Labour 5 (0 top-up)
SNP 5 (2 top-up)
Conservative 3 (3 top-up)
Lib Dem 2 (1 top-up)
Green 1 (1 top-up)

North East Scotland

SNP 5 (1 top-up)
Labour 4 (2 top-up)
Lib Dem 3 (0 top-up)
Conservative 3 (3 top-up)
Green 1 (1 top-up)

South of Scotland

Labour 5 (0 top-up)
Conservative 4 (2 top-up)
SNP 3 (3 top-up)
Lib Dem 2 (0 top-up)
Green 1 (1 top-up)
SSP 1 (1 top-up)

West of Scotland

Labour 8 (0 top-up)
SNP 3 (3 top-up)
Conservative 2 (2 top-up)
Ind (Jean Turner) 1 (0 top-up)
Lib Dem 1 (1 top-up)
SSP 1 (1 top-up)

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