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Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Smaller parties suffer at polls
Robin Harper
Robin Harper is one of two remaining Green MSPs
Scotland's smaller parties have taken a severe beating in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.

While their rise was one of the main stories of the last Holyrood poll, left-wingers Solidarity and the Scottish Socialists were wiped out.

The Scottish Greens, who won seven seats in the last parliament, have ended up with only two MSPs.

Several independent candidates also failed to make a return, as their vote was squeezed.

One of the most high-profile losses was firebrand socialist Tommy Sheridan, who failed to gain re-election for the Glasgow area after serving as an MSP for eight years.

Mr Sheridan, who formed Solidarity after splitting with the Scottish Socialists, won a high-profile libel victory over the News of the World newspaper last year after it printed allegations about his private life.

I'm going to start a new party for spoiled papers - I could end up as first minister
John Swinburne
SSCUP leader

"It wasn't enough and that's just life," said Mr Sheridan, who has vowed to make a return to Holyrood at the next election.

"There's no sour grapes. We fought a hard campaign, we had eight months in existence and we've certainly scored the largest Socialist vote in Glasgow."

Mr Sheridan's former MSP colleague, Rosemary Byrne, also failed to get in, but the Scottish Socialists fared no better, with leader Colin Fox and party colleagues Rosie Kane, Carolyn Leckie and Frances Curran failing to get back into Holyrood.

Despite his party being slashed in numbers, Scottish Green co-leader Robin Harper was re-elected for the Lothians region, along with Patrick Harvie in the Glasgow area.

Counts suspended

The party also fielded its first constituency candidate, coming third in Glasgow Kelvin, and saw councillors elected for the first time.

Mr Harper said: "I'm bitterly disappointed both for our activists and for my hard-working colleagues who have lost their seats.

"The rise of the SNP vote squeezed every other party to some extent, and I am also pleased that the Greens have avoided the wipe-out of the smaller parties.

"Patrick and I will continue to work hard in Parliament with MSPs of all parties to build consensus for real action on climate change and social justice."

John Swinburne, leader of the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party, was also out, but said he had "no complaints" after failing to win re-election to Holyrood.

"I've no axe to grind - I'll find something else to do," said Mr Swinburne, who stood on the Central Scotland list and in the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency.

Margo MacDonald
Margo MacDonald was returned in the Lothians

And following the technical problems which saw several counts suspended and up to 100,000 ballot papers spoilt, the 76-year-old Motherwell Football Club fan joked: "I'm going to start a new party for spoiled papers - I could end up as first minister."

Also out was Independent Campbell Martin, who stood in Cunninghame North, but came fourth.

He was thrown out of the SNP after criticising the then leader John Swinney.

Local health campaigner Jean Turner failed in her re-election bid for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, the seat instead going to Scottish Labour.

But the news was not all bad - veteran Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, one of parliament's most well-liked and colourful MSPs, was returned in the Lothians area.

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