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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
New faces gain as Labour lose seats
Vote counting
Most of the votes have now been counted

Independent candidates and the smaller parties were the big winners on a night of election drama in Scotland.

Of the parliament's 129 seats Labour have 50 seats, the SNP 27, the Liberal Democrats 17, the Tories 18 the Greens seven, six seats were held by the Scottish Socialists and four by independents.

It was a night of disappointment for the Scottish National Party, which was expected to lose a total of eight seats as it saw its share of the vote fall.

The Tories won three first-past-the-post seats - although it was still expected to end up with 18 seats, the same as the party gained in 1999.

Hospital closure

However, the big winners were the Scottish Socialists, the Greens and independent candidates.

Retired GP Jean Turner recorded the first big shock of the night when she unseated Labour MSP Brian Fitzpatrick in Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

The independent candidate was campaigning against the closure of Stobhill Hospital.

Dr Jean Turner
Dr Jean Turner campaigned against a hospital closure

The results of the first regional list in Glasgow saw gains for both the Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens, which also picked up a list seat in Mid Scotland and Fife.

And John Swinburne was elected as an MSP for the Scottish Senior Citizens' Unity Party on the regional list for Central Scotland.

There was also an upset in Edinburgh Pentlands, where Tory leader David McLetchie toppled former Enterprise Minister Iain Gray.

The Conservatives increased their number of first-past-the post seats from one to three.

John Scott fought off Labour's challenge in the seat he secured in a by-election, while Alex Fergusson defeated sitting Scottish National Party MSP Alasdair Morgan with a majority of 99.

Socialists

There were mixed results for the SNP, which failed to take key seats in Dundee West and Glasgow Govan.

However, the party captured Ochil, Dundee East and Aberdeen North.

Labour lost seven first-past-the-post seats from its showing in 1999, although the Ayr constituency had already been lost in 2000.

The other loss came in Edinburgh South, where Liberal Democrat Mike Pringle secured a majority of 158 over former finance minister Angus Mackay.

John Swinney
SNP leader John Swinney was returned as an MSP

In Falkirk West, independent candidate Dennis Canavan held onto the seat with a majority of 10,000 over the Scottish National Party.

And on the Lothian list, Margo MacDonald scored a stunning individual victory.

The former Nationalist MSP, who quit the SNP after she was effectively deselected by the party, said she hoped her election, as well as that of other independents and the growth of minority parties, would herald a new era in Scottish politics.

Hamilton South was the first constituency in Scotland to declare at 2317 BST, less than an hour and 20 minutes after the ballot had ended.

Labour's Tom McCabe secured the seat with 9,546 votes, a 46.53% share of the poll.

The leaders of the other three main parties were re-elected as MSPs.

Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan failed to win the first-past-the post seat in Glasgow Pollok.

However, he and party colleague Rosie Kane were elected on the regional list for Glasgow.

The party have picked up four other list MSPs bringing their total to six.

There were predictions that the party could win up to seven seats in total, while the Greens could pick up as many as five seats.

The Greens celebrated success as party leader Robin Harper was joined by colleague Mark Ballard, taking their contingent up to seven.

However, fears of a low turnout were borne out as only 48% of voters cast their ballot on Thursday.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"The SNP lost nearly a third of their MSP's"



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