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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Labour tops Scotland's Euro poll
Party leaders listen to the counts being declared in Edinburgh
Party leaders listen to the counts being declared in Edinburgh
Labour has held off the challenge from its rivals in the European election.

It won two seats as did the Tories and the Scottish National Party while the Liberal Democrats won one.

The nationalists fell short of a declared target of overhauling Labour in the election, which saw a 30.9% turnout.

The Eurosceptic UK Independence Party, which made large gains in England and Wales, failed to win any seats in Scotland.

The results have left Labour one seat down as Scotland now returns only seven MEPs rather than eight following the enlargement of the European Union.

A total of 28 councils declared their results on Sunday night with four - Aberdeen and the islands - declaring on Monday.

Labour received 26.4% of the vote, 2.3 points down on the last Euro elections.

But the SNP slipped back further, falling 7.5 points to 19.7%.

The Tories secured 17.8%, down 2%, with the Liberal Democrats up 3.3% to 13.1%.

The Scottish Green Party increased its share by 1% to 6.8%, followed by the UK Independence Party, up 5.4% to 6.7%.

They were followed by the Scottish Socialist Party, up 1.2% to 5.2%.

ELECTED MEPs
David Martin: Lab
Catherine Stihler: Lab
Ian Hudghton: SNP
Alyn Smith: SNP
Struan Stevenson: Conservatives
John Purvis: Conservatives
Elspeth Attwooll: Liberal Democrats

Analyst, Professor John Curtis, said it was the first time that the Conservatives and the Labour Party had failed to get as much as half of the vote.

He added: "Labour's share of the vote nationally is its lowest since 1910. We evidently have an unpopular government, but what is interesting - with the SNP and the Conservatives falling back - is that it is not clear that any particular mainstream party is capable of capturing this dissatisfaction and exploiting it."

Prof Curtis added that Scotland's "bad turn-out" could have been improved had the postal ballot system been implemented across the country, but said it was still up by seven points on the last European elections in 1999.

BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor said the result raised some question marks over John Swinney's leadership of the SNP.

But he added: "I think it is more serious than that.

Votes counted

"I don't think Robert the Bruce or William Wallace would have been able to win this election for the SNP given the multi-party nature of politics."

He said things were "all over the shop" in Scotland.

"It doesn't appear to me that the SNP are presenting themselves as the opposition, or remotely even the official opposition. They are an opposition."

The poll took place on Thursday between 0700 BST and 2200 BST and the bulk of the votes were counted on Sunday.

Parties win a number of MEPs equal to their share of the vote in each region, with Scotland electing seven members.

The six parties represented at Holyrood were on the ballot paper along with the UKIP, the BNP, Operation Christian Vote and Scottish Wind Watch.

The official declaration was made in Edinburgh after all votes had been counted.

The Netherlands and the UK went to the polls on Thursday; the 23 other EU countries voted on Sunday.

The European election in June is the first since the enlargement of the European Union to 25 states.

Nearly 349 million people were given a chance to vote for the new 732-member parliament, making it the largest transnational democratic election ever held.


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