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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK

Labour's Scots glory

Labour has swept to victory in the general election in Scotland, but the Tories are back north of the Border having won one seat.

With the result in one of the 72 constituencies still to be declared, the picture for Labour remained unchanged as it retained its 56 seats.

However, the party's share of the vote had fallen by 1.9% to 44.3% on a low turnout of 58.2% of the electorate.

The Scottish National Party lost the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat to the Tories, meaning it has five representatives at Westminster and its share of the vote fell by 2% to 20.1%

The Scottish Liberal Democrats were still aiming to hold on to the Argyll and Bute seat which has yet to declare, and this would bring its tally to 10 seats.

The party has been boosted by a 3.8% increase in its vote share bringing its total to 16.1% but it was yet to be seen whether the marginal of Argyll and Bute would remain in its possession.

For the nationalists, the loss of Galloway and Upper Nithsdale was a blow.

However, party leaders remained stoic and said they remained on course for gains in the 2003 Scottish parliamentary elections.

The Scottish Socialist party, which stood candidates in all 72 constituencies, was celebrating increasing its standing substantially in Scotland, with an estimated 70,000 votes.

Good start

However, the Tories' success in Galloway was tempered by a failure to stage a significant comeback following its disastrous performance in Scotland in 1997 when it lost all of its seats.

Its share of the vote fell by 2% to 15.5%.

The misery of the defeats in Ayr and Eastwood was compounded by the party's slump into fifth place in Glasgow Maryhill, where it was edged out to fourth by the SSP.

Labour's night got off to a good start when Bill Tynan retained Hamilton South, the first seat to declare.

Success for Chancellor Gordon Brown quickly followed and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell and Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid were among the other high profile figures who enjoyed success.

In Eastwood, which was once the safest Tory seat in Scotland, Labour's Jim Murphy almost trebled his majority in one of the key Conservative target constituencies.

Mr Murphy said the voters had rejected the "voodoo" economics of his opponent, the Tories' Scottish party chairman Raymond Robertson

Conservative candidate Phil Gallie cut the size of Sandra Osborne's majority in Ayr, but was unable to recapture the seat which the party lost to Labour in 1997.

The Tories also lost out in Perth, although Elizabeth Smith ran the SNP's Annabelle Ewing extremely close - the nationalists holding the seat with a majority of just 48.

Labour's Tam Dalyell became the Father of the House after the parliament's longest-serving MP was comfortably returned for Labour in Linlithgow.

And Commons Speaker Michael Martin retained the seat of Glasgow Springburn, where four candidates defied convention to stand against him.



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