ELECTION 2003: And It's Labour in Scotland Again Too

Article excerpt

LABOUR was this morning returned to power in Scotland after a night of high drama in which nationalists failed to make expected gains, while the Tories unseated a Labour minister.

In a stunning victory, Tory leader David McLetchie became the first Conservative to become a constituency MSP at a Scottish parliamentary election when he ejected enterprise minister Iain Gray from Edinburgh Pentlands.

In another electoral upset, Labour's Brian Fitzpatrick was ousted from Strathkelvin and Bearsden by an independent health service campaigner.

Mr McLetchie told supporters, ``Ever since I joined the Conservative Party at the age of 16 I have dreamed of the day I would have the opportunity to make a speech like this.

He said, ``I am proud to have led this party in the last Parliament; I am proud to have led this party in our campaign and I am looking forward to leading our party in the next Parliament.''

The SNP saw its share of the vote fall as fringe parties made big gains.

The nationalists failed to take the Scottish Parliament's most marginal seat, Dundee West, where incumbent Kate MacLean increased Labour's majority to 1,066 - but Dundee East went to a second recount. …