Nationalists outpoll Labour in Scotland

Nationalists tonight outpolled Labour by a clear margin in Scotland in early European election results.

The SNP looked certain to finish the night ahead of Labour in the popular vote - achieving the goal which SNP leader Alex Salmond had set his party.



On early results of how Scotland voted at local council level, the Labour vote was not yet in meltdown and the party could finish up in second place in terms of the Scottish share of the vote.



In a series of humiliations the SNP outpolled Labour in several council areas including Edinburgh.



In Fife, the home turf of Gordon Brown, Labour squeaked ahead of the SNP but only by a 200-vote margin - 21,248 to 21,043.



Labour was deal a spectacular blow in East Renfrewshire - this time not by the SNP but by the Tories.



Jim Murphy, the Secretary of State for Scotland, is MP for Eastwood, which covers East Renfrewshire council area.



And tonight Labour came third there with 20.8% of the votes, behind the first-place Tories at 28.6% and the second-place SNP with 22.8%



The full Scottish result will not be known until tomorrow, when voting figures for the Western Isles council are disclosed.



But after about a third of Scotland's council areas announced their figures, a Scottish Press Association calculation put the Tories on 17%, the Liberal Democrats on 13%, the Greens on 9%, the SNP on 28%, and Labour on 20%.



UKIP was polling at just under 5%.



The last European elections gave Labour, the Tories and the SNP two seats each, and the Lib Dems one.



This time round, the number of Scottish Euro seats is falling to six.



And whether Labour keeps two Euro seats in Scotland could go right to the wire- when the final figures for the Western Isles are announced tomorrow.



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