'Tactical votes' mean good news for Brown in Scotland

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Indy Politics

Labour's share of the vote in Scotland bucked the national trend by increasing as Conservative hopes of adding to their single seat dwindled.

Voters shifted support away from the Scottish National Party as the first results came through in a move said to be an anti-Conservative tactic.

Significantly, Labour held on to East Renfrewshire, the seat of the Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, despite a Conservative onslaught, and recovered two seats lost in by-elections – Glasgow East was taken back from the SNP and Dunfermline and West Fife from the Liberal Democrats. By 3am Labour had won 30 of the 36 seats declared in Scotland and did so with a swing of 0.4 per cent in its favour over the SNP. The Conservatives had small increases in votes but faced a night of disappointment in Scotland.

Gordon Brown was among the first MPs to be returned in Scotland when he was declared to have held his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat. He won 29,559 votes, giving him a majority of 23,009 over the SNP in second place.

In Edinburgh South West Alistair Darling held on to his seat.

In Glasgow East, Labour's Margaret Curran regained the seat lost to John Mason of the SNP in 2008. She polled 19,797 against Mr Mason's 7,957.

Labour Holyrood leader Iain Gray said: "When the SNP won the by-election in 2008, the SNP claimed the result was a political earthquake that was 'off the Richter scale'. This time round, the SNP's campaign didn't even register."