Voting For A New Britain: Campaigns Briefing

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The Independent Online
BOOKMAKER William Hill has stopped taking bets on Labour winning most seats in today's Scottish elections and is offering 100-1 against an SNP majority. The firm is betting on a hung parliament, cutting the odds from 4-9 to 1-3 and offering 2-1 against an overall Labour majority.

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ALUN MICHAEL, leader of the Labour Party in Wales, was accused yesterday of "a monumental gaffe" for saying the Government would not release a pounds 1.8bn European Union grant for economic generation this year.

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PUNTERS IN Wales seem to be one step ahead of The Independent. The odds on Labour MEP Wayne David becoming First Secretary of the Welsh Assembly had shortened from 16-1 to 4-1 even before our exclusive story yesterday that Labour had drawn up plans to install him if Alun Michael failed to win a seat. Yesterday, after the story was published, the odds fell further, to 9-2.

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AN ENGLISH-BORN silversmith has been commissioned to design the mace the Queen will formally present at the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament. Born in Salisbury, Michael Lloyd trained in Birmingham and now works inScotland. Ten silversmiths submitted initial ideas for the design of the mace.

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DAVID BELLAMY, the TV ecologist, urged Scots to give their party list vote to the Greens. "Sadly, the state of many beaches in Scotland is such that you are more likely to catch diarrhoea than shrimps," he said.

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