Poll embarassment for Blair

Friday, February 10, 2006

A By-Election in the Scottish constituency of Dunfermline & West Fife has seen a once safe Labour seat won by the Liberal Democrat party, despite a series of scandals rocking the UK's third party during their search to find a new leader.

The poll was called to replace the MP Rachel Squire, who died last month, and saw the Liberal Democrats' candidate Willie Rennie overturn a Labour majority of 11,562 to defeat the Labour party candidate, Catherine Stihler (currently an MEP) by 1,800 votes. The result will come as a blow to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who lives in the constituency and represents the neighbouring area of Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

However, the result was also viewed as a blow for other parties: the Scottish National Party, who came third in the General Election, could only increase their share of the vote by 2% and remain in third place, despite claiming that they were a close second during the campaign. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party, buoyed by the election of David Cameron as Party Leader, saw their vote fall by 2.5% The Scottish Socialist Party were also hit, registering a slight fall in their vote despite fielding a high-profile candidate in John McAllion, the former Labour MP and MSP for Dundee East.