On a turnout in the constituencies 48.1%, and on the regional lists of 46.3%, the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 1 May 2003 produced the following results (total seats first, constituency seats in brackets, indication of rise or fall in total number of seats last):
LABOUR 50 (46) [= -6]
SNP 27 (9) [= -8]
LIBDEM 17 (13)
TORY 18 (3)
GREEN 7 [= +6]
SSP 6 [= +5]
INDEPENDENTS* 4 (2) [= +3]
* The independents include Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party (1 list MSP in Central), Denis Canavan in Falkirk West, Margo MacDonald (Lothian list) and Dr Jean Turner in Strathkelvin and Bearsden, a retired GP, who was standing as part of a four-week campaign to stop the closure of Stobhill Hospital in the north of Glasgow.
Apart from the protest implicit in the turnout falling below 50%, the electorate’s difficulties with all four of the major parties is apparent in the success of the smaller parties and the independents. Although Labour and the Liberal Democrats have succeeded in negotiating a coalition deal and will take charge of the Scottish Executive, their overall majority in the Parliament is just 5.
Officials in London and Washington are discussing a statement from Libya which appears to accept civil (but not criminal) responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. Latest reports over the long-running compensation issue suggest a fund to compensate victims’ families has been created. In a statement, Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Abderrahmane Chalgam said: We have taken on the responsibility for this case on the basis of the international law which states that the state takes on responsibility for what its employees do.
Responding to the statement, British Foreign Office Minister Mike O’Brien said efforts were being made to agree all the details of a deal. The families of the victims are due to receive about $10m (£6.2m) each in three instalments, according to the statement from Tripoli. The money is said to be being collected from businessmen and companies inside and outside the country with the aim of US sanctions on Libya being lifted following payment of the first two instalments. 30 April 2003.
Lothian and Borders Police confirmed on 29 April 2003 that Trevor Adams, manager of foxhounds for the Buccleuch Hunt, and Rory Innes, former master of the Jedforest Hunt, have each been charged with offences involving hunting foxes with dogs under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, in relation to separate incidents occurring on 16 October 2002 and 1 March 2003. Whether or not the charges will be followed by prosecutions has yet to be decided by the procurator fiscals concerned. Scottish hunts have continued to meet since the Act came into force in August 2002, and are permitted to shoot foxes as a form of pest control.
In total 62 Bills were passed in the First Session of the Scottish Parliament, which was dissolved at midnight on 31 March 2003. 50 were Executive Bills (including 4 Budget Bills), 8 were Members’ Bills and 3 were Committee Bills. One was a Private Bill. Summaries of the Bills passed can be found on the Scottish Parliament website at
Amongst the Bills passed in the last days of the First Session were the Title Conditions Bill, the Council of the Law Society of Scotland Bill, the Homelessness (Scotland) Bill, and the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill. All of these will be eligible to receive the Royal Assent and become Acts despite the dissolution of the Parliament.
The Scottish Parliamentary elections will be held on 1 May 2003, and the newly elected MSPs will assemble for the first time on 7 May.
A street trader has been allowed to continue selling unofficial Old Firm merchandise after being cleared in Glasgow Sheriff Court of breaching the Trade Marks Act. Joseph Gallacher sold unlicensed Celtic and Rangers goods from the back of a van on match days, using the clubs’ logos on his goods. He made about £15,000 a year from the trade. Sheriff Laura Duncan referred to the English case of Arsenal FC v Reed, decided in December 2002, in which Laddie J permitted street trader Matthew Reed to continue selling unofficial Arsenal sportswear despite a European Court of Justice ruling that the activity infringed Arsenal’s trade mark rights. Sheriff Duncan said: This case leads a similar line as the one in England and, as such, an acquittal feels justifiable. Mr Gallacher said the ruling was another victory for the man on the street.