How Commons looked at dissolution

IN 2001, Labour won a Commons majority of 167 – the second highest since 1935, being narrowly pipped by that in 1997. The score was: Labour 413 (including Speaker Michael Martin), Conservatives 166, Liberal Democrats 52, Ulster Unionists 6, Scottish Nationalists 5, Democratic Unionists (Ulster) 5, Plaid Cymru 4, Sin Fein (Ulster) 3, Social Democratic Labour Party (Ulster) 3, Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 1.

IN 2001, Labour won a Commons majority of 167 - the second highest since 1935, being narrowly pipped by that in 1997. The score was: Labour 413 (including Speaker Michael Martin), Conservatives 166, Liberal Democrats 52, Ulster Unionists 6, Scottish Nationalists 5, Democratic Unionists (Ulster) 5, Plaid Cymru 4, Sin Fein (Ulster) 3, Social Democratic Labour Party (Ulster) 3, Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 1.

Since then there were a number of changes. Labour's Paul Marsden (Shrewsbury and Atcham) defected to Liberal Democrats, but then sought readmission to Labour shortly before the dissolution. The Lib Dems scored by-election gains against the Government at Brent East and Leicester South.

After his expulsion from Labour's ranks, Iraq war critic George Galloway (Glasgow Kelvin) was among founders of Respect - The Unity Coalition.

But Tories also slipped with Robert Jackson (Wantage) switching to Labour and Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke) sitting as an independent Conservative after deciding to contest Northern Ireland's Assembly elections for the Democratic Unionists. Ulster Unionist Jeffrey Donaldson defected to the DUP.


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When Parliament was dissolved, Labour's majority was down to 161. Labour (including the Speaker) 410, Conservatives 162. Lib Dems 54, DUP 5, SNP 5, UUP 5, PC 4, SF 4, SDLP 3, Independent Conservative 1, Respect 1, Others 3.

The three "others" were Jonathan Sayeed (Bedfordshire Mid) and Howard Flight (Arundel and South Downs) who had lost the Tory whip and Mr Marsden.

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The goal posts have been moved for the coming election by boundary changes reducing the number of MPs in Scotland by 13 to 59, leaving the total in the new House at 646, compared with 659.

Analysis by Plymouth University election experts Collin Rallings and Michael Thrasher and David Denver of Lancaster University suggests this would cost Labour 10 seats compared with 2001 but it also brings the disappearance of Tories' only Scottish foothold at Galloway and Upper Nithsdale. Liberal Democrats and the SNP would have also lost one each.

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