List of political parties in Scotland

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This article lists political parties in Scotland.

Major parties[edit]

Parties represented in the Scottish Parliament, British Parliament or European Parliament (ordered by number of representatives):

Party MSPs MPs MEPs Ideology
Scottish Labour Party 37 41 2 British unionist, Social democracy, Centre-left, Trade-unionism
Scottish National Party 69 6 2 Centre-left, Social democracy, Scottish nationalism, Scottish independence, nuclear disarmament, Pro-Europeanism
Scottish Conservative Party 15 1 1 Centre-right, Conservatism, British unionist
Scottish Liberal Democrats 5 11 0 Centre to Centre-left, social liberalism, British unionist, Pro-Europeanism
Scottish Green Party 2 0 0 Left, Green, Environmentalism, Scottish nationalism, Scottish independence
UKIP Scotland 0 0 1 Right-wing, Euroscepticism, Populism, Conservatism, British unionist

Minor parties[edit]

Other parties that contested the 2010 general election (by vote share):

Party Ideology
British National Party Far-right, British nationalism, Euroscepticism
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Left-wing, Socialism, Environmentalism, Feminism, Scottish Independence, Trade Unionism
Scottish Socialist Party Left-wing, Socialism, Environmentalism, Feminism, Scottish Independence, Republicanism
Socialist Labour Party Left-Wing, Socialism, Trade Unionism, Euroscepticism
Scottish Christian Party Right-wing, Christianity, Christian right, Euroscepticism
Liberal Party Centre to Centre-left, Liberalism, Social Liberalism, Euroscepticism
Scottish Jacobite Party Scottish Independence, Euroscepticism, Republicanism
Communist Party Far-left, Communist, Marxism–Leninism
Pirate Party UK Pirate politics, Freedom of Speech, Privacy, Copyright and Patent Reform

Political parties[edit]

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is the main political party in Scotland which supports Scotland becoming an independent nation. They are overall centre-left, advocating social democracy, nuclear disarmament and closer ties to the European Union. They were founded in 1934 and formed a permanent grouping in parliament in 1967. Their best election result in the 20th century was at the general election of October 1974 in which they won 11 of Scotland's 72 Westminster seats as well as around 30% of the popular vote, however they lost all but 2 of these seats in 1979. Support for the party has been bolstered under the present leader Alex Salmond, who in 2011 led the SNP to their best electoral performance to date, in which they became the first party in the devolved Scottish Parliament to win a majority of seats. They currently form the Scottish government.

The Scottish Labour Party was the most successful party in Scottish elections from 1959 to 2007. Like the wider UK Labour Party, they are centre-left and they support Scotland remaining in the UK. They first overtook the Conservatives as Scotland's largest party at the 1959 general election. In 1997, the UK Labour Party under Tony Blair offered Scotland a referendum on devolution which was passed with around 74% of the electorate in favour. From 1999 to 2007, they were in power in the Scottish Parliament through a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Since 2008, the party has been led by Iain Gray in the Scottish Parliament. Gray announced his resignation after the party's defeat at the 2011 Scottish election.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party was founded in 1965 out of the old Scottish Unionist Party, which had been a dominant political force in Scotland for much of the early 20th century, winning the majority of votes and seats in the 1955 general election. However the party went into decline, being reduced from 21 Scottish seats in 1983, to 10 in 1987. The 1997 general election was a catastrophe for the Scottish Conservatives, who were left with no Scottish seats whatsoever. However the party won 18 seats in the Scottish Parliament in the 1999 election due to proportional representation. Since 2001 the Conservatives have held 1 Scottish seat in the UK parliament. Like the wider UK Conservative Party, the party is a centre-right party, which promotes conservatism and British unionism. They are led in the Scottish Parliament by Ruth Davidson, their MP is David Mundell and they have one MEP, Ian Duncan.

UKIP Scotland, the Scottish section of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party, has contested many Scottish elections for the Westminster Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, and in 2014 it won one of Scotland's six seats in the European Parliament, gaining 10.5% of the Scottish vote, coming fourth. Its Scottish MEP is David Coburn.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are a centre to centre-left social liberal party. The British Liberal Democrats they are part of were formed out of the old Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party in 1988. Currently, they are Scotland's second largest party in terms of seats in the UK Parliament, controlling 11 out of 59. Their leader is Willie Rennie. Since the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster, support for the Liberal Democrats has fallen sharply, and the party won only 5 seats at the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election.

The Scottish Green Party is centre-left and promotes Scottish independence and environmentalism. It retains close ties with the Green Party of England and Wales, both having originated in the breakup of the UK Green Party. It won a seat in the Scottish Parliament in 1999, which was increased to 7 in 2003, and then reduced to 2 in 2007. The Greens retained both these seats in 2011.

The far-right British National Party (BNP) contests Scottish seats on a regular basis, with little success.

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) was founded in 1998 by Tommy Sheridan and achieved 6 seats in the Scottish Parliament in 2003. They are left-wing, and campaign for Scottish independence, the abolition of council tax, Free school meals, free public transport and an end to the Afghan War. A party split in 2006 caused party leader Tommy Sheridan to establish Solidarity, whose policies were quite similar to the SSP. Both the SSP and Solidarity won no seats at either the 2007 or 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections.

Other parties[edit]

Registered parties[edit]

Unregistered parties[edit]

The following parties were not registered with the Electoral Commission as of 2 September 2006, and may be defunct:

Defunct parties[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]