Scottish Liberal Democrats
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|Scottish Liberal Democrats
Libearalaich Deamocratach na h-Alba
|Leader||Willie Rennie MSP|
|Deputy Leader||Alistair Carmichael MP|
|Founded||3 March 1988|
|Headquarters||4 Clifton Terrace
|Youth wing||Liberal Youth Scotland|
|Membership (Dec 2011)||3,080 |
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|Scottish seats in the House of Commons|
|Local government in Scotland|
|European Parliament (Scottish seats)|
|Politics of Scotland
The Scottish Liberal Democrats (Scottish Gaelic: Libearal Deamocratach na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Leeberal Democrats) is a social-liberal political party in Scotland. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are one of the three state parties within the federal Liberal Democrats, the others being the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrats in England. The Scottish Liberal Democrats hold 5 of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament, 11 of 59 Scottish seats in the UK Parliament, and one of six Scottish seats in the European Parliament.
- 1 Organisation
- 1.1 Leaders
- 1.2 Deputy Leaders
- 1.3 Structure
- 1.4 Administration
- 1.5 Party Office Bearers
- 1.6 Scottish Headquarters Staff
- 1.7 Executive Committee
- 1.8 Policy Committee
- 1.9 Conference Committee
- 1.10 Conferences
- 1.11 Associated organisations
- 1.12 Association of Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners
- 2 History
- 3 Policy platform
- 4 Elected representatives (current)
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- Malcolm Bruce (3 March 1988 – 18 April 1992)
- Jim Wallace (18 April 1992 – 23 June 2005)
- Nicol Stephen (27 June 2005 – 2 July 2008)
- Tavish Scott (26 August 2008 – 7 May 2011)
- Willie Rennie (17 May 2011 – present)
- Michael Moore (2 November 2002 – 23 September 2010)
- Jo Swinson (23 September 2010 – 23 September 2012)
- Alistair Carmichael (23 September 2012 – present)
In keeping with its basis as a federation of organisations, the Scottish party also consists of a number of local parties (which mostly follow the boundaries of the 73 Scottish Parliament constituencies), which are each distinct accounting units under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. Local parties are predominantly responsible for the party's political campaigning and for selecting candidates for parliamentary and local authority elections.
There are also eight regional parties (based on the boundaries of the eight Scottish Parliament electoral regions).
The conference is the highest decision-making body of the party on both policy and strategic issues. The day-to-day organisation of the party is the responsibility of the party's 34-member Executive Committee, chaired by Party Convener Craig Harrow, and the eight Office Bearers, including the leader Willie Rennie MSP, the deputy leader Alistair Carmichael MP and the party President Malcolm Bruce MP.
The development of party policy rests upon a distinct 14-member Policy Committee, chaired by John Edward. The Party Manager is Linda Wilson, and the party's headquarters are at 4 Clifton Terrace, Edinburgh.
Party Office Bearers
- Leader: Willie Rennie MSP
- Deputy Leader: Alistair Carmichael MP
- President: Malcolm Bruce MP
- Convener: Craig Harrow
- Treasurer: Caron Lindsay
- Policy Convener: John Edward
- Campaigns Convener: Katy Gordon
- Conference Convener: Sheila Thomson
Scottish Headquarters Staff
- Party Manager: Linda Wilson
- Campaigns Director: Adam Stachura
- Communications Director: Adam Clarke
- Derek Barrie
- Fred Mackintosh
- Audrey Findlay
- Margaret Smith
- Judy Hayman
- Sophie Bridger
- Fraser Grieve
- Kevin Lang
- Caron Lindsay
- Kris Chapman
- Galen Milne
- Cathy McInnes
- Euan Robson
- Hugh Andrew
- Alan Blair
- Ewan Hoyle
- Ruaraidh Dobson
- Jenni Lang
- Mike Falchikov
- Sheila Thomson
- Jennifer Jamieson-Ball
- Callum Leslie
- Ross Stalker
- Paul McGarry
- Jo Swinson (MP)
- George Lyon (MEP)
- Craig Harrow (Scottish Convener)
- Isabel Nelson (SWLD)
- Kieran Leach (Policy Committee)
- Helen Watt (Executive Committee)
- Daniel O'Malley (LYS)
The Scottish party holds two conferences per year; a three-day Spring Conference, last held in Dundee in March 2013, and a one-day Autumn Conference, last held in Glasgow in September 2013 on the first day of the federal party autumn conference, at the same venue (the SECC). The autumn federal and Scottish conferences will return to Glasgow in 2014, whilst Scottish spring conference 2014 will take place in Aberdeen.
Associated organisations generally seek to influence the direction of the party on a specific issue or represent a section of the party membership. The party has five associated organisations:
- Association of Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners (ASLDC)
- Liberal Democrats for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality (DELGA) (Scottish Board)
- Liberal Youth Scotland (LYS)
- Scottish Green Liberal Democrats
- Scottish Women Liberal Democrats
Association of Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners
The Association of Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillors (ASLDC) is a network of Liberal Democrat councillors and local campaigners across Scotland which works to support and develop Liberal Democrat involvement in Scottish Local Government.
A voluntary Executive Committee meets several times a year to run the organisation.
- Convenor: Cllr Willie Wilson
- Vice-Convenor: John Elder
- Secretary: Cllr Mags Kennedy
- Treasurer: Simon Hutton
- Members: Cllr Fraser Macpherson, Cllr Peter Barrett, Millie McLeod, Cllr Ian Yuill, Caron Lindsay
ASLDC works alongside Liberal Democrats in the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) where Neil Fletcher serves as Vice-President, Cllr Anne Robertson leads the Lib Dem Group (Aberdeenshire) and George Hayton is Group Secretary (Perth and Kinross).
The party campaigned for the creation of a devolved Scottish Parliament as part of its wider policy of a federal United Kingdom. In the late 1980s and 1990s it and its representatives participated in the Scottish Constitutional Convention with the Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Green Party, trades unions and churches, and also campaigned for a "Yes-Yes" vote in the 1997 devolution referendum.
1999-2007: Coalition government with Labour
In the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the party won 17 seats. Following this, the party formed a coalition government with the Scottish Labour Party in the Scottish Executive. The then party leader, Jim Wallace, became Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Minister for Justice. He also served as acting First Minister on three occasions, during the illness and then later death of the first First Minister Donald Dewar and following the resignation of his successor Henry McLeish. This partnership was renewed in 2003 and Wallace became Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning. On 23 June 2005, Nicol Stephen MSP succeeded Wallace as party leader and took over his positions in the Executive until the 2007 elections.
Prior to the partnership government being formed in 1999, the UK had only limited experience of coalition government. The party's participation attracted criticism for involving compromises to its preferred policies, although several of its manifesto pledges were adopted as government policy or legislation. These included changes to the arrangements for student contributions to higher education costs (although whether that amounted to the claimed achievement of having abolished tuition fees was hotly contested), free personal care for the elderly and (during the second coalition government) changing the system of elections for Scottish local authorities to the single transferable vote, a long-standing Liberal Democrat policy.
In the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, the party won one fewer seat than in the two previous Scottish elections: this was the first parliamentary election for 28 years in which the party's parliamentary strength in Scotland was reduced. This experience led to some criticism of the party's election strategy and its leader. Although it was arithmetically possible to form a majority coalition with the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party, the party refused to participate in coalition negotiations because of a disagreement over the SNP's policy of a referendum on Scottish independence, and now sits as an opposition party in the Parliament.
On 2 July 2008, Nicol Stephen resigned as the party leader. The former deputy leader Michael Moore MP served as acting leader of the party until Tavish Scott MSP was elected party leader on 26 August 2008, winning 59% of the votes cast in a contest with parliamentary colleagues Ross Finnie and Mike Rumbles. (See also Scottish Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2008.)
At the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, the party lost all its mainland constituencies, retaining only the two constituencies of Orkney and Shetland. It also secured three List MSPs. This was by far the party's worst electoral performance since the re-establishment of a Scottish parliament in 1999.
The Scottish Party decides its policy on state matters independently from the federal party. State matters include not only currently devolved issues but also those reserved matters which the party considers should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, including broadcasting, energy, drugs and abortion. The party also believes that the Scottish Parliament should exercise greater responsibility on fiscal matters. A party commission chaired by former Liberal Party leader and Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Sir David Steel set out the party's proposals on the constitutional issue.
According to its constitution, the party believes in a "fair, free and open society ... in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity". It has traditionally argued for both positive and negative liberties, tolerance of social diversity, decentralisation of political authority, including proportional representation for public elections, internationalism and greater involvement in the European Union. In the 2007 elections it campaigned for reforms to public services and local taxation, and for more powers for the Scottish Parliament within a federal Britain.
In December 2007, the party (along with Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives) supported the creation of a new Commission on Scottish Devolution, along similar lines to the earlier Scottish Constitutional Convention, to discuss further powers for the Scottish Parliament. The SNP Government had earlier in the same year launched a "National Conversation" which includes the option of independence for Scotland.
Elected representatives (current)
|Member of the Scottish Parliament||Constituency or Region||First elected||Spokespersons|
|Willie Rennie||Mid Scotland and Fife||2011||Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats|
|Liam McArthur||Orkney||2007||education and energy|
|Alison McInnes||North East Scotland||2007||health and justice|
|Jim Hume||South of Scotland||2007||rural, environment, housing and transport|
|Tavish Scott||Shetland||1999||business and the economy|
|Member of Parliament||Constituency||First elected||Notes|
|Danny Alexander||Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey||2005||Chief Secretary to the Treasury (HM Treasury)|
|Menzies Campbell||North East Fife||1987|
|Alistair Carmichael||Orkney and Shetland||2001||Secretary of State for Scotland (Scotland Office)|
|Michael Crockart||Edinburgh West||2010|
|Charles Kennedy||Ross, Skye and Lochaber||1983|
|Michael Moore||Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk||1997|
|Alan Reid||Argyll and Bute||2001|
|Robert Smith||West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine||1997|
|Jo Swinson||East Dunbartonshire||2005||Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)|
|John Thurso||Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross||2001|
|Member of the European Parliament||Constituency||First elected||Notes|
- Scottish Liberal Club
- Liberal Youth Scotland
- Steel Commission, Moving to Federalism - A New Settlement for Scotland (published in March 2006)
- Ibpus.com; International Business Publications, USA (1 January 2012). Scotland Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-4387-7095-6.
- "The party is led by Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen MSP and is a state party within the Liberal Democrats", scotlibdems.org.uk, accessed 23 September 2006 (cached)
- "Party Structure", scotlibdems.org.uk
- "Liberal Democrat History Group". Liberalhistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- "Scottish policy responsibilities include all devolved matters plus matters that we believe should be the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.", scotlibdems.org.uk
- "Microsoft Word - Steel Commission Report March 2006 formatted.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 20 May 2011 http://news.scotsman.com/politics/Labour-and-Lib-Dems-reveal.6771902.jp
|url=missing title (help).
- Official website
- ASPECT: Access to Scottish Parliamentary Election Candidate Materials, University of Strathclyde