Scottish Liberal Party

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Scottish Liberal Party
Founded 1859
Dissolved 3 March 1988
Merged into Scottish Liberal Democrats
Ideology Liberalism
Social liberalism
National affiliation Liberal Party

The Scottish Liberal Party, the section of the Liberal Party in Scotland, was the dominant political party of Victorian Scotland,[1] and although its importance declined with the rise of the Labour and Unionist parties during the 20th century,[2] it was still a significant, albeit much reduced force when it finally merged with the Social Democratic Party in Scotland, to form the Scottish Liberal Democrats in 1988.

The party reached its low point during the 1950s, when Jo Grimond was the sole Scottish Liberal MP in the House of Commons, but it gained a partial revival in the 1964 general election when it gained three further MPs, George Mackie, Russell Johnston and Alasdair Mackenzie. A further gain came the following year with David Steel's victory at the Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles by-election. Steel went on to become a pivotal figure in the development of Scottish devolution, in partnership with John Smith, Donald Dewar and other key Labour and Liberal figures.

The Victorian Liberal party in Scotland was not always ideologically unified, and was faced with many internal divisions, particularly amongst the more conservative Whiggish elements of the party who were largely based in Edinburgh and the East, and the more western and Glasgow-based radical Liberals.[3]

Leadership[edit]

Chairmen[edit]

Presidents[edit]

Leader[edit]

Electoral performance[edit]

The Liberals reached their zenith in Scotland at the 1906 general election, where they won over 80% of Scottish seats.

This chart shows the electoral results of the Scottish Liberal Party, from its first election in 1859, to its last in 1983. Total number of seats, and vote percentage, is for Scotland only.

Election National leader in Scotland Vote % Seats Government
1859 66.4
40 / 53
Liberal
1865 85.4
42 / 53
Liberal
1868 82.5
51 / 58
Liberal
1874 68.4
40 / 58
Conservative
1880 70.1
52 / 58
Liberal
1885 53.3
51 / 70
Liberal minority
1886 William Ewart Gladstone for Midlothian 53.6
43 / 70
Conservative–Liberal Unionist
1892 William Ewart Gladstone for Midlothian 53.9
51 / 70
Liberal minority
1895 51.7
39 / 70
Conservative–Liberal Unionist
1900 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman for Stirling Burghs 50.2
34 / 70
Conservative–Liberal Unionist
1906 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman for Stirling Burghs 56.4
58 / 70
Liberal
Jan. 1910 H. H. Asquith for East Fife 54.2
58 / 70
Liberal minority
Dec. 1910 H. H. Asquith for East Fife 53.6
57 / 70
Liberal minority
1918 H. H. Asquith for East Fife (defeated) Official Liberal
15.0

Coalition Liberal
19.1
Official Liberal
8 / 71

Coalition Liberal
25 / 71
Coalition Liberal–Conservative
1922 H. H. Asquith for Paisley Official Liberal
21.5

National Liberal
17.7
Official Liberal
15 / 71

National Liberal
12 / 71
Conservative
1923 H. H. Asquith for Paisley 28.4
22 / 71
Labour minority
1924 H. H. Asquith for Paisley 16.6
8 / 71
Conservative
1929 18.1
13 / 71
Labour minority
1931 8.6
7 / 71
National Labour–Conservative–Liberal
1935 6.7
3 / 71
Conservative–National Labour–Liberal National
1945 Sir Archibald Sinclair for Caithness and Sutherland 5.6
0 / 71
Labour
1950 6.6
2 / 71
Labour
1951 2.7
1 / 71
Conservative
1955 1.9
1 / 71
Conservative
1959 Jo Grimond for Orkney and Shetland 4.1
1 / 71
Conservative
1964 Jo Grimond for Orkney and Shetland 7.6
4 / 71
Labour
1966 Jo Grimond for Orkney and Shetland 6.8
5 / 71
Labour
1970 5.5
3 / 71
Conservative
February 1974 7.9
3 / 71
Labour minority
October 1974 8.3
3 / 71
Labour
1979 David Steel for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles 9.0
3 / 71
Conservative

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Stewart J. (October 1992). "'Echoes of Midlothian': Scottish Liberalism and the South African War, 1899–1902". The Scottish Historical Review. LXXI. JSTOR 25530538. 
  2. ^ Devine, Thomas Martin; Finlay, Richard J. (1996). Scotland in the twentieth century. Edinburgh University Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7486-0839-3. 
  3. ^ Checkland, Olive; Checkland, S. G. Industry and Ethos: Scotland, 1832–1914. p. 77. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Constitution and rules of the Scottish Liberal Association. Scottish Liberal Association. 18??. p. 8.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Scottish Liberal Party (1970). Scottish self-government: the views of the Scottish Liberal party. Scottish Liberal Party. ISBN 978-0-902381-04-9. 

External links[edit]