Scottish National Party

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Scottish National Party
Scots National Pairty
Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba
AbbreviationSNP
LeaderNicola Sturgeon
Depute LeaderKeith Brown
Westminster LeaderIan Blackford
PresidentMichael Russell
Chief ExecutivePeter Murrell
Founded7 April 1934
Merger of
HeadquartersGordon Lamb House
3 Jackson's Entry
Edinburgh
EH8 8PJ
Student wingSNP Students
Youth wingYoung Scots for Independence
LGBT wingOut for Independence
Membership (2021)Increase119,000+[1]
Ideology
Political positionCentre-left[17][18]
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
Colours  Yellow
  Black
Slogan"Scotland's Future, Scotland's Choice" (2021)
Anthem"Scots Wha Hae"[19][20]
House of Commons (Scottish seats)
45 / 59
Scottish Parliament[21]
64 / 129
Local government in Scotland[22]
396 / 1,227
Website
www.snp.org Edit this at Wikidata

The Scottish National Party (SNP; Scots: Scots National Pairty, Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba [ˈpʰaːrˠʃtʲi ˈn̪ˠaːʃən̪ˠt̪ə nə ˈhal̪ˠapə]) is a Scottish nationalist and social democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom and for membership of the European Union,[11][23][24] with a platform based on civic nationalism.[25][26] The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland, where it has the most seats in the Scottish Parliament and 45 out of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons at Westminster, and it is the third-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since 20 November 2014.

Founded in 1934 with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, the party has had continuous parliamentary representation in Westminster since Winnie Ewing won the 1967 Hamilton by-election.[27] With the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the SNP became the second-largest party, serving two terms as the opposition. The SNP gained power under Alex Salmond at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, forming a minority government, before going on to win the 2011 Parliament election, after which it formed Holyrood's first majority government.[28] After Scotland voted against independence in the 2014 referendum, Salmond resigned and was succeeded by Sturgeon. The SNP was reduced back to being a minority government at the 2016 election. In the 2021 election, the SNP gained one seat and entered a power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens.

The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, and membership, reaching 125,691 members as of March 2021, 45 Members of Parliament (MPs), 64 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and 400 local councillors.[29] The SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance (EFA). The party does not have any members of the House of Lords, as it has always maintained a position of objecting to an unelected upper house.[30][31]

History[edit]

Foundation and early breakthroughs (1934–1970)[edit]

The SNP was formed in 1934 through the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with the Duke of Montrose and Cunninghame Graham as its first, joint, presidents.[32] Sir Alexander MacEwen was its first chairman.[33]

The party was divided on its approach to the Second World War. Professor Douglas Young, who was SNP leader from 1942 to 1945, campaigned for the Scottish people to refuse conscription and his activities were popularly vilified as undermining the British war effort against the Axis powers. Young was imprisoned for refusing to be conscripted. However, others in the party were explicitly pro-Nazi. Hugh MacDiarmid, who stood as an SNP candidate in 1945, believed that the Nazis were "less dangerous than our own government" and wrote a poem about the London Blitz that included the line "I hardly care".[34][35][36] Arthur Donaldson, who went on to lead the party between 1961 and 1969, believed a Nazi invasion would benefit Scotland:[37]

"The government would leave the country and England's position would be absolutely hopeless, as poverty and famine would be their only reward for declaring war on Germany. Scotland, on the other hand, had great possibilities."

The party suffered its first split during this period with John MacCormick leaving the party in 1942, owing to his failure to change the party's policy from supporting all-out independence to Home Rule at that year's conference in Glasgow. McCormick went on to form the Scottish Covenant Association, a non-partisan political organisation campaigning for the establishment of a devolved Scottish Assembly.

However, wartime conditions also enabled the SNP's first parliamentary success at the Motherwell by-election in 1945, but Robert McIntyre MP lost the seat at the general election three months later. The 1950s were characterised by similarly low levels of support, and this made it difficult for the party to advance. Indeed, in most general elections they were unable to put up more than a handful of candidates.

The 1960s, however, offered more electoral successes, with candidates polling credibly at Glasgow Bridgeton in 1961, West Lothian in 1962 and Glasgow Pollok in 1967. Indeed, this foreshadowed Winnie Ewing's surprise victory in a by-election at the previously safe Labour seat of Hamilton. This brought the SNP to national prominence, leading to the establishment of the Kilbrandon Commission.

Becoming a notable force (1970s)[edit]

In October 1974 the SNP won 11 constituencies, a record that would stand until Nicola Sturgeon assumed the party's leadership.

Despite this breakthrough, the 1970 general election was to prove a disappointment for the party as, despite an increase in vote share, Ewing failed to retain her seat in Hamilton. The party did receive some consolation with the capture of the Western Isles, making Donald Stewart the party's only MP. This was to be the case until the 1973 by-election at Glasgow Govan where a hitherto safe Labour seat was claimed by Margo MacDonald.[citation needed]

1974 was to prove something of an annus mirabilis for the party as it deployed its highly effective It's Scotland's oil campaign.[38][failed verification] The SNP gained 6 seats at the February general election before hitting a high point in the October re-run, polling almost a third of all votes in Scotland and returning 11 MPs to Westminster. Furthermore, during that year's local elections the party claimed overall control of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.[citation needed]

This success was to continue for much of the decade, and at the 1977 district elections the SNP saw victories at councils including East Kilbride and Falkirk and held the balance of power in Glasgow.[39] However, this level of support was not to last and by 1978 Labour revival was evident at three by-elections (Glasgow Garscadden, Hamilton and Berwick and East Lothian) as well as the regional elections.

This was to culminate when the party experienced a large drop in its support at the 1979 general election, precipitated by the party bringing down the incumbent Labour minority government following the controversial failure of that year's devolution referendum. Reduced to just 2 MPs, the successes of October 1974 were not to be surpassed until the 2015 general election.

In 1979 the party's MPs supported Margaret Thatcher's Motion of No Confidence in Jim Callaghan's Labour Government, with the motion carried by 311 votes to 310. Callaghan taunted the party that they were like “the turkeys who voted for Christmas” and the party went on to lose all but two of its seats in the subsequent election that ushered in 18 years of Tory rule.[40][41]

Factional divisions and infighting (1980s)[edit]

The 79 Group sought to define the party on the left.

Following this defeat, a period of internal strife occurred within the party, culminating with the formation of two internal groups: the ultranationalist Siol nan Gaidheal[42][43] and left-wing 79 Group.[42] Traditionalists within the party, centred around Winnie Ewing, by this time an MEP, responded by establishing the Campaign for Nationalism in Scotland which sought to ensure that the primary objective of the SNP was campaigning for independence outwith a traditional left-right orientation, even though this would have undone the work of figures such as William Wolfe, who developed a clearly social democratic policy platform throughout the 1970s.[citation needed]

These events ensured the success of a leadership motion at the party's annual conference of 1982, in Ayr, despite the 79 Group being bolstered by the merger of Jim Sillars' Scottish Labour Party (SLP) although this influx of ex-SLP members further shifted the characteristics of the party leftwards. Despite this, traditionalist figure Gordon Wilson remained party leader through the electoral disappointments of 1983 and 1987, where he lost his own Dundee East seat won 13 years prior.

Through this period, Sillars' influence in the party grew, developing a clear socio-economic platform including Independence in Europe, reversing the SNP's previous opposition to membership of the then-EEC which had been unsuccessful in a 1975 referendum. This position was enhanced further by Sillars reclaiming Glasgow Govan in a by-election in 1988.

Despite this moderation, the party did not join Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens as well as civil society in the Scottish Constitutional Convention which developed a blueprint for a devolved Scottish Parliament due to the unwillingness of the convention to discuss independence as a constitutional option.[44][failed verification]

First Salmond era (1990s)[edit]

In 1994 the SNP gained control of Tayside, the only time the party controlled a regional council, albeit without a majority.

Alex Salmond had been elected MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987, after the re-admittance of 79 Group members, and was able to seize the party leadership after Wilson's resignation in 1990 after a contest with Margaret Ewing. This was a surprise victory as Ewing had the backing of much of the party establishment, including Sillars and then-Party Secretary John Swinney. The defection of Labour MP Dick Douglas further evidenced the party's clear left-wing positioning, particularly regarding opposition to the poll tax.[45] Despite this, Salmond's leadership was unable to avert a fourth successive general election disappointment in 1992 with the party reduced back from 5 to 3 MPs.

The mid-90s offered some successes for the party, with North East Scotland being gained at the 1994 European elections and the party securing a by-election at Perth and Kinross in 1995 after a near-miss at Monklands East the previous year.

The party was part of the successful devolution campaign in 1997.

1997 offered the party's most successful general election for 23 years, although in the face of the Labour landslide the party was unable to match either 1974 election. That September, the party joined with the members of the Scottish Constitutional Convention in the successful Yes-Yes campaign in the devolution referendum which lead to the establishment of a Scottish Parliament with tax-varying powers.

By 1999, the first elections to the parliament were being held, although the party suffered a disappointing result, gaining just 35 MSPs in the face of Salmond's unpopular 'Kosovo Broadcast' which opposed NATO intervention in the country.[46]

Opposing Labour-Liberal Democrat coalitions (1999–2007)[edit]

This meant that the party began as the official opposition in the parliament to a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition government. Salmond found the move to a more consensual politics difficult and sought a return to Westminster, resigning the leadership in 2000 with John Swinney, like Salmond a gradualist,[47] victorious in the ensuring leadership election.[48] Swinney's leadership proved ineffectual, with a loss of one MP in 2001 and a further reduction to 27 MSPs in 2003 despite the Officegate scandal unseating previous First Minister Henry McLeish.[49][failed verification] However, the only parties to gain seats in that election were the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) which like the SNP support independence.[50][51]

After an unsuccessful leadership challenge in 2003, Swinney stepped down following disappointing results in the European elections of 2004[52] with Salmond victorious in the subsequent leadership contest despite initially refusing to be candidate.[53] Nicola Sturgeon was elected Depute Leader and became the party's leader in the Scottish Parliament until Salmond was able to return at the next parliamentary election.[citation needed]

Salmond governments (2007–2014)[edit]

In 2007, the SNP emerged as the largest party in the Scottish Parliament with 47 of 129 seats, narrowly ousting the Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats and Alex Salmond becoming First Minister after ousting the Liberal Democrats in Gordon. The Scottish Green Party supported Salmond's election as First Minister, and his subsequent appointments of ministers, in return for early tabling of the climate change bill and the SNP nominating a Green MSP to chair a parliamentary committee.[54] Despite this, Salmond's minority government tended to strike budget deals with the Conservatives to stay in office.[55]

In May 2011, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats. This was a significant feat as the additional member system used for Scottish Parliament elections was specifically designed to prevent one party from winning an outright majority.[56][57] This was followed by a reverse in the party's previous opposition to NATO membership at the party's annual conference in 2012[58] despite Salmond's refusal to apologise for the Kosovo broadcast on the occasion of the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.[59]

This majority enabled the SNP government to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. The "No" vote prevailed in a close-fought campaign, prompting the resignation of First Minister Alex Salmond. Forty-five percent of Scottish voters cast their ballots for independence, with the "Yes" side receiving less support than late polling predicted.[60] Exit polling by Lord Ashcroft suggested that many No voters thought independence too risky,[61] while others voted for the Union because of their emotional attachment to Britain.[62] Older voters, women and middle class voters voted no in margins above the national average.[62]

Following the Yes campaign's defeat, Salmond resigned and Nicola Sturgeon won that year's leadership election unopposed.

Sturgeon years (2014 onwards)[edit]

Winning 56 of 59 seats in 2015 and 50% of the popular vote.

The SNP rebounded from the loss in the independence referendum at the 2015 UK general election, led by Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56, mostly at the expense of the Labour Party. All but three of the fifty-nine constituencies in the country elected an SNP candidate in the party's most comprehensive electoral victory at any level.[63]

At the 2016 Scottish election, the SNP lost a net total of 6 seats, losing its overall majority in the Scottish Parliament, but returning for a third consecutive term as a minority government despite gaining an additional 1.1% of the constituency vote, for the party's best-ever result, from the 2011 election however 2.3% of the regional list vote. On the constituency vote, the SNP gained 11 seats from Labour, but lost the Edinburgh Southern constituency to the party. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats each gained two constituency seats from the SNP on 2011 (Aberdeenshire West and Edinburgh Central for the Conservatives and Edinburgh Western and North East Fife for the Liberal Democrats).

This election was followed by the 2016 European Union referendum after which the SNP joined with the Liberal Democrats and Greens to call for continued membership of the EU. Despite a consequential increase in the Conservative vote at the 2017 local elections[64] the SNP for the first time became the largest party in each of Scotland's four city councils: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, where a Labour administration was ousted after 37 years.[65]

At the 2017 UK general election the SNP underperformed compared to polling expectations, losing 21 seats to bring their number of Westminster MPs down to 35 – however this was still the party's second best result ever at the time.[66][67][68] This was largely attributed by many, including former Deputy First Minister John Swinney,[69] to their stance on holding a second Scottish independence referendum and saw a swing to the Unionist parties, with seats being picked up by the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats and a reduction in their majorities in the other seats. Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, came out of this election with a majority of just 2 to the Liberal Democrat candidate. High-profile losses included SNP Commons leader Angus Robertson in Moray and former party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond in Gordon.

In response to Brexit, Sturgeon made pro-Europeanism central to the SNP's policy.

The SNP went on to achieve its best-ever European Parliament result in the final election before Brexit, the party taking its MEP total to 3 or half of Scottish seats and achieving a record vote share for the party. This was also the best performance of any party in the era of proportional elections to the European Parliament in Scotland. This was suggested as being due to the party's europhile sentiment during what amounted to a single-issue election, with parties that lacked a clear message performing poorly, such as Labour finishing in 5th place and losing all of their Scottish MEPs for the first time.

Later that year the SNP experienced a surge in the 2019 general election, winning 45.0% of the vote and 48 seats, its second-best result ever. Although the party suffered a loss to the Liberal Democrats, it gained the seat of its then UK leader Jo Swinson, along with 7 from the Conservatives and 6 from Labour. This victory was generally attributed to Sturgeon's cautious approach regarding holding a second independence referendum and a strong emphasis on EU membership during the election.[70][failed verification] The following January, the UK-wide Conservative majority ensured that the UK left the EU.

At the 2021 Scottish election, the SNP won 64 seats, one seat short of a majority, albeit achieving a record high vote number, vote share and constituency seats, and leading to another minority government led by the SNP. Sturgeon emphasized after her party's win that it would focus on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as pushing for a second referendum on independence.[71]

Although in 2021 they won with a minority, a majority of MSPs elected had came from parties that supported Scottish Independence, this prompted negotiations started between the SNP and the Scottish Green Party to secure some form of deal that would see Green ministers appointed to government and the Scottish Greens backing SNP policies, with hopes that this united front on independence would solidify the SNP's mandate for the second independence referendum.

Constitution and structure[edit]

The local Branches are the primary level of organisation in the SNP. All of the Branches within each Scottish Parliament constituency form a Constituency Association, which coordinates the work of the Branches within the constituency, coordinates the activities of the party in the constituency and acts as a point of liaison between an MSP or MP and the party. Constituency Associations are composed of delegates from all of the Branches within the constituency.

The annual National Conference is the supreme governing body of the SNP and is responsible for determining party policy and electing the National Executive Committee. The National Conference is composed of:

  • delegates from every Branch and Constituency Association
  • the members of the National Executive Committee
  • every SNP MSP and MP
  • all SNP councillors
  • delegates from each of the SNP's Affiliated Organisations (Young Scots for Independence, SNP Students, SNP Trade Union Group, the Association of Nationalist Councillors, the Disabled Members Group, the SNP BAME Network, Scots Asians for Independence, and Out for Independence)

There are also regular meetings of the National Assembly, which provides a forum for detailed discussions of party policy by party members.

Membership[edit]

The SNP experienced a large surge in membership following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.[72] In 2013 the party's membership stood at just 20,000,[73] but that number had swelled to over 100,000 by 2015.[74] Annual accounts submitted by the party to the Electoral Commission showed the SNP to have over 119,000 members in 2021.[1]

European affiliation[edit]

The SNP retains close links with Plaid Cymru, its counterpart in Wales. MPs from both parties co-operate closely with each other and work as a single parliamentary group within the House of Commons. Both the SNP and Plaid Cymru are members of the European Free Alliance (EFA), a European political party comprising regionalist political parties. The EFA co-operates with the larger European Green Party to form The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament.

Before its affiliation with The Greens–European Free Alliance, the SNP had previously been allied with the European Progressive Democrats (1979–1984), Rainbow Group (1989–1994) and European Radical Alliance (1994–1999).

As the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the SNP has no MEPs.

Policies[edit]

Ideological foundations[edit]

The Scottish National Party did not have a clear ideological position until the 1970s, when it sought to explicitly present itself as a social democratic party in terms of party policy and publicity.[75][76] During the period from its foundation until the 1960s, the SNP was essentially a moderate centrist party.[75] Debate within the party focused more on the SNP being distinct as an all-Scotland national movement, with it being neither of the left nor the right, but constituting a new politics that sought to put Scotland first.[76][77]

The SNP was formed through the merger of the centre-left National Party of Scotland (NPS) and the centre-right Scottish Party.[76] The SNP's founders were united over self-determination in principle, though not its exact nature, or the best strategic means to achieve self-government. From the mid-1940s onwards, SNP policy was radical and redistributionist concerning land and in favour of 'the diffusion of economic power', including the decentralisation of industries such as coal to include the involvement of local authorities and regional planning bodies to control industrial structure and development.[75] Party policies supported the economic and social policy status quo of the post-war welfare state.[75][78]

By the 1960s, the SNP was starting to become defined ideologically, with a social democratic tradition emerging as the party grew in urban, industrial Scotland, and its membership experienced an influx of social democrats from the Labour Party, the trade unions and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[79][80] The emergence of Billy Wolfe as a leading figure in the SNP also contributed to the leftwards shift. By this period, the Labour Party was also the dominant party in Scotland, in terms of electoral support and representation. Targeting Labour through emphasising left-of-centre policies and values was therefore electorally logical for the SNP, as well as tying in with the ideological preferences of many new party members.[80] In 1961, the SNP conference expressed the party's opposition to the siting of the US Polaris submarine base at the Holy Loch. This policy was followed in 1963 by a motion opposed to nuclear weapons: a policy that has remained in place ever since.[81] The 1964 policy document, SNP & You, contained a clear centre-left policy platform, including commitments to full employment, government intervention in fuel, power and transport, a state bank to guide economic development, encouragement of cooperatives and credit unions, extensive building of council houses (social housing) by central and local government, pensions adjusted to cost of living, a minimum wage and an improved national health service.[75]

The 1960s also saw the beginnings of the SNP's efforts to establish an industrial organisation and mobilise amongst trade unionists in Scotland, with the establishment of the SNP Trade Union Group, and identifying the SNP with industrial campaigns, such as the Upper-Clyde Shipbuilders Work-in and the attempt of the workers at the Scottish Daily Express to run as a co-operative.[75] For the party manifestos for the two 1974 general elections, the SNP finally self-identified as a social democratic party, and proposed a range of social democratic policies.[82][83] There was also an unsuccessful proposal at the 1975 party conference to rename the party as the Scottish National Party (Social Democrats).[84] In the UK-wide referendum on Britain's membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) in the same year as the aforementioned attempted name change, the SNP campaigned for Britain to leave the EEC.[85][86]

There were further ideological and internal struggles after 1979, with the 79 Group attempting to move the SNP further to the left, away from being what could be described a "social-democratic" party, to an expressly "socialist" party. Members of the 79 Group – including future party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond – were expelled from the party. This produced a response in the shape of the Campaign for Nationalism in Scotland from those who wanted the SNP to remain a "broad church", apart from arguments of left vs. right. The 1980s saw the SNP further define itself as a party of the political left, such as campaigning against the introduction of the poll tax in Scotland in 1989; one year before the tax was imposed on the rest of the UK.[75]

Ideological tensions inside the SNP are further complicated by arguments between the so-called SNP gradualists and SNP fundamentalists. In essence, gradualists seek to advance Scotland to independence through further devolution, in a "step-by-step" strategy. They tend to be in the moderate left grouping, though much of the 79 Group was gradualist in approach. However, this 79 Group gradualism was as much a reaction against the fundamentalists of the day, many of whom believed the SNP should not take a clear left or right position.[75]

Economic policies[edit]

The Sturgeon Government in 2017 adjusted income tax rates so that low earners would pay less and those earning more than £33,000 a year would pay more.[87] Previously the party had replaced the flat rate Stamp Duty with the LBTT, which uses a graduated tax rate.[88] Whilst in government, the party was also responsible for the establishment of Revenue Scotland to administer devolved taxation.

Having previously defined itself in opposition to the poll tax[75] the SNP has also championed progressive taxation at a local level. Despite pledging to introduce a local income tax[89] the Salmond Government found itself unable to replace the council tax and the party has, particularly since the ending of the council tax freeze[90] under Nicola Sturgeon's leadership, committing to increasing the graduated nature of the tax.[91] Conversely, the party has also supported capping and reducing Business Rates in an attempt to support small businesses.[92]

It has been noted that the party contains a broader spectrum of opinion regarding economic policy than most political parties in the UK due to its status as "the only viable vehicle for Scottish independence",[93] with the party's parliamentary group at Westminster in 2016 including socialists such as Tommy Sheppard and Mhairi Black, capitalists such as Stewart Hosie and former Conservative, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.[93][94]

Social policies[edit]

Under Sturgeon's leadership, Scotland was twice in succession named the best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality.[95] The party is considered very tolerant of gays, lesbians and bisexuals - something that historically was not the case.[96][97]

Party policy aims to introduce gender self-identification[98] to allow an easier process of gender recognition for transgender community.[99] However, the policy is highly controversial within the SNP and many of the party's social conservatives have expressed concerns that the reforms would be open to abuse and allow predatory men into women's spaces.[96][100] The Scottish Government paused the legislation in order to find "maximum consensus" on the issue[96] and commentators described the issue as having divided the SNP like no other, with many dubbing the debate a "civil war".[101][102][103] In January 2021 a former trans officer in the SNP's LGBT wing, Teddy Hopes, quit the party, describing it was one of the “core hubs of transphobia in Scotland".[104] Large numbers of LGBT activists followed suit and Sturgeon released a video message in which she said that transphobia is "not acceptable" and that she hoped they would one day rejoin the party.[105][106]

Particularly since Nicola Sturgeon's elevation to First Minister the party has highlighted its commitments to gender equality – with her first act being to appoint a gender balanced cabinet.[107] The SNP have also taken steps to implement all-women shortlists whilst Sturgeon has introduced a mentoring scheme[108] to encourage women's political engagement.[109]

The SNP supports multiculturalism[110] with Scotland receiving thousands of refugees from the Syrian Civil War.[111] To this end it has been claimed that refugees in Scotland are better supported than those in England.[112] More generally, the SNP seeks to increase immigration to combat a declining population[113] and calling for a separate Scottish visa even within the UK.[114]

Foreign and defence policies[edit]

The SNP increasingly support Atlanticist institutions like NATO.

Despite traditionally supporting military neutrality[115] the SNP's policy has in recent years moved to support both the Atlanticist and Europeanist traditions. This is particularly evident in the conclusion of the NATO debate within the party in favour of those who support membership of the military alliance.[116] This is despite the party's continuing opposition to Scotland hosting nuclear weapons and then-leader Salmond's criticism of both the Kosovo intervention[117] and the Iraq War.[118] The party has placed an emphasis on developing positive relations with the United States in recent years[119] despite a lukewarm reaction to the election of Scottish American Donald Trump as President due to long running legal disputes.[120]

Sturgeon meets EU leader Jean-Claude Juncker, 2017. Pro-Europeanism has been central to the SNP under Sturgeon's leadership.

Having opposed continued membership in the 1975 referendum, the party has supported membership of the European Union since the adoption of the Independence in Europe policy during the 1980s. Consequentially, the SNP supported remaining within the EU during the 2016 referendum where every Scottish council area backed this position.[121] Consequently, the party opposed Brexit and sought a further referendum on the withdrawal agreement,[122] ultimately unsuccessfully. The SNP would like to see an independent Scotland as a member of the European Union and NATO[123] and has left open the prospect of an independent Scotland joining the euro.[124]

The SNP has also taken a stance against Russian interference abroad – the party supporting the enlargement of the EU and NATO to areas such as the Western Balkans and Ukraine to counter this influence.[125][126] The party called for repercussions for Russia regarding the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal[127] and has criticised former leader Alex Salmond for broadcasting a chat show on Kremlin-backed[128] network RT.[129] Consequently, party representatives have expressed support for movements such as Euromaidan that support the independence of countries across Eastern Europe.[130][better source needed]

The party have supported measures including foreign aid which seek to facilitate international development[131] through various charitable organisations.[132] In recognition of Scotland's historic links to the country, these programmes are mostly focused in Malawi[133] in common with previous Scottish governments. With local authorities across the country, including Glasgow City Council being involved in this partnership since before the SNP took office in 2007.[134]

Health and education policies[edit]

The SNP abolished parking charges at hospitals including the Victoria Hospital, Glasgow

The SNP have pledged to uphold the public service nature of NHS Scotland and are consequently opposed to any attempts at privatisation of the health service,[135] including any inclusion in a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States. The party has been fond of increasing provision under the NHS with the introduction of universal baby boxes based on the Finnish scheme.[136] This supported child development alongside other commitments including the expansion of free childcare for children younger than school age and the introduction of universal free school meals in the first three years of school.[137]

University tuition fees were abolished under Alex Salmond.

Previously, SNP governments have abolished hospital parking charges[138] as well as prescription charges[139] in efforts to promote enhanced public health outcomes by increasing access to care and treatment. Furthermore, during Sturgeon's premiership, Scotland became the first country in the world to introduce alcohol minimum unit pricing to counter alcohol problems.[140] Recently, the party has also committed to providing universal access to sanitary products[141] and the liberalisation of drugs policy[142] through devolution, in an effort to increase access to treatment and improve public health outcomes. Between 2014 and 2019 the party slashed the budget for drug and alcohol treatments by 6.3%[143] - a cut that has been linked with Scotland recording the highest number of drug deaths per head in Europe.[144]

The party also promotes universal access to education, with one of the first acts of the Salmond government being to abolish tuition fees.[145] More recently, the party has turned its attention to widening access to higher education[146] with Nicola Sturgeon stating that education is her number one priority.[147] At school level, the Curriculum for Excellence is currently undergoing a review.[148]

Constitution policies[edit]

The SNP is supportive of the monarchy.

[149]

The foundations of the SNP are a belief that Scotland would be more prosperous by being governed independently from the United Kingdom, although the party was defeated in the 2014 referendum on this issue.[150] The party has since sought to hold a second referendum at some point in the future, perhaps related to the outcome of Brexit,[151] as the party sees a referendum as the only route to independence. The party is constitutionalist and as such rejects holding such a referendum unilaterally or any course of actions that could lead to comparisons with cases such as Catalonia[152] with the party seeing independence as a process that should be undertaken through a consensual process alongside the UK Government. As part of this process towards independence, the party supports increased devolution to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government, particularly in areas such as welfare and immigration.[153]

Official SNP policy is supportive of the monarchy. Many party members are republicans but party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, believes it is a "model with many merits", although she has proposed reducing the funds spent on the royal family.[149][154] Separately, the SNP has always opposed the UK's unelected upper house and would like to see both it and the House of Commons elected by a form of proportional representation.[155] The party also supports the introduction of a codified constitution, either for an independent Scotland or the UK as a whole,[156] going as far as producing a proposed interim constitution for Scotland during the independence referendum campaign.[157]

Fundamentalists and gradualists[edit]

There have always been divisions within the party on how to achieve Scottish independence, with one wing described as 'fundamentalists' and the other 'gradualists'.

The SNP leadership generally subscribe to the gradualist viewpoint, that being the idea that independence can be won by the accumulation by the Scottish Parliament of powers that the UK Parliament currently has over time.

Fundamentalism stands in opposition to the so-called gradualist point of view, which believes that the SNP should emphasise independence more widely to achieve it. The argument goes that if the SNP is unprepared to argue for its central policy then it is unlikely ever to persuade the public of its worthiness.[158]

Leadership[edit]

Leader of the Scottish National Party[edit]

Leader of the Scottish National Party
Leader
(birth-death)
Portrait Political Office Took Office Left Office
Sir Alexander MacEwen
(1875–1941)
Mcewan.jpg Provost of Inverness (1925–1931)
Inverness Town Councillor (1908–1931)
Inverness-shire County Councillor for Benbecula (1931–1941)[159]
Candidate for Western Isles (1935)
former member, Liberal Party
founding member, Scottish Party
7 April 1934 1936
Prof Andrew Dewar Gibb KC Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg Candidate for Combined Scottish Universities (1936, 1938)
former member, Unionist Party; Scottish Party
1936 1940
William Power
(1873–1951)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg Candidate for Argyllshire (1940) 1940 30 May 1942
Douglas Young
(1913–1973)
Douglas Young, circa 1945.jpg Candidate for Kirkcaldy Burghs (1944) 30 May 1942 9 June 1945
Prof Bruce Watson
(1910–1988)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg 9 June 1945 May 1947
Robert McIntyre
(1913–1998)
MP for Motherwell (1945)
Provost of Stirling (1967–1975)
Stirling Burgh Councillor (1956–1975)
former member, Labour Party
May 1947 June 1956
James Halliday
(1927–2013)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg Candidate for Stirling and Falkirk (1955 and 1959)
Candidate for West Fife (1970)
June 1956 5 June 1960
Arthur Donaldson
(1901–1993)
Arthur Donaldson, circa 1945.jpg Angus County Councillor (1946–1955)
Forfar Town Councillor (1945–1968)
former member, National Party of Scotland
5 June 1960 1 June 1969
William Wolfe
(1924–2010)
William Wolfe (cropped).gif Candidate for West Lothian (1970–79) 1 June 1969 15 September 1979
Gordon Wilson
(1938–2017)
MP for Dundee East (1974–1987) 15 September 1979 22 September 1990
The Right Hon. Alex Salmond
(born 1954)
(1st Term)
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland (cropped).jpg MP for Banff and Buchan (1987–2010)
MSP for Banff and Buchan (1999–2001)
22 September 1990 26 September 2000
John Swinney
(born 1964)
John Swinney.png Deputy First Minister (since 2014)
MSP for Perthshire North (since 2011)
MSP for North Tayside (1999–2011)
MP for North Tayside (1997–2001)
26 September 2000 3 September 2004
The Right Hon. Alex Salmond
(born 1954)
(2nd Term)
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland (cropped).jpg First Minister (2007–2014)
MSP for Aberdeenshire East (2011–2016)
MSP for Gordon (2007–2011)
MP for Gordon (2015–2017)
3 September 2004 14 November 2014
The Right Hon. Nicola Sturgeon
(born 1970)
Nicola Sturgeon election infobox 3.jpg First Minister (since 2014)
Deputy First Minister (2007–2014)
MSP for Glasgow Southside (since 2011)
MSP for Glasgow Govan (2007–2011)
MSP for Glasgow (1999–2007)
14 November 2014 Incumbent

Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party[edit]

Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party
Depute Leader
(birth-death)
Portrait Political Office Took Office Left Office
Sandy Milne
(1920–1984)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg Councillor for Stirling (1950s) 17 May 1964[160] 5 June 1966[160]
William Wolfe
(1924–2010)
William Wolfe (cropped).gif Candidate for West Lothian (1966) 5 June 1966[160] 1 June 1969
George Leslie
(born 1936)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg Councillor for Calderwood/St Leonards (19741978) 1 June 1969 30 May 1971[160]
Douglas Henderson
(1935–2006)
(1st Term)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg MP for East Aberdeenshire (1974–1979) 30 May 1971[160] 3 June 1973[160]
Gordon Wilson
(1938–2017)
MP for Dundee East (1974–1987) 3 June 1973[160] 2 June 1974[160]
Margo MacDonald
(1943–2014)
MSP for Lothian (1999–2014)
MP for Glasgow Govan (1973–1974)
2 June 1974[160] 15 September 1979[160]
Douglas Henderson
(1935–2006)
(2nd Term)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg MP for East Aberdeenshire (1974–1979) 15 September 1979[160] 30 May 1981[160]
Jim Fairlie
(born 1940)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg Candidate for Dunfermline West (1983) 30 May 1981[160] 15 September 1984[160]
Margaret Ewing
(1945–2006)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg MSP for Moray (1999–2006)
MP for Moray (1987–2001)
MP for East Dunbartonshire (1974–1979)
15 September 1984[160] 26 September 1987[160]
The Right Hon. Alex Salmond
(born 1954)
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland (cropped).jpg MP for Banff and Buchan (1987–2010) 26 September 1987[160] 22 September 1990
Alasdair Morgan
(born 1945)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg MSP for South of Scotland (2003–2011)
MSP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (1999–2003)
MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (1997–2001)
22 September 1990 22 September 1991[160]
Jim Sillars
(born 1937)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg MP for Glasgow Govan (1988–1992)
MP for South Ayrshire (1970–1979)
22 September 1991[160] 25 September 1992[160]
Allan Macartney
(1941–1998)
Male portrait placeholder cropped.jpg MEP for North East Scotland (1994–1998) 25 September 1992[160] 25 August 1998[160]
John Swinney
(born 1964)
John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Sustainable Growth (1).jpg MSP for Perthshire North (since 2011)
MSP for North Tayside (1999–2011)
MP for North Tayside (1997–2001)
25 August 1998[160] 26 September 2000
Roseanna Cunningham
(born 1951)
Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Environment (1).jpg MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire (2011–2021)
MSP for Perth (1999–2011)
MP for Perth (1997–2001)
MP for Perth and Kinross (1995–1997)
26 September 2000 3 September 2004
The Right Hon. Nicola Sturgeon
(born 1970)
Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister & Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing SMALL.JPG Deputy First Minister (2007–2014)
MSP for Glasgow Southside (since 2011)
MSP for Glasgow Govan (2007–2011)
MSP for Glasgow (1999–2007)
3 September 2004 14 November 2014
Stewart Hosie
(born 1963)
MP for Dundee East (since 2005) 14 November 2014 13 October 2016
The Right Hon. Angus Robertson
(born 1969)
Angus Robertson Conference.jpg MSP for Edinburgh Central (since 2021)
MP for Moray (2001–2017)
13 October 2016 8 June 2018
Keith Brown
(born 1961)
Keith Brown SNP Conference.jpg MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane (since 2011)
MSP for Ochil (2007–2011)
Leader of Clackmannanshire Council (2003–2007)
Councillor for Alva (1999–2007)
8 June 2018 Incumbent
Mike Russell, President of the Scottish National Party

President of the Scottish National Party[edit]

National Secretary of the Scottish National Party[edit]

Leader of the parliamentary party, Scottish Parliament[edit]

Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster Leader

Leader of the parliamentary party, House of Commons[edit]

Chief Executive Officer[edit]

Current SNP Council Leaders[edit]

Government Ministers and Shadow Cabinet[edit]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

As of May 2021, the Cabinet of the Scottish Government is as follows:

Cabinet Secretaries[161]
Portfolio Minister Image
First Minister The Right Hon. Nicola Sturgeon
MSP for Glasgow Southside
Official portrait of Nicola Sturgeon (cropped).jpg
Deputy First Minister John Swinney
MSP for Perthshire North
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister.png
Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes
MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Keith Brown
MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Keith Brown.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Shirley-Anne Somerville
MSP for Dunfermline
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley Anne Sommerville.png
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf
MSP for Glasgow Pollok
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson
MSP for Falkirk West
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture The Right Hon. Angus Robertson
MSP for Edinburgh Central
Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Shona Robison
MSP for Dundee City East
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands Mairi Gougeon
MSP for Angus North and Mearns
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon.jpg

House of Commons[edit]

As of February 2021, the Shadow Cabinet of the SNP in Westminster is as follows.[162]

Portfolio Shadow Secretary/Minister Image
Westminster Leader The Right Hon. Ian Blackford
MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Official portrait of Rt Hon Ian Blackford MP crop 3.jpg
Westminster Deputy Leader
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
Kirsten Oswald
MP for East Renfrewshire
Kirsten Oswald MP.jpg
Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss
MP for Glasgow Central
Official portrait of Alison Thewliss MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Foreign Secretary Alyn Smith
MP for Stirling
Official portrait of Alyn Smith MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Home Secretary Stuart McDonald
MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
Official portrait of Stuart C McDonald MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Drew Hendry
MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Official portrait of Drew Hendry crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Shadow Minister for Europe
Philippa Whitford
MP for Central Ayrshire
Official portrait of Dr Philippa Whitford MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Linden
MP for Glasgow East
Official portrait of David Linden MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Stephen Flynn
MP for Aberdeen South
Official portrait of Stephen Flynn crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Mhairi Black
MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
Official portrait of Mhairi Black MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Immigration Anne McLaughlin
MP for Glasgow North East
Official portrait of Anne McLaughlin MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Nicolson
MP for Ochil and South Perthshire
Official portrait of John Nicolson MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Patricia Gibson
MP for North Ayrshire and Arran
Official portrait of Patricia Gibson MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Deidre Brock
MP for Edinburgh North and Leith
Official portrait of Deidre Brock crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales Richard Thomson
MP for Gordon
Official portrait of Richard Thomson MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence Stewart McDonald
MP for Glasgow South
Official portrait of Stewart Malcolm McDonald MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Gavin Newlands
MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North
Official portrait of Gavin Newlands MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Shadow Minister for Military Personnel and Veterans
Carol Monaghan
MP for Glasgow North West
Official portrait of Carol Monaghan MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Chris Law
MP for Dundee West
Official portrait of Chris Law MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Stewart Hosie
MP for Dundee East
Official portrait of Stewart Hosie crop 3.jpg
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Pete Wishart
MP for Perth and North Perthshire
Official portrait of Pete Wishart crop 3.jpg
Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change Alan Brown
MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Official portrait of Alan Brown MP crop 3.jpg
Shadow Attorney General Angela Crawley
MP for Lanark and Hamilton East
Official portrait of Angela Crawley MP crop 3.jpg

Present elected representatives[edit]

Members of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

Members of Parliament[edit]

Councillors[edit]

The SNP had 431 councillors in Local Government elected from the 2017 Scottish local elections.

Electoral performance[edit]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Election[163] Leader Constituency Regional Total seats +/– Pos. Government
Vote % Seats Vote % Seats
1999 Alex Salmond 672,768 28.7
7 / 73
638,644 27.3
28 / 56
35 / 129
Steady 2nd Opposition
2003 John Swinney 455,722 23.7
9 / 73
399,659 20.9
18 / 56
27 / 129
Decrease 8 Steady 2nd Opposition
2007 Alex Salmond 664,227 32.9
21 / 73
633,611 31.0
26 / 56
47 / 129
Increase 20 Increase 1st Minority
2011 902,915 45.4
53 / 73
876,421 44.0
16 / 56
69 / 129
Increase 22 Steady 1st Majority
2016 Nicola Sturgeon 1,059,898 46.5
59 / 73
953,587 41.7
4 / 56
63 / 129
Decrease 6 Steady 1st Minority
2021 1,291,204 47.7
62 / 73
1,094,374 40.3
2 / 56
64 / 129
Increase 1 Steady 1st Minority

House of Commons[edit]

Election[163] Leader Scotland +/– Position Government
Votes % Seats Scotland United Kingdom
1935 Sir Alexander MacEwen 29,517 1.1
0 / 71
Steady Steady N/A
1945 Douglas Young 26,707 1.2
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1950 Robert McIntyre 9,708 0.4
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1951 7,299 0.3
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1955 12,112 0.5
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1959 Jimmy Halliday 21,738 0.5
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1964 Arthur Donaldson 64,044 2.4
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1966 128,474 5.0
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady N/A
1970 William Wolfe 306,802 11.4
1 / 71
Increase 1 Increase 4th Increase 5th Opposition
Feb 1974 633,180 21.9
7 / 71
Increase 6 Increase 3rd Increase 4th Opposition
Oct 1974 839,617 30.4
11 / 71
Increase 4 Steady 3rd Steady 4th Opposition
1979 504,259 17.3
2 / 71
Decrease 9 Decrease 4th Decrease 6th Opposition
1983 Gordon Wilson 331,975 11.7
2 / 72
Steady Decrease 5th Decrease 7th Opposition
1987 416,473 14.0
3 / 72
Increase 1 Increase 4th Increase 5th Opposition
1992 Alex Salmond 629,564 21.5
3 / 72
Steady Steady 4th Decrease 7th Opposition
1997 621,550 22.1
6 / 72
Increase 3 Increase 3rd Increase 5th Opposition
2001 John Swinney 464,314 20.1
5 / 72
Decrease 1 Steady 3rd Steady 5th Opposition
2005 Alex Salmond 412,267 17.7
6 / 59
Increase 1 Steady 3rd Steady 5th Opposition
2010 491,386 19.9
6 / 59
Steady Steady 3rd Steady 5th Opposition
2015 Nicola Sturgeon 1,454,436 50.0
56 / 59
Increase 50 Increase 1st Increase 3rd Opposition
2017 959,090 36.9
35 / 59
Decrease 21 Steady 1st Steady 3rd Opposition
2019 1,242,380 45.0
48 / 59
Increase 13 Steady 1st Steady 3rd Opposition
2017 is the SNP's best local election performance to date.

Local councils[edit]

Election[163] Votes Seats +/– Notes
% Pos.
1995 26.1 Steady 2nd
181 / 1,222
1999 28.9 Steady 2nd
201 / 1,222
Increase 20
2003 24.1 Steady 2nd
171 / 1,222
Decrease 30
2007 29.7 Increase 1st
363 / 1,222
Increase 192 Single transferable vote introduced.
2012 32.3 Steady 1st
425 / 1,223
Increase 62
2017 32.3 Steady 1st
431 / 1,227
Increase 6

Results by council (2017)[edit]

Council Votes Seats Administration
% Pos.
Aberdeen City 32.6 Increase 1st
19 / 45
Opposition
Aberdeenshire 28.4 Decrease 2nd
21 / 70
Opposition
Angus 31.2 Steady 1st
9 / 28
Opposition
Argyll and Bute 27.7 Increase 1st
11 / 36
Opposition
Clackmannanshire 37.2 Steady 1st
8 / 18
Minority
Dumfries and Galloway 21.6 Increase 2nd
11 / 43
SNP–Labour
Dundee City 41.3 Steady 1st
14 / 29
SNP–Independent
East Ayrshire 38.5 Steady 1st
14 / 32
Minority
East Dunbartonshire 29.2 Increase 1st
7 / 22
Minority (2017–2018)
Opposition (since 2018)
East Lothian 27.9 Decrease 3rd
6 / 22
Opposition
East Renfrewshire 24.3 Increase 2nd
5 / 18
SNP–Labour
City of Edinburgh 27.0 Increase 1st
19 / 63
SNP–Labour
Falkirk 38.8 Increase 1st
12 / 30
SNP–Independent
Fife 33.6 Increase 1st
29 / 75
SNP–Labour
Glasgow City 41.0 Increase 1st
39 / 85
Minority
Highland 24.9 Steady 2nd
22 / 74
Opposition
Inverclyde 32.8 Steady 2nd
7 / 22
Opposition
Midlothian 30.7 Steady 2nd
6 / 18
Opposition
Moray 31.6 Steady 1st
9 / 26
Opposition (2017–2018)
Minority (since 2018)
Na h-Eileanan Siar 19.2 Steady 2nd
7 / 31
Opposition
North Ayrshire 35.2 Steady 1st
11 / 33
Opposition
North Lanarkshire 38.5 Increase 1st
33 / 77
Opposition
Orkney 0.0 Steady 4th
0 / 21
Opposition
Perth and Kinross 31.2 Decrease 2nd
15 / 40
Opposition
Renfrewshire 37.6 Increase 1st
19 / 43
Minority
Scottish Borders 21.4 Steady 2nd
9 / 34
Opposition
Shetland 0.0 Increase 2nd
1 / 22
Opposition
South Ayrshire 30.2 Steady 2nd
9 / 28
SNP–Labour–Independent
South Lanarkshire 35.7 Increase 1st
27 / 64
Minority
Stirling 34.8 Decrease 2nd
9 / 23
SNP–Labour
West Dunbartonshire 40.1 Increase 1st
10 / 22
SNP–Independent
West Lothian 37.3 Increase 1st
13 / 33
Opposition

European Parliament (1979–2020)[edit]

The SNP achieved pluralities in all mainland council areas in 2019.
Election[163] Group Votes Scotland Seats +/– Notes
% Pos.
1979 EPD 19.4 Steady 3rd
1 / 8
1984 EDA 17.8 Steady 3rd
1 / 8
Steady
1989 RBW 25.6 Increase 2nd
1 / 8
Steady
1994 ERA 32.6 Steady 2nd
2 / 8
Increase 1
1999 G-EFA 27.2 Steady 2nd
2 / 8
Steady Proportional representation introduced.
2004 19.7 Steady 2nd
2 / 7
Steady
2009 29.1 Increase 1st
2 / 6
Steady
2014 29.0 Steady 1st
2 / 6
Steady
2019 37.8 Steady 1st
3 / 6
Increase 1 Last European election before Brexit.
The party won control of 5 districts in 1977.

Two-tier local councils (1975–1996)[edit]

District Councils Regional and Island Councils
Election[163] Votes Seats Councils Election[163] Votes Seats Councils
% Pos. % Pos.
1974 12.4 Steady 3rd
62 / 1,158
1 / 53
1974 12.6 Steady 3rd
18 / 524
0 / 12
1977 24.2 Steady 3rd
170 / 1,158
5 / 53
1978 20.9 Steady 3rd
18 / 524
0 / 12
1980 15.5 Steady 3rd
54 / 1,158
0 / 53
1982 13.4 Decrease 4th
23 / 524
0 / 12
1984 11.7 Decrease 4th
59 / 1,158
1 / 53
1986 18.2 Steady 4th
36 / 524
0 / 12
1988 21.3 Increase 3rd
113 / 1,158
1 / 53
1990 21.8 Increase 3rd
42 / 524
0 / 12
1992 24.3 Steady 3rd
150 / 1,158
1 / 53
1994 26.8 Increase 2nd
73 / 453
0 / 12

See also[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Brand, Jack, The National Movement in Scotland, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978
  • Brand, Jack, 'Scotland', in Watson, Michael (ed.), Contemporary Minority Nationalism, Routledge, 1990
  • Winnie Ewing, Michael Russell, Stop the World; The Autobiography of Winnie Ewing Birlinn, 2004
  • Richard J. Finlay, Independent and Free: Scottish Politics and the Origins of the Scottish National Party 1918–1945, John Donald Publishers, 1994
  • Hanham, H.J., Scottish Nationalism, Harvard University Press, 1969
  • Christopher Harvie, Scotland and Nationalism: Scottish Society and Politics 1707 to the Present, Routledge (4th edition), 2004
  • Gerry Hassan (ed.), The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power, Edinburgh University Press, 2009, ISBN 0748639918
  • Lynch, Peter, SNP: The History of the Scottish National Party, Welsh Academic Press, 2002
  • John MacCormick, The Flag in the Wind: The Story of the National Movement in Scotland, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1955
  • Mitchell, James, Strategies for Self-government: The Campaigns for a Scottish Parliament, Polygon, 1996
  • Mitchell, James, Bennie, Lynn and Johns, Rob, The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power, Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 0199580006
  • Mitchell, James and Hassan, Gerry (eds), Scottish National Party Leaders, Biteback, 2016.
  • Jim Sillars, Scotland: the Case for Optimism, Polygon, 1986
  • William Wolfe, Scotland Lives: the Quest for Independence, Reprographia, 1973

External links[edit]