1969 Scottish National Party leadership election
← 1967 23 September 1969 1979 →
Candidate William Wolfe Arthur Donaldson
Popular vote 544 238
Percentage 69.6% 30.4%

Leader before election

Arthur Donaldson

Elected Leader

William Wolfe

There was a Scottish National Party leadership election in 1969. The election saw the incumbent Arthur Donaldson defeated by William Wolfe.

By 1969, Arthur Donaldson had been party leader for nine years, and was in his late 60s. Despite his success in growing the party, Donaldson was not without his critics, and at the 1967 SNP Annual Conference he had faced a leadership challenge from Douglas Drysdale, which he comfortably defeated.

In January 1969, Arthur Donaldson announced his intention to stand down from the SNP leadership. Many party members felt the SNP needed someone younger than Donaldson (then 68 years old) to lead the party.[1] However, following a number of requests from SNP branches and members that he reconsider his decision to resign so close to a forthcoming general election, he decided to put himself forward for re-nomination as leader at the 1969 SNP Annual National Conference. At conference in June of that year, the SNP's deputy leader, William Wolfe, was elected as leader by 544 votes to 238 for Donaldson.[1]


Candidate Delegate votes[2]
Votes %
William Wolfe Green tickY 544
Arthur Donaldson 238


  1. ^ a b [1] James Halliday and Gordon Wilson, 'Donaldson, Arthur William (1901–1993)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press