Scottish National Party
Scots National Pairty
Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba
AbbreviationSNP
LeaderHumza Yousaf
Depute LeaderKeith Brown
Westminster LeaderStephen Flynn
PresidentVacant[1]
Chief ExecutiveMurray Foote
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 (June 2023)Decrease 73,936[2]
Ideology
Political positionCentre-left[19][20]
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
Colours  Yellow
  Black
Anthem"Scots Wha Hae"[21][22]
House of Commons (Scottish seats)
43 / 59
House of Commons (All seats)
43 / 650
Scottish Parliament[23]
63 / 129
Local government in Scotland[24]
453 / 1,227
Website
snp.org

The Scottish National Party (SNP; Scots: Scots National Pairty, Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba [ˈpʰaːrˠʃtʲi ˈn̪ˠaːʃən̪ˠt̪ə ˈhal̪ˠapə]) is a Scottish nationalist and social democratic political party. The party holds 63 of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament and 43 out of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons in Westminster. It has 453 local councillors of 1,227.

The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom and for Scotland's membership in the European Union,[13][25][26] with a platform based on civic nationalism.[11][12]

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. As of 24 April 2023, the party had 74,889 members.[29] It currently has 43 members of Parliament (MPs), 64 members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and over 450 local councillors.[30] The SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance (EFA). The party does not have any members of the House of Lords on the principle that it opposes the upper house of Parliament and calls for it to be scrapped.[31]

History

Main article: History of the Scottish National Party

Foundation and early breakthroughs (1934–1970)

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] 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.

Alexander MacEwen, the first leader of the Scottish National Party from 1934 to 1936.

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)

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.[34]

1974 was to prove something of an annus mirabilis for the party as it deployed its highly effective It's Scotland's oil campaign.[35][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.[36] 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.

In 1976, James Callaghan's minority government made an agreement with the SNP and Plaid Cymru. In return for their support in the Commons, the government would respond to the Kilbrandon commission and legislate to devolve powers from Westminster to Scotland and Wales.[37] The resulting Scotland Act 1978 would create a Scottish assembly, subject to a referendum. Labour, the Liberals and the SNP campaigned for a "yes" vote in the referendum on the Scotland Act and "yes" won a majority, but a threshold imposed by anti-devolution Labour MP George Cunningham requiring 40% of the electorate to be in favour was not reached due to low turnout.[38] When the government decided not to implement the Act, the SNP's MPs withdrew their support and voted to support Margaret Thatcher's motion of no confidence in Callaghan's government.[39] In the ensuing general election, the party experienced a large drop in its support. Reduced to just 2 MPs, the successes of October 1974 were not to be surpassed until the 2015 general election.[40]

Factional divisions and infighting (1980s)

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 the left-wing 79 Group.[41] 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 without 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.[42][failed verification]

First Salmond era (1990s)

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.[43] 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 of the two 1974 elections. 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.[44]

Opposing Labour-Liberal Democrat coalitions (1999–2007)

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,[45] victorious in the ensuring leadership election.[46] 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.[47][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.[48][49]

Following an unsuccessful leadership challenge in 2003, Swinney stepped down following disappointing results in the European elections of 2004[50] with Salmond victorious in the subsequent leadership contest despite initially refusing to be candidate.[51] 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)

The first SNP administration led by Alex Salmond as First Minister of Scotland

In 2007, the SNP emerged as the largest party in the Scottish Parliament with 47 of 129 seats, narrowly ousting Scottish Labour with 46 seats and Alex Salmond becoming First Minister after ousting the Liberal Democrats in Gordon. The Scottish Greens 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.[52] Despite this, Salmond's minority government tended to strike budget deals with the Conservatives to stay in office.[53]

In the final few years of the New Labour government, there were four parliamentary by-elections in Scotland. The SNP saw marginal swings towards the party in three of them; 2006 in Dunfermline and West Fife, 2008 in Glenrothes and 2009 in Glasgow North East. None were as notable than the 2008 Glasgow East by-election, in which the SNP's John Mason took the third safest Labour seat in Scotland on a 22.5% swing.[54]

In May 2011, the SNP won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament with 69 seats.[55][56] This was followed by a reverse in the party's previous opposition to NATO membership at the party's annual conference in 2012[57] despite Salmond's refusal to apologise for the Kosovo broadcast on the occasion of the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.[58]

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.[59] Exit polling by Lord Ashcroft suggested that many No voters thought independence too risky,[60] while others voted for the Union because of their emotional attachment to Britain.[61] Older voters, women and middle class voters voted no in margins above the national average.[61]

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

Sturgeon years (2014–2023)

In 2015, the SNP won 56 out of 59 seats and 50% of the popular vote.

The SNP rebounded from their loss at the independence referendum at the 2015 UK general election eight months later, led by former Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56, ending 51 years of dominance by the Scottish 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.[62]

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 a net 10 seats from Labour. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats each gained two constituency seats from the SNP on 2011.

Nicola Sturgeon led the party and served as First Minister for nine years from November 2014 to March 2023.

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 UK membership of the EU. Despite a consequential increase in the Conservative Party vote at the 2017 local elections[63] 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.[64]

At the 2017 UK general election, the SNP underperformed compared to polling expectations, losing 21 seats to bring their number of Commons seats down to 35 – however, this was still the party's second-best result ever at the time.[65][66][67] This was largely attributed by many, including former Deputy First Minister John Swinney,[68] 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. High-profile losses included SNP Commons leader Angus Robertson and former SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond.

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.

Later that year, the SNP experienced a surge in support at the 2019 general election, winning a 45.0% share of the vote and 48 seats, its second-best result ever. The party gained 7 seats 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 retaining EU membership during the election campaign.[69][failed verification] The following January, the strengthened Conservative government ensured that the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020.

Sturgeon addresses journalists at Bute House over her plans to hold a referendum in 2023, a proposal that would fail after the Supreme Court ruled the parliament didn't have the power.

At the 2021 Scottish election, the SNP won 64 seats, one seat short of a majority, albeit achieving a record high number of votes, vote share and constituency seats, and leading to another minority government led by the SNP. Sturgeon emphasised after her party's victory that it would focus on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic as well as pushing for a second referendum on independence.[70]

Although in 2021 they won with a minority, a majority of MSPs elected had come from parties that supported Scottish independence; this prompted negotiations between the SNP and the Scottish Green Party to secure a 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. The Third Sturgeon government was formed with Green support.[71]

In July 2021 the Scottish Police launched an investigation into possibly missing funds raised between 2017 and 2020 specifically for a second referendum. The investigation was given the code name Operation Branchform.[72]

In the 2022 Scottish local elections, the SNP remained as the biggest party, winning a record number of councillors and securing majority control of Dundee.[73]

On 15 February 2023, Sturgeon announced her intention to resign as leader and first minister.[74]

On 16 March 2023, it was revealed that the SNP's membership had fallen to 72,000, down from over 125,000 at the end of 2019. As a result of this, CEO Peter Murrell resigned on 18 March after criticism was levied at him over the way the figures were published.[75]

Yousaf era (2023 onwards)

See also: Yousaf government and Operation Branchform

Humza Yousaf was announced as the next Leader of the Scottish National Party on 27 March 2023 after winning the leadership election. Yousaf defeated challenger Kate Forbes in the final stage, with 52% of the vote to Forbes' 48%.[76][77][78] The leadership election was dominated by the strategy for a second independence referendum and the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which has divided the party.[79][80] On 29 March 2023, Yousaf was appointed First Minister of Scotland.

On 18 April 2023, Yousaf's government published its policy prospectus titled "Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership - A fresh start"[81]

In April, two SNP officials were arrested and released without charge in connection with the investigation into Scottish National Party finances. Peter Murrell was arrested on 5 April[82] and Colin Beattie, the SNP treasurer, on April 18.[83] Murrell is the husband of former party leader, Nicola Sturgeon. The day Murrell was arrested and interviewed, Police Scotland also searched a number of addresses, including the SNP's headquarters and Murrell's home in Glasgow.[84][85] Beattie resigned as SNP treasurer and was replaced by Stuart McDonald.[86]

Also in April, it was reported that one of the SNP's auditors, Johnston Carmichael, had resigned from their role around October 2022, and were yet to be replaced, three months before the party's accounts 2022 were due to be submitted to the Electoral Commission.[87] New auditors were appointed in May.[88] Filing the party accounts in June 2023, the new auditors highlighted that they had not been able to find original records for some cash and cheques.[89][90]

On 23 August 2023, Murray Foote was appointed as the new Chief Executive of the SNP.[91]

On 12 October 2023, MP Lisa Cameron crossed the floor to join the Scottish Conservatives, ahead of counting the votes on her selection contest within the SNP for the next general election. She became the first elected representative from the SNP to defect to a unionist party. Cameron claimed a "toxic and bullying" culture in the SNP led to her defection.[92][93]

On 15 October 2023, the SNP National Conference voted in favour of Yousaf's stategy on Scottish independence, including a number of amendments proposed from senior SNP representatives. This committed the SNP to launching a Scotland-wide independence campaign before the end of 2023.[94][95] Yousaf also made a number of policy annoucements, including a freeze on Council Tax rates, additional funding for the NHS to reduce waiting lists as well as the issuing of government bonds to fund infrastructure projects.[96][97][98]

Constitution and structure

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:

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

Membership

The SNP experienced a large surge in membership following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.[99] In 2013 the party's membership stood at just 20,000,[100] but that number had swelled to over 100,000 by 2015.[101] Annual accounts submitted by the party to the Electoral Commission showed the SNP to have over 119,000 members in 2021.[102] By the end of 2021, the party reported that it had 103,884 members.[103] Membership then continued to fall: to 85,000 at the end of 2022, and to 72,186 in March 2023.[29]

European affiliation

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),[104] 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.[105] 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).[106]

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

Policies

Ideology

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.[107][108] During the period from its foundation until the 1960s, the SNP was essentially a moderate centrist party.[107] 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.[108][109]

The SNP was formed through the merger of the centre-left National Party of Scotland (NPS) and the centre-right Scottish Party.[108] 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.[107] Party policies supported the economic and social policy status quo of the post-war welfare state.[107][110]

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.[111][112] 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.[112] 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.[113] 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.[107]

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.[107] 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.[114][115] There was also an unsuccessful proposal at the 1975 party conference to rename the party as the Scottish National Party (Social Democrats).[116] 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.[117][118]

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.[107]

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.[107]

Economy

During the 1970s the SNP campaigned widely on the political slogan It's Scotland's oil, where it was argued that the discovery of North Sea oil off the coast of Scotland, and the revenue that it created would not benefit Scotland to any significant degree while Scotland remained part of the United Kingdom.

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.[119] Previously the party had replaced the flat rate Stamp Duty with the LBTT, which uses a graduated tax rate.[120] 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[107] the SNP has also championed progressive taxation at a local level. Despite pledging to introduce a local income tax[121] the Salmond Government found itself unable to replace the council tax and the party has, particularly since the ending of the council tax freeze[122] under Nicola Sturgeon's leadership, committing to increasing the graduated nature of the tax.[123] Conversely, the party has also supported capping and reducing Business Rates in an attempt to support small businesses.[124]

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",[125] 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.[125][126]

Social justice

In 1980, when Robin Cook moved an amendment to legalise homosexual acts to the Bill which became the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980, the SNP's two MPs Gordon Wilson and Donald Stewart both voted against the amendment.[127]

In June 2000, the SNP supported the repeal of section 28, a series of laws across Britain that prohibited the "promotion of homosexuality" by local authorities.[128]

In government in July 2012, the SNP announced that they would legislate for civil and religious same-sex marriage in Scotland.[129] The bill was fast-tracked through the Scottish Parliament,[130] and approved with 105 MSPs in favour in February 2014.[131]

Under Sturgeon's leadership, Scotland was twice in succession named the best country in Europe for LGBT+ legal equality.[132] The party is considered very supportive of gays, lesbians and bisexuals - something that historically was not the case, as stated above.[133][134]

The SNP legislated to improve gender self-identification with the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. The policy was controversial within the SNP, with some of the party's social conservatives claiming the reforms could be open to abuse.[133][135] In 2020, the Scottish Government paused the legislation in order to find "maximum consensus" on the issue[133] and commentators described the issue as having divided the SNP like no other, with many dubbing the debate a "civil war".[136][137][138] In January 2021 a former trans officer in the SNP's LGBT wing, Teddy Hope, quit the party, describing it was one of the "core hubs of transphobia in Scotland".[139] 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.[140][141] In December 2022, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed by a majority of 86 to 39, with 9 SNP members voting against the bill and 54 for.[142]

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.[143] The SNP have also taken steps to implement all-women shortlists whilst Sturgeon has introduced a mentoring scheme[144] to encourage women's political engagement.[145]

The SNP supports multiculturalism[146] with Scotland receiving thousands of refugees from the Syrian Civil War.[147] To this end it has been claimed that refugees in Scotland are better supported than those in England.[148] More generally, the SNP seeks to increase immigration to combat a declining population[149] and calling for a separate Scottish visa even within the UK.[150] However, data for 2022 shows that Scotland houses proportionally fewer asylum seekers relative to its population than England.[151]

Foreign affairs and defence

The SNP increasingly supports Atlanticist institutions like NATO.

Despite traditionally supporting military neutrality[152] 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.[153] This is despite the party's continuing opposition to Scotland hosting nuclear weapons and then-leader Salmond's criticism of both the Kosovo intervention[154] and the Iraq War.[155] The party has placed an emphasis on developing positive relations with the United States in recent years[156] despite a lukewarm reaction to the election of part-Scottish American Donald Trump as President due to long running legal disputes.[157]

Sturgeon meeting EU leader Jean-Claude Juncker in 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.[158] Consequently, the party opposed Brexit and sought a further referendum on the withdrawal agreement,[159] ultimately unsuccessfully. The SNP would like to see an independent Scotland as a member of the European Union and NATO[160] and has left open the prospect of an independent Scotland joining the euro.[161]

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.[162][163] The party called for repercussions for Russia regarding the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal[164] and has criticised former leader Alex Salmond for broadcasting a chat show on Kremlin-backed[165] network RT.[166] Consequently, party representatives have expressed support for movements such as Euromaidan that support the independence of countries across Eastern Europe.[167][non-primary source needed][better source needed]

The party have supported measures including foreign aid which seek to facilitate international development[168] through various charitable organisations.[169] In recognition of Scotland's historic links to the country, these programmes are mostly focused in Malawi[170] 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.[171]

Health and education

The SNP abolished parking charges at hospitals including the Victoria Hospital in 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,[172] 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.[173] 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.[174]

University tuition fees were abolished under Alex Salmond.

Previously, SNP governments have abolished hospital parking charges[175] as well as prescription charges[176] 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.[177] Recently, the party has also committed to providing universal access to sanitary products[178] and the liberalisation of drugs policy[179] 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%[180] - a cut that has been linked with Scotland recording the highest number of drug deaths per head in Europe.[181]

The party aspires to promote universal access to education, with one of the first acts of the Salmond government being to abolish tuition fees[182] - although it has also introduced a cap on the number of Scots who can attend university and cut funding for further education colleges.[183][184] More recently, the party has turned its attention to widening access to higher education[185] with Nicola Sturgeon stating that education is her number one priority.[186] At school level, the SNP had the OECD review the Curriculum for Excellence.[187] When the review found that the "visionary ideals" of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) had not fully succeeded, they announced a series of educational reforms and the scrapping of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.[188] Furthermore, it has been claimed that a recent decline in Scotland's educational standards as illustrated by PISA studies is directly related to CfE's implementation in 2012.[189]

Constitution

See also: Scottish republicanism

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.[190] The party has since sought to hold a second referendum at some point in the future, perhaps related to the outcome of Brexit,[191] as the party sees a referendum as the only route to independence. In 2016 the party convened the Sustainable Growth Commission to advise on the economy and currency of an independent Scotland. Although the Sustainable Growth Commission's report, published in 2018, divides opinion it contains the party's official economic recommendations in the event of 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[192] 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.[193]

Official SNP policy is supportive of the monarchy. Many party members are republicans including party leader Humza Yousaf[194] but his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, believes it is a "model with many merits", although she has proposed reducing the funds spent on the royal family.[195][196] 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.[197] The party also supports the introduction of a codified constitution, either for an independent Scotland or the UK as a whole,[198] going as far as producing a proposed interim constitution for Scotland during the independence referendum campaign.[199]

Fundamentalists and gradualists

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 subscribes 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.[200]

Leadership

See also: Scottish National Party leadership election

Leader of the Scottish National Party

Main article: Leader of the Scottish National Party

Leader of the Scottish National Party
Leader
(birth-death)
Portrait Political office Took office Left office
Alexander MacEwen
(1875–1941)
Provost of Inverness (1925–1931)
Inverness Town Councillor (1908–1931)
Inverness-shire County Councillor for Benbecula (1931–1941)[201]
Candidate for Western Isles (1935)
former member, Liberal Party
founding member, Scottish Party
7 April 1934 1936
Prof Andrew Dewar Gibb KC
(1888–1974)
Candidate for Combined Scottish Universities (1936, 1938)
former member, Unionist Party; Scottish Party
1936 1940
William Power
(1873–1951)
Candidate for Argyllshire (1940) 1940 30 May 1942
Douglas Young
(1913–1973)
Candidate for Kirkcaldy Burghs (1944) 30 May 1942 9 June 1945
Prof Bruce Watson
(1910–1988)
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)
Candidate for Stirling and Falkirk (1955 and 1959)
Candidate for West Fife (1970)
June 1956 5 June 1960
Arthur Donaldson
(1901–1993)
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)
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)
MP for Banff and Buchan (1987–2010)
MSP for Banff and Buchan (1999–2001)
22 September 1990 26 September 2000
John Swinney
(born 1964)
Deputy First Minister (2014–2023)
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)
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)
First Minister (2014–2023)
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 27 March 2023
The Right Hon. Humza Yousaf
(born 1985)
First Minister (since 2023)
MSP for Glasgow Pollok (since 2016)
MSP for Glasgow (2011–2016)
27 March 2023 Incumbent

Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party

Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party
Depute Leader
(birth-death)
Portrait Political office Took office Left office
Sandy Milne
(1920–1984)
Councillor for Stirling (1950s) 17 May 1964[202] 5 June 1966[202]
William Wolfe
(1924–2010)
Candidate for West Lothian (1966) 5 June 1966[202] 1 June 1969
George Leslie
(1936–2023)
Councillor for Calderwood/St Leonards (19741978) 1 June 1969 30 May 1971[202]
Douglas Henderson
(1935–2006)
(1st Term)
MP for East Aberdeenshire (1974–1979) 30 May 1971[202] 3 June 1973[202]
Gordon Wilson
(1938–2017)
MP for Dundee East (1974–1987) 3 June 1973[202] 2 June 1974[202]
Margo MacDonald
(1943–2014)
MSP for Lothian (1999–2014)
MP for Glasgow Govan (1973–1974)
2 June 1974[202] 15 September 1979[202]
Douglas Henderson
(1935–2006)
(2nd Term)
MP for East Aberdeenshire (1974–1979) 15 September 1979[202] 30 May 1981[202]
Jim Fairlie
(born 1940)
Candidate for Dunfermline West (1983) 30 May 1981[202] 15 September 1984[202]
Margaret Ewing
(1945–2006)
MSP for Moray (1999–2006)
MP for Moray (1987–2001)
MP for East Dunbartonshire (1974–1979)
15 September 1984[202] 26 September 1987[202]
The Right Hon. Alex Salmond
(born 1954)
MP for Banff and Buchan (1987–2010) 26 September 1987[202] 22 September 1990
Alasdair Morgan
(born 1945)
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[202]
Jim Sillars
(born 1937)
MP for Glasgow Govan (1988–1992)
MP for South Ayrshire (1970–1979)
22 September 1991[202] 25 September 1992[202]
Allan Macartney
(1941–1998)
MEP for North East Scotland (1994–1998) 25 September 1992[202] 25 August 1998[202]
John Swinney
(born 1964)
MSP for Perthshire North (since 2011)
MSP for North Tayside (1999–2011)
MP for North Tayside (1997–2001)
25 August 1998[202] 26 September 2000
Roseanna Cunningham
(born 1951)
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)
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
The Right Hon. Stewart Hosie
(born 1963)
MP for Dundee East (since 2005) 14 November 2014 13 October 2016
The Right Hon. Angus Robertson
(born 1969)
MSP for Edinburgh Central (since 2021)
MP for Moray (2001–2017)
13 October 2016 8 June 2018
Keith Brown
(born 1961)
MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane (since 2011)
MSP for Ochil (2007–2011)
Leader of Clackmannanshire Council (1999–2003)
Councillor for Alva (1996–2007)
8 June 2018 Incumbent
Mike Russell, the most recent President of the Scottish National Party

President of the Scottish National Party

National Secretary of the Scottish National Party

Leader of the parliamentary party, Scottish Parliament

Stephen Flynn, SNP Westminster Leader

Leader of the parliamentary party, House of Commons

Chief Executive

Current SNP Council Leaders

Parts of this article (those related to local council leaders) need to be updated. The reason given is: not reflective of the 2022 local election results. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2022)

Scottish Parliament

Members of the Scottish Parliament

See also: Yousaf government, List of Scottish National Party Members of the Scottish Parliament, and 6th Scottish Parliament

The SNP has formed the Scottish Government since 2007. As of March 2023, the Cabinet of the Scottish Government is as follows:

Cabinet of Humza Yousaf
Portfolio Portrait Minister Term
Cabinet secretaries
First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP 2023–present
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Finance 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care Michael Matheson MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Jenny Gilruth MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition Màiri McAllan MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy Neil Gray MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs Angela Constance MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP 2023–present
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Mairi Gougeon MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson MSP 2021–present
Also attending cabinet meetings[206][a]
Permanent Secretary John-Paul Marks 2022–present
Minister for Cabinet and Parliamentary Business George Adam MSP 2021–present
Lord Advocate The Rt Hon. Dorothy Bain KC 2021–present

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Members of Parliament

See also: List of Scottish National Party MPs and List of MPs for constituencies in Scotland (2019–present)

The SNP hold a majority of Scottish seats in the House of Commons, and does not take seats in the House of Lords. As of December 2022, the SNP frontbench team in the House of Commons is as follows.[207]

Frontbench Team of Stephen Flynn
Portfolio Spokesperson
Group Leader Stephen Flynn MP
Deputy Leader Mhairi Black MP
Chief Whip Martin Docherty-Hughes MP
Economy The Rt Hon Stewart Hosie MP
Social Justice David Linden MP
Home Affairs Alison Thewliss MP
Justice and Immigration Stuart McDonald MP
Scotland Philippa Whitford MP
Europe and EU Accession Alyn Smith MP
Foreign Affairs Drew Hendry MP
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Patricia Gibson MP
Women and Equalities Kirsten Oswald MP
International Trade, Northern Ireland and Wales Richard Thomson MP
Energy and Industrial Strategy Alan Brown MP
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport John Nicolson MP
Defence Dave Doogan MP
House of Commons Business Deidre Brock MP
Levelling Up Chris Stephens MP
Cabinet Office Kirsty Blackman MP
Transport Gavin Newlands MP
Health Martyn Day MP
International Development Brendan O'Hara MP
Education Carol Monaghan MP

Local government

Councillors

The SNP had 453 councillors in local government elected from the 2022 Scottish local elections.

Electoral performance

Scottish Parliament

Election[208] 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

Election[208] Leader Scotland +/– Position Government
Votes % Seats Scotland United Kingdom
1935 Alexander MacEwen 29,517 1.1
0 / 71
Steady Steady
1945 Douglas Young 26,707 1.2
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
1950 Robert McIntyre 9,708 0.4
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
1951 7,299 0.3
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
1955 12,112 0.5
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
1959 Jimmy Halliday 21,738 0.5
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
1964 Arthur Donaldson 64,044 2.4
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
1966 128,474 5.0
0 / 71
Steady Steady Steady
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
2022 is the SNP's best local election performance to date.

Local councils

Election[208] 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
2022 34.1 Steady 1st
453 / 1,226
Increase 22

Results by council (2022)

Council Votes[209] Seats Administration
% Pos.
Aberdeen City 35.0 Steady 1st
20 / 45
SNP–Lib Dem
Aberdeenshire 30.8 Steady 2nd
21 / 70
Opposition
Angus 38.3 Steady 1st
13 / 28
SNP–Independent
Argyll and Bute 31.0 Steady 1st
12 / 36
Opposition
Clackmannanshire 39.4 Steady 1st
9 / 18
Minority
Dumfries and Galloway 28.2 Steady 2nd
11 / 43
SNP–Labour
Dundee City 41.4 Steady 1st
15 / 29
Majority
East Ayrshire 37.9 Steady 1st
14 / 32
Minority
East Dunbartonshire 30.4 Steady 1st
8 / 22
Minority
East Lothian 28.2 Increase 2nd
7 / 22
Opposition
East Renfrewshire 28.6 Increase 1st
6 / 18
Opposition
City of Edinburgh 25.9 Steady 1st
19 / 63
Opposition
Falkirk 39.7 Steady 1st
12 / 30
Minority
Fife 36.9 Steady 1st
34 / 75
Opposition
Glasgow City 35.5 Steady 1st
37 / 85
Minority
Highland 30.1 Increase 1st
22 / 74
SNP–Independent
Inverclyde 37.7 Steady 2nd
8 / 22
Opposition
Midlothian 37.6 Increase 1st
8 / 18
Minority
Moray 36.0 Decrease 2nd
8 / 26
Opposition
Na h-Eileanan Siar 21.3 Steady 2nd
6 / 29
Opposition
North Ayrshire 36.3 Steady 1st
12 / 33
Minority
North Lanarkshire 43.6 Steady 1st
36 / 77
Opposition
Orkney 0.0 Increase 3rd
0 / 21
Opposition
Perth and Kinross 36.6 Increase 1st
16 / 40
Minority
Renfrewshire 41.7 Steady 1st
21 / 43
Minority
Scottish Borders 21.0 Steady 2nd
9 / 34
Opposition
Shetland 4.4 Decrease 3rd
1 / 23
Opposition
South Ayrshire 33.4 Steady 2nd
9 / 28
Opposition
South Lanarkshire 36.9 Steady 1st
27 / 64
Opposition
Stirling 33.3 Increase 1st
8 / 23
Opposition
West Dunbartonshire 42.5 Decrease 2nd
9 / 22
Opposition
West Lothian 37.9 Steady 1st
15 / 33
Opposition

European Parliament (1979–2020)

The SNP achieved pluralities in all mainland council areas in 2019.
Election[208] 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)

District Councils Regional and Island Councils
Election[208] Votes Seats Councils Election[208] 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

Notes

  1. ^ The Co-leaders of the Scottish Greens also attend cabinet twice a year as part of the Bute House Agreement

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Further reading