Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
2003 Scottish Parliament election
The Scottish Parliament election, 2003, was the second election of members to the Scottish Parliament. It was held on 1 May 2003 and it brought no change in terms of control of the Scottish Executive. Jack McConnell, the Labour Party Member of the Scottish Parliament, remained in office as First Minister and the Executive continued as a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition; as of 2019, it remains the last general election victory for the Scottish Labour Party. The results showed rises in support for smaller parties, including the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party and declines in support for the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party; the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats each polled exactly the same percentage of the vote as they had in the 1999 election, with each holding the same number of seats as before. Three independent MSPs were elected: Dennis Canavan, Margo MacDonald and Jean Turner. John Swinburne, leader of the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party, was elected.
This led to talk of a "rainbow" Parliament, but the arithmetic meant that the coalition of Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrats could continue in office, which they did until the 2007 election. The decline in support for the SNP was viewed by some as a rejection of the case for Scottish independence. Others argued against this, pointing out that the number of MSPs in favour of independence rose because most of the minor parties such as the SSP share this position with the SNP. At the dissolution of Parliament on 31 March 2003, ten MSPs were not seeking re-election; the parliament was dissolved on 31 March 2003 and the campaign began thereafter. Labour – Jack McConnell SNP – John Swinney Conservative – David McLetchie Liberal Democrat – Jim Wallace Greens – Robin Harper & Eleanor Scott SSP – Tommy Sheridan Brian Fitzpatrick and Bearsden Rhoda Grant and Islands Iain Gray, Edinburgh Pentlands Angus MacKay, Edinburgh South Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife Elaine Thomson, Aberdeen North Kenneth Gibson, Glasgow Irene McGugan, North East Scotland Fiona McLeod, West of Scotland Gil Paterson, Central Scotland Lloyd Quinan, West of Scotland Michael Russell, South of Scotland Andrew Wilson, Central Scotland Keith Harding, Mid Scotland and Fife Lyndsay McIntosh, Central Scotland Notes: 1.
The Scottish Greens did not stand in any constituencies, instead concentrating their resources on winning the largest possible share of the "second" vote for'list' seats. 2. Three independents were elected: Margo MacDonald, Dennis Canavan and Jean Turner. 4. Overall turnout was 49.4%, down on the 1999 election. As part of the coalition deal between Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Labour allowed proportional representation to be used in Scottish local government elections; this system was first used in 2007. The Lib Dems declared a total of £130,358 was spent on the campaign, SSP spent £74,361 the Greens spent £65,852 and the Scottish Senior Citizens' Unity Party spent 3,558; the Scottish People's Alliance spent £188,889 and UKIP spent £39,504. Members of the Scottish Parliament, 2003-2007 Welsh Assembly election, 2003 and United Kingdom local elections, 2003 the same day British National Party- Freedom Pro-Life Alliance Scottish Liberal Democrats- Make the difference Scottish National Party- Release our potential Scottish Socialist Party – another Scotland is possible BBC: Vote Scotland 2003 Scottish Election Results 1997 – present
Donald Campbell Dewar was a Scottish politician, the inaugural First Minister of Scotland and an advocate of Scottish devolution. Dewar first entered politics as the Labour Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South following the 1966 general election. After losing his seat in 1970, he served in the House of Commons again from 1978 until his death in 2000, he served as Secretary of State for Scotland in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet from 1997 to 1999 campaigning for a Scottish Parliament in the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum. Having led the Labour campaign in the run up to the first Scottish Parliament election, he subsequently became the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Anniesland on 6 May 1999, was appointed Leader of the Scottish Labour Party a day and became the first Scottish First Minister as the head of a devolved coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, he died of a brain hemorrhage while in office, was succeeded as First Minister and Scottish Labour leader by Henry McLeish.
Dewar was born in Glasgow on 21 August 1937 as the only child of Mary Dewar. His father was a former general practitioner. Both Dewar's parents had ill health during his childhood, he attended The Glasgow Academy, was admitted to the University of Glasgow in 1957, where he gained a MA degree in History in 1961, a second-class LLB degree in 1964, was an editor of the Glasgow University Guardian. Dewar met several future politicians at the university Dialectic Society, including John Smith, Sir Menzies Campbell and Lord Irvine of Lairg. At university, he served as chair of the Glasgow University Labour Club and president of the Glasgow University Union. On 20 July 1964, Dewar married Alison Mary McNair, with whom he had two children: a daughter, a son, Ian. In 1972, McNair separated from Dewar and entered a relationship with the Derry Irvine, a prominent Scottish barrister in London. Dewar and his wife divorced in 1973, he never remarried. Dewar and Lord Irvine of Lairg never reconciled though they served in the same Cabinet from May 1997 until 1999.
He worked as a solicitor in Glasgow after graduating from university, was a member of the Labour Party, soon turned his sights towards being elected to parliament. In 1962, he was selected as the Labour candidate for the Aberdeen South constituency. In the 1964 general election, he failed to win the seat, but won it at the 1966 general election at the age of 28—defeating Priscilla Tweedsmuir by 1,799 votes. In his maiden speech to the House of Commons in the same year, Dewar spoke against a proposed increase on potato tax, his speech became his first political success: as the tax was repealed the following year in 1967. In 1967, Dewar was made a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Education Secretary Anthony Crosland, with whom Dewar confessed to having never establishing a rapport—saying Crosland was a "very odd man". Dewar remained in that position at the Department of Education until 1969, in which year Dewar opposed a visit to Aberdeen by the Springbok rugby team and staged a silent vigil near the team's ground.
In April 1968, he was proposed for a Minister of State position by Roy Jenkins, but was not appointed. Dewar lost his constituency seat to the Conservative candidate Iain Sproat at the 1970 general election by over 1,000 votes. Dewar spent much of the 1970s looking for another parliamentary seat, he hosted a Friday evening talk show on Radio Clyde, in June 1971 was beaten by Dennis Canavan when he applied for the seat of West Stirlingshire. He worked as a solicitor for much of that decade and became a reporter on children's panels and was involved with the Lanarkshire local authority. Dewar became a partner in Ross Harper Murphy, in 1975. In September 2009, Dennis Canavan said Dewar reacted callously when his son was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1989; the disease killed him. Canavan said Dewar remarked, "Oh no! That's all, he was mad enough before but I shudder to think what he'll be like now." Donald Dewar was selected for the seat Glasgow Garscadden by a majority of three, after Dewar's friend in the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers MP Willie Small died unexpectedly.
He was returned to parliament at a by-election on 13 April 1978, a crucial victory, seen as halting the rise of the Scottish National Party. In Scotland's first referendum on devolution, held in March 1979, he campaigned for a "Yes" vote alongside the Conservative Alick Buchanan-Smith and the Liberal Russell Johnston. Though they won a narrow majority, it fell short of the 40% required, contributing to the downfall of the Callaghan Government, in May 1979. Dewar gained a parliamentary platform as chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. After a year honing his inquisitorial skills, he joined the front bench in November 1980 as a Scottish affairs spokesman when Michael Foot became party leader. In 1981, as the Labour Party divided itself further due to internal disagreement, Dewar was deselected in his constituency by hard left activists, but he defended himself against this threat, he rose through the ranks, becoming Shadow Scottish Secretary in November 1983. On 21 December 1988, Dewar was in Lockerbie after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, as the member of the Shadow Cabinet in charge of Scottish affairs.
In 1992, John Smith made him Shadow Social Security Secretary and three years Dew
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP campaigns for Scottish independence, it is the second-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and ahead of the Conservative Party. The current Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has served as First Minister of Scotland since 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. 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 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. It was reduced back to a minority government at the 2016 election.
The SNP is the largest political party in Scotland in terms of both seats in the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments, membership, reaching 125,482 members as of August 2018, 35 MPs and over 400 local councillors. The SNP currently has 2 MEPs in the European Parliament, who sit in The Greens/European Free Alliance group; the SNP is a member of the European Free Alliance. 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; the SNP was formed in 1934 through the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party, with Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham as its first president. Professor Douglas Young, the leader of the Scottish National Party 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; the SNP first won a parliamentary seat at the Motherwell by-election in 1945, but Robert McIntyre MP lost the seat at the general election three months later.
They next won a seat in 1967, when Winnie Ewing was the surprise winner of a by-election in the safe Labour seat of Hamilton. This brought the SNP to national prominence, leading to the establishment of the Kilbrandon Commission; the SNP hit a high point in the October 1974 general election, polling a third of all votes in Scotland and returning 11 MPs to Westminster. This success was not surpassed until the 2015 general election. However, the party experienced a large drop in its support at the 1979 General election, followed by a further drop at the 1983 election. In the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary general election, the SNP emerged as the largest party with 47 seats, narrowly ousting the Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats and Alex Salmond became Scottish First Minister; the Scottish Green Party supported Salmond's election as First Minister, 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.
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 designed to prevent one party from winning an outright majority. Based on their 2011 majority, the SNP government held 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; the SNP rebounded from the loss in the independence referendum at the UK general election in May 2015, led by Salmond's successor as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The party went from holding six seats in the House of Commons to 56 at the expense of the Labour Party. All but three of the fifty-nine constituencies in the country elected an SNP candidate. BBC News described the historic result as a "Scots landslide".
At the 2016 Scottish Parliament 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. The party gained an additional 1.1% of the constituency vote from the 2011 election, losing 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. At the United Kingdom general election, 2017 the SNP underperformed compared to polling expectations, losing 21 seats to bring their number of Westminster MPs down to 35; this was attributed by many, including former Deputy First Minister John Swinney, 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 and the Liberal Democrats and a reduction in their majorities in the other seats.
Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, came o
Politics of Scotland
Scotland is a country, in a political union with the rest of the United Kingdom. Having been directly governed by the UK Government since 1707, a system of devolution was established in 1999, after the Scottish people voted by a firm majority to re-establish a primary law making Scottish Parliament in a referendum held in 1997. Scotland entered into a political union with England in 1707, since has sent representatives to the Palace of Westminster, which succeeded the Parliament of England to become the British Parliament. 59 Members of Parliament represent Scottish constituencies at Westminster, issues such as the constitution, foreign affairs, social security, issues of medical ethics, fiscal and monetary policy are decided on a nationwide UK level. In 1999, a 129-member Scottish Parliament was established in Edinburgh. In the UK government, Scottish affairs are represented by the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP; the Scottish Government is headed by a First Minister, the leader of the political party with the most support in the Scottish Parliament Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The head of state in Scotland is the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. There are six Members of the European Parliament elected by Scotland, as the UK is a member state of the European Union. Scotland can best be described as having a multi-party system. In the Scottish Parliament, the centre-left pro-independence Scottish National Party is the party which forms the devolved government. Opposition parties include: the Scottish Conservative Party, Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Green Party. Elections are held once every five years, with 73 Members being elected to represent constituencies, the remaining 56 elected via a system of proportional representation. At Westminster, Scotland is represented by 35 MPs from the Scottish National Party, 13 from the Conservative Party, 7 MPs from the Labour Party and 4 from the Liberal Democrats. Today, the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom remains a prominent political issue. On Thursday 18 September 2014, the Scottish electorate voted in a referendum on whether or not to become independent, opted to stay as part of the United Kingdom, with 55.3% voting to stay in the United Kingdom and 44.7% voting for independence.
The party with the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament is the Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scottish independence. The current First Minister of Scotland is SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has led a government since November 2014; the previous First Minister, Alex Salmond, led the SNP to an overall majority victory in the May 2011 general election, lost in 2016 and now forms a minority government. Other parties represented in the parliament are the Labour Party, Conservative Party which form the official opposition, Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green Party; the next Scottish Parliament election is due to be held in May 2021. Under devolution, Scotland is represented by 59 MPs in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom elected from territory-based Scottish constituencies, out of a total of 650 MPs in the House of Commons. A Secretary of State for Scotland, who prior to devolution headed the system of government in Scotland, sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom and is responsible for the limited number of powers the office retains since devolution, as well as relations with other Whitehall Ministers who have power over reserved matters.
The Scottish Parliament can refer devolved matters back to Westminster to be considered as part of United Kingdom-wide legislation by passing a Legislative Consent Motion — referred to as a Sewel Motion. This has been done on a number of occasions where it has been seen as either more efficient, or more politically expedient to have the legislation considered by Westminster; the Scotland Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for reserved Scottish affairs. The current Secretary of State for Scotland is a Conservative; until 1999, Scottish peers were entitled to sit in the House of Lords. The main political debate in Scotland tends to revolve around attitudes to the constitutional question. Under the pressure of growing support for Scottish independence, a policy of devolution had been advocated by all three GB-wide parties to some degree during their history; this question dominated the Scottish political scene in the latter half of the twentieth century with Labour leader John Smith describing the revival of a Scottish parliament as the "settled will of the Scottish people".
Now that devolution has occurred, the main argument about Scotland's constitutional status is over whether the Scottish Parliament should accrue additional powers, or seek to obtain full independence. The long term question is: should the Scottish parliament continue to be a subsidiary assembly created and abolished by the constitutionally dominant and sovereign parliament of the United Kingdom or should it have an independent existence as of right, with full sovereign powers? To clarify these issues, the SNP-led Scottish Government published Choosing Scotland's Future, a consultation document directed to the electorate under the National Conv
Robin Charles Moreton Harper, is a Scottish politician, was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothians region. He was co-convener of the Scottish Green Party. Harper became an MSP in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the first elected Green parliamentarian in the United Kingdom. Harper was educated at Moray, he graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1962. He worked as a Modern Studies teacher at Boroughmuir High School and before, an English teacher in Kenya. Harper joined the Ecology Party's Scottish branch in 1985. At the time, the branch only had 35 members, its AGM that year was held in his flat, he was elected unopposed as its convenor and secretary, remained a leading figure as it became first the UK-wide Green Party the independent Scottish Green Party. Harper is a patron of many organisations including LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation dedicated to the inclusion and advancement of the rights of lesbian, gay and transgender young people in Scotland.
He is an Honorary Vice-President of English-Speaking Union Scotland. He was elected as Rector of the University of Aberdeen in 2005, having served as Rector of the University of Edinburgh. Harper is the Honorary President of the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group. In 2008, he was appointed President of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts. Harper stood for election at the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999, was elected as an additional member for the Lothians region, becoming the first elected Green Party parliamentarian in British political history. In an emotional speech, he promised to be a critical voice on the environment in the newly-created devolved Parliament, he criticised the Scottish Executive's decision to split ministerial responsibility for the environment in 2001. He served as his party's sole representative in the first Parliament until the 2003 election, when the Scottish Green Party won another 6 seats in the regional lists, he was the party's spokesman on education and young people.
In 2004, he was a member of the Scottish Parliament team in the TV general knowledge show University Challenge: The Professionals. He and fellow team members Richard Baker, Jamie Stone, captain, Stewart Stevenson beat a Welsh Assembly team by 110 points to 75. In January 2007, The Scotsman reported that Harper was being considered for the next Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. Harper stated that he did not know of this story, but said "it would be an honour to be considered". Following the 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament, Harper was returned as a list MSP for the Lothians, this time one of only two Green Party members elected. After an agreement with the Scottish National Party, the party with the largest mandate from the election, the Green MSPs including Harper voted for Alex Salmond to become First Minister of Scotland but the Greens declined to enter a formal coalition with the Scottish National Party; as part of the deal, fellow Green MSP Patrick Harvie was nominated to head the Holyrood Transport and Climate Change Committee.
In 2009, Harper and Harvie voted to reject an SNP government budget. He did not seek re-election in 2011. In September 2014, Harper became chairman of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. At the beginning of December 2013, Harper announced that he would "absolutely vote no" in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, going on to say that he would like to help the Better Together campaign and that there was a "significant minority" of Greens who were opposed to independence. Robin Harper – MSP for the Lothians website, in use from 2006–2008
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is referred to by the metonym Holyrood; the Parliament is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament, elected for four-year terms under the additional member system: 73 MSPs represent individual geographical constituencies elected by the plurality system, while a further 56 are returned from eight additional member regions, each electing seven MSPs. The most recent general election to the Parliament was held on 5 May 2016, with the Scottish National Party winning a plurality; the original Parliament of Scotland was the national legislature of the independent Kingdom of Scotland, existed from the early 13th century until the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. As a consequence, both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England ceased to exist, the Parliament of Great Britain, which sat at Westminster in London was formed.
Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the powers of the devolved legislature were specified by the Scotland Act 1998. The Act delineates the legislative competence of the Parliament – the areas in which it can make laws – by explicitly specifying powers that are "reserved" to the Parliament of the United Kingdom; the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in all areas that are not explicitly reserved to Westminster. The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish Parliament, can extend or reduce the areas in which it can make laws; the first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999. The competence of the Scottish Parliament has been amended numerous times since most notably by the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016, with some of the most significant changes being the expansion of the Parliament's powers over taxation and welfare. Before the Treaty of Union 1707 united the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England into a new state called "Great Britain", Scotland had an independent parliament known as the Parliament of Scotland.
Initial Scottish proposals in the negotiation over the Union suggested a devolved Parliament be retained in Scotland, but this was not accepted by the English negotiators. For the next three hundred years, Scotland was directly governed by the Parliament of Great Britain and the subsequent Parliament of the United Kingdom, both seated at Westminster, the lack of a Parliament of Scotland remained an important element in Scottish national identity. Suggestions for a'devolved' Parliament were made before 1914, but were shelved due to the outbreak of the First World War. A sharp rise in nationalism in Scotland during the late 1960s fuelled demands for some form of home rule or complete independence, in 1969 prompted the incumbent Labour government of Harold Wilson to set up the Kilbrandon Commission to consider the British constitution. One of the principal objectives of the commission was to examine ways of enabling more self-government for Scotland, within the unitary state of the United Kingdom.
Kilbrandon published his report in 1973 recommending the establishment of a directly elected Scottish Assembly to legislate for the majority of domestic Scottish affairs. During this time, the discovery of oil in the North Sea and the following "It's Scotland's oil" campaign of the Scottish National Party resulted in rising support for Scottish independence, as well as the SNP; the party argued that the revenues from the oil were not benefitting Scotland as much as they should. The combined effect of these events led to Prime Minister Wilson committing his government to some form of devolved legislature in 1974. However, it was not until 1978 that final legislative proposals for a Scottish Assembly were passed by the United Kingdom Parliament. Under the terms of the Scotland Act 1978, an elected assembly would be set up in Edinburgh provided that a referendum be held on 1 March 1979, with at least 40% of the total electorate voting in favour of the proposal; the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum failed: although the vote was 51.6% in favour of a Scottish Assembly, with a turnout of 63.6%, the majority represented only 32.9% of the eligible voting population.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, demand for a Scottish Parliament grew, in part because the government of the United Kingdom was controlled by the Conservative Party, while Scotland itself elected few Conservative MPs. In the aftermath of the 1979 referendum defeat, the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly was initiated as a pressure group, leading to the 1989 Scottish Constitutional Convention with various organisations such as Scottish churches, political parties and representatives of industry taking part. Publishing its blueprint for devolution in 1995, the Convention provided much of the basis for the structure of the Parliament. Devolution continued to be part of the platform of the Labour Party which, in May 1997, took power under Tony Blair. In September 1997, the Scottish devolution referendum was put to the Scottish electorate and secured a majority in favour of the establishment of a new devolved Scottish Parliament, with tax-varying powers, in Edinburgh. An election was held on 6 May 1999, on 1 July of that year power was transferred from Westminster to the new Parliament.
Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles in partnership with local Ed