2005 United Kingdom general election
The 2005 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 5 May 2005, to elect 646 members to the House of Commons. The Labour Party led by Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, with Blair becoming the only Labour leader beside Harold Wilson to form three majority governments. However, its majority now stood at 66 seats compared to the 160-seat majority it had held; as of 2019, it remains the last general election victory for the Labour Party. The Labour campaign emphasised a strong economy. Despite this, Labour retained its leads over the Conservatives in opinion polls on economic competence and leadership, Conservative leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard struggled to capitalise on Blair's unpopularity, with the party trailing Labour in the polls throughout the 2001-5 Parliament; the Conservatives campaigned on policies, such as immigration limits, improving poorly-managed hospitals and reducing high crime rates, all under the slogan "Are you thinking what we're thinking?".
The Liberal Democrats, led by Charles Kennedy, were opposed to the Iraq War, given that there had been no second UN resolution, collected votes from disenchanted Labour voters. Tony Blair was returned as Prime Minister, with Labour having 355 MPs, but with a popular vote of 35.2%. In terms of votes, it was only narrowly ahead of the Conservatives, but still had a comfortable lead in terms of seats; the Conservatives returned 198 MPs, with 32 more seats than they had won at the previous general election, won the popular vote in England, while still ending up with 91 fewer MPs in England than Labour. The Liberal Democrats saw their popular vote increase by 3.7% and won the most seats of any third party since 1923, with 62 MPs. Anti-war activist and former Labour MP George Galloway was elected as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow under the Respect – The Unity Coalition banner. In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Party, the more moderate of the main unionist parties, which had dominated Northern Irish politics since the 1920s, was reduced from six MPs to one, with party leader David Trimble himself being unseated.
The more hardline Democratic Unionist Party became the largest Northern Irish party, with nine MPs elected. Following the election, Conservative leader Michael Howard resigned and was succeeded by future Prime Minister David Cameron. Blair resigned as both Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party in June 2007, was replaced by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown; the election results were broadcast live on the BBC, presented by Peter Snow, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Paxman and Andrew Marr. The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority; the Conservative Party was seeking to regain seats lost to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats since the 1992 general election, move from being the Official Opposition into government. The Liberal Democrats hoped to make gains from both main parties, but the Conservative Party, with a "decapitation" strategy targeting members of the Shadow Cabinet; the Lib Dems had wished to become the governing party, or to make enough gains to become the Official Opposition.
In Northern Ireland the Democratic Unionist Party sought to make further gains from the Ulster Unionist Party in unionist politics, Sinn Féin hoped to overtake the Social Democratic and Labour Party in nationalist politics.. The pro-independence Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru stood candidates in every constituency in Scotland and Wales respectively. Many seats were contested by other parties, including several parties without incumbents in the House of Commons. Parties that were not represented at Westminster, but had seats in the devolved assemblies and/or the European Parliament, included the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the UK Independence Party, the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Socialist Party; the Health Concern party stood again. A full list of parties which declared their intention to run can be found on the list of parties contesting the 2005 general election. All parties campaigned using such tools as party manifestos, party political broadcasts and touring the country in what are referred to as battle buses.
Local elections in parts of England and in Northern Ireland were held on the same day. The polls were open for fifteen hours, from 07:00 to 22:00 BST; the election came just over three weeks after the dissolution of Parliament on 11 April by Queen Elizabeth II, at the request of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Following the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April, it was announced that the calling of the election would be delayed until 5 April. Thanks to eight years of sustained economic growth Labour could point to a strong economy, with greater investment in public services such as education and health; this was overshadowed, however, by the issue of the controversial 2003 invasion of Iraq, which met widespread public criticism at the time, would dog Blair throughout the campaign. The Chancellor, G
2011 Scottish Parliament election
The 2011 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday, 5 May 2011 to elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament. The election delivered the first majority government since the opening of Holyrood, a remarkable feat as the Additional Member System used to elect MSPs was implemented to prevent any party achieving an overall parliamentary majority; the Scottish National Party won 69 seats, the most the party has held at either a Holyrood or Westminster election, allowing leader Alex Salmond to remain First Minister of Scotland. The SNP gained 32 constituencies, twenty two from the Scottish Labour Party, nine from the Scottish Liberal Democrats and one from the Scottish Conservatives; such was the scale of their gains that, of the 73 constituencies in Scotland, only 20 came to be represented by MSPs of other political parties. The Scottish Labour Party lost seven seats and suffered their worst election defeat in Scotland since 1931, with huge losses in their traditional Central Belt constituencies and for the first time having to rely on the regional lists to elect members within these areas.
They did, remain the largest opposition party. Party leader Iain Gray announced his resignation following his party's disappointing result; the Scottish Liberal Democrats were soundly defeated. Tavish Scott announced his resignation as party leader shortly after the election. For Scottish Conservatives, the election proved disappointing as their popular vote dropped and their number of seats fell by 2, with party leader Annabel Goldie announcing her resignation. During the campaign, the four main party leaders engaged in a series of televised debates, as they had in every previous general election; these key debates were held on 29 March, 1 May, 3 May. The results of the election were broadcast live on BBC Scotland and STV, on the night of the election, it was the fourth general election since the devolved parliament was established in 1999 and was held on the same day as elections to the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly, as well as English local elections and the UK-wide referendum on the alternative vote.
Under the Scotland Act 1998, an ordinary general election to the Scottish Parliament was held on the first Thursday in May four years after the 2007 election. Because of the problems of voter confusion and a high number of spoilt ballots in 2007 due to holding Scottish parliamentary and local elections and under different voting systems, the next Scottish local elections were held in 2012 instead of 2011; this policy decision was contradicted, however, by the staging of the Alternative Vote referendum on 5 May 2011 as well. Labour MP Ian Davidson expressed opposition to the referendum being staged on the same date as other elections. Scottish Secretary Michael Moore stated that having the referendum on another date would cost an additional £17 million. British, Irish and European Union citizens living in Scotland who were aged 18 or over on election day were entitled to vote; the deadline to register to vote in the election was midnight on Friday 15 April 2011, though anyone who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on Tuesday 26 April 2011 to register.
It was held on the same day as elections for Northern Ireland's 26 local councils, the Northern Irish Assembly and Welsh Assembly elections, a number of local elections in England and the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum. The table below shows the notional figures for seats won by each party at the last election; the Conservatives have been the biggest gainers as a result of the boundary changes, winning an extra 3 seats and Labour has lost the most seats, losing 2 overall. The total number of Members of the Scottish Parliament elected to the Parliament is 129; the First Periodical Review of the Scottish Parliament's constituencies and regions by the Boundary Commission for Scotland was announced on 3 July 2007. The Commission published its provisional proposals for the regional boundaries in 2009; the Scottish Parliament uses an Additional Members System, designed to produce approximate proportional representation for each region. There are 8 regions each sub-divided into smaller constituencies.
There are a total of 73 constituencies. Each constituency elects one by the plurality system of election; each region elects seven additional member MSPs using an additional member system. A modified D'Hondt method, using the constituency results, is used to calculate which additional member MSPs the regions elect; the Scottish Parliament constituencies have not been coterminous with Scottish Westminster constituencies since the 2005 general election, when the 72 former Westminster constituencies were replaced with a new set of 59 larger, constituencies. For details of the Revised proposals for constituencies at the Next Scottish Parliament election - Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions from 2011 The Boundary Commission have recommended changes to the electoral regions used to elect "list" members of the Scottish Parliament; the recommendations can be summarised below. Glasgow Govan was replaced by Glasgow Southside; the seats of Glasgow Maryhill, Glasgow Springburn and Glasgow Baillieston were abolished and their territory was divided between the newly created Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn and Glasgow Provan, as well as the existing Glasgow Shettleston seat, moved eastwards.
Highlands and Islands retained 8 constituency seats. Caithness and Easter Ross was replaced with the larger Caithness and Ross seat. Ross, Skye an
The Scottish Borders is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh and Galloway, East Lothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and, to the south-west and east, the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland; the administrative centre of the area is Newtown St Boswells. The term Scottish Borders is used to designate the areas of southern Scotland and northern England that bound the Anglo-Scottish border; the Scottish Borders are in the eastern part of the Southern Uplands. The region is hilly and rural, with the River Tweed flowing west to east through it. In the east of the region, the area that borders the River Tweed is flat and is known as'The Merse'; the Tweed and its tributaries drain the entire region with the river flowing into the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed, forming the border with England for the last twenty miles or so of its length. The term Central Borders refers to the area in which the majority of the main towns of Galashiels, Hawick, Earlston, Newtown St. Boswells, St Boswells, Peebles and Tweedbank are located.
Two of Scotland's 40 national scenic areas lie within the region: The Eildon and Leaderfoot National Scenic Area covers the scenery surrounding Eildon Hill, extends to include the town of Melrose and Leaderfoot Viaduct. The Upper Tweeddale National Scenic Area covers the scenery surrounding the upper part of the River Tweed between Broughton and Peebles. 2011 Galashiels: 14,994 Hawick: 14,294 Peebles: 8,376 Selkirk: 5,784 Kelso: 5,639 Jedburgh: 4,030 Eyemouth: 3,546 Innerleithen: 3,031 Duns: 2,753 Melrose: 2,307 Coldstream: 1,946 Earlston: 1,779 The term Borders has a wider meaning, referring to all of the counties adjoining the English border including Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire – as well as Northumberland and Westmorland in England. Roxburghshire and Berwickshire bore the brunt of the conflicts with England, both during declared wars such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, armed raids which took place in the times of the Border Reivers. Thus, across the region are to be seen the ruins of many castles and towns.
The council area was created in 1975, by merging the historic counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire and Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian, as a two-tier region with the districts of Berwickshire and Lauderdale, Tweeddale within it. In 1996 the region became the districts were wound up; the region was created with the name Borders. Following the election of a shadow area council in 1995 the name was changed to Scottish Borders with effect from 1996. Although there is evidence of some Scottish Gaelic in the origins of place names such as Innerleithen and Longformacus, which contain identifiably Goidelic rather than Brythonic Celtic elements and are an indication of at least a Gaelic-speaking elite in the area, the main languages in the area since the 5th century appear to have been Brythonic and Old English, the latter of which developed into its modern forms of English and Scots. There are two British Parliamentary constituencies in the Borders. Berwickshire and Selkirk covers most of the region and is represented by John Lamont of the Conservatives.
The western Tweeddale area is included in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale constituency and is represented by David Mundell of the Conservatives. At Scottish Parliament level, there are two seats; the eastern constituency is Ettrick and Berwickshire, represented by Conservative Rachael Hamilton. The western constituency is Midlothian South and Lauderdale and is represented by SNP Christine Grahame. Following the 2012 local elections, the council administration was a coalition of Independents, Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats. Prior to the election a coalition of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents ruled; the Conservatives were the biggest party on the council with 10 seats, the Liberal Democrats had six. The SNP had nine seats and the Independents had seven. Two councillors form the Borders Party. Following the 2017 local elections, the council is now a coalition of Independents and Conservatives; the Conservatives became the largest party on the council with 15, an increase of 5.
At the Census held on 27 March 2011, the population of the region was 114,000, an increase of 6.78% from the 106,764 enumerated at the previous Census. The region had until September 2015 no working railway stations. Although the area was well connected to the Victorian railway system, the branch lines that supplied it were closed in the decades following the Second World War. A bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament to extend the Waverley Line, which aimed to re-introduce a commuter service from Edinburgh to Stow and Tweedbank; this section of the route re-opened on 6 September 2015, under the Borders Railway branding. The other railway route running through the region is the East Coast Main Line, with Edinburgh Waverley and Berwick being the nearest stations on that line, all of which are outwith the Borders. Since 2014 there has been discussion of re-opening the station at Reston, within the region and would serve Eyemouth. To the west, Carlisle and Lockerbie are the nearest stations on the West Coast Main Line.
The area is served by buses. Express bus services link the main towns with rail stations at Edinburgh and
Galloway is a region in southwestern Scotland comprising the historic counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. A native or inhabitant of Galloway is called a Gallovidian; the place name Galloway is derived from the Gaelic i nGall Gaidhealaib. The Gall Gaidheil meaning "Stranger-Gaidheil" referred to a population of mixed Scandinavian and Gaelic ethnicity that inhabited Galloway in the Middle Ages. Galloway is bounded by sea to the west and south, the Galloway Hills to the north, the River Nith to the east; the definition has, fluctuated in size over history. A hardy breed of black, hornless cattle named Galloway cattle is native to the region, in addition to the more distinctive'Belted Galloway' or'Beltie'. Galloway comprises that part of Scotland southwards from the Southern Upland watershed and westward from the River Nith. Traditionally it has been described as stretching from "the braes of Glenapp to the Nith"; the valleys of three rivers, the Urr Water, the Water of Ken and River Dee, the Cree, all running north-south, provide much of the good arable land, although there is some arable land on the coast.
However the landscape is rugged and much of the soil is shallow. The south slope and southern coast make for mild and wet climate, there is a great deal of good pasture; the northern part of Galloway is exceedingly rugged and forms the largest remaining wilderness in Britain south of the Highlands. This area is known as the Galloway Hills. Galloway has been famous both for horses and for cattle rearing, milk and beef production are both still major industries. There is substantial timber production and some fisheries; the combination of hills and high rainfall make Galloway ideal for hydroelectric power production, the Galloway Hydro Power scheme was begun in 1929. Since electricity generation has been a significant industry. More wind turbines have been installed at a number of locations on the watershed, a large offshore wind-power plant is planned, increasing Galloway's'green energy' production; the 2nd century geographer Ptolemy produced a map of Britain in his Geography, in which he describes the landmarks and peoples of the island.
The landmarks were identified long ago, a number of them relate to Galloway:In the west, the city of Rerigonium, shown on Ptolemy's map of the world, is a strong contender for the site of Pen Rhionydd, referred to in the Welsh Triads as one of the'three thrones of Britain' associated with the legendary King Arthur, may have been the caput of the sub-Roman Brythonic kingdom of Rheged. Rerigonium's exact position is uncertain except that it was'on Loch Ryan', close to modern day Stranraer; the earliest inhabitants were Brythonic Celts, recorded by the Romans as the Novantae tribe. According to tradition, before the end of Roman rule in Britain, St. Ninian established a church or monastery at Whithorn, which remained an important place of pilgrimage until the Reformation; the county is rich in prehistoric monuments and relics, amongst the most notable of which are the Drumtroddan Standing Stones, the Torhousekie Stone Circle, both in Wigtownshire and Cairnholy. There is evidence of one of the earliest pit-fall traps in Europe, discovered near Glenluce, Wigtownshire.
A Brythonic speaking kingdom dominated Galloway until the late 7th century when it was taken over by the English kingdom of Bernicia. English dominance was supplanted by Norse-Gaelic peoples between the 11th century; this can be seen in the context of widespread Norse domination of the Irish Sea, including extensive settlement in the Isle of Man and in the now English region of Cumbria south of Galloway. If it had not been for Fergus of Galloway who established himself in Galloway, the region would have been absorbed by Scotland; this did not happen because Fergus, his sons and great-grandson Alan, Lord of Galloway, shifted their allegiance between Scottish and English kings. During a period of Scottish allegiance a Galloway contingent followed David, King of Scots in his invasion of England and led the attack in his defeat at the Battle of the Standard. Alan died in 1234, he had an illegitimate son Thomas. The'Community of Galloway' wanted Thomas as their'king'. Alexander III of Scotland invaded Galloway.
The Community of Galloway was defeated, Galloway divided up between Alan's daughters, thus bringing Galloway's independent existence to an end. Alan's eldest daughter, married John de Balliol, their son became one of the candidates for the Scottish Crown. Scotland's Wars of Independence were disproportionately fought in Galloway. There were a large number of new Gaelic placenames being coined post 1320, because Galloway retained a substantial Gaelic speaking population for several centuries more. Following the Wars of Independence, Galloway became the fief of Archibald the Grim, Earl of Douglas and his heirs. Whithorn remained an important cultural centre, all the medieval Kings of Scots made pilgrimages there. Galwegian Gaelic seems to have lasted longer than Gaelic in other parts of Lowland Scotland, Margaret McMurray of Carrick appears to have been the last recorded speaker. In the years after the Union
Proportional representation characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party roughly n% of seats will be won by that party; the essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats; the most used families of PR electoral systems are party list PR, the single transferable vote, mixed member proportional representation. With party list PR, political parties define candidate voters vote for a list; the relative vote for each list determines how many candidates from each list are elected. Lists can be "closed" or "open".
Voting districts can be as large as a province or an entire nation. The single transferable vote uses small multiple-member districts, with voters ranking individual candidates in order of preference. During the count, as candidates are elected or eliminated, surplus or discarded votes that would otherwise be wasted are transferred to other candidates according to the preferences. STV enables voters to elect independent candidates. Mixed member proportional representation called the additional member system, is a two-tier mixed electoral system combining a non-proportional plurality/majoritarian election and a compensatory regional or national party list PR election. Voters have two votes, one for their single-member district and one for the party list, the party list vote determining the balance of the parties in the elected body. According to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, some form of proportional representation is used for national lower house elections in 94 countries. Party list PR, being used in 85 countries, is the most used.
MMP is used in seven lower houses. STV, despite long being advocated by political scientists, is used in only two: Ireland, since independence in 1922, Malta, since 1921; as with all electoral systems, both accepted and opposing claims are made about the advantages and disadvantages of PR. The case for proportional representation was made by John Stuart Mill in his 1861 essay Considerations on Representative Government: In a representative body deliberating, the minority must of course be overruled, but does it follow that the minority should have no representatives at all?... Is it necessary that the minority should not be heard? Nothing but habit and old association can reconcile any reasonable being to the needless injustice. In a equal democracy, every or any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives.
Man for man, they would be as represented as the majority. Unless they are, there is not equal government... There is a part whose fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, above all, contrary to the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its root and foundation. Many academic political theorists agree with Mill, that in a representative democracy the representatives should represent all segments of society. PR tries to resolve the unfairness of majoritarian and plurality voting systems where the largest parties receive an "unfair" "seat bonus" and smaller parties are disadvantaged and have difficulty winning any representation at all; the established parties in UK elections can win formal control of the parliament with as little as 35% of votes. In certain Canadian elections, majority governments have been formed by parties with the support of under 40% of votes cast. If turnout levels in the electorate are less than 60%, such outcomes allow a party to form a majority government by convincing as few as one quarter of the electorate to vote for it.
In the 2005 UK election, for example, the Labour Party under Tony Blair won a comfortable parliamentary majority with the votes of only 21.6% of the total electorate. Such misrepresentation has been criticized as "no longer a question of'fairness' but of elementary rights of citizens". Note intermediate PR systems with a high electoral threshold, or other features that reduce proportionality, are not much fairer: in the Turkish general election, 2002, using an open list system with a 10% threshold, 46% of votes were wasted. Plurality/majoritarian systems can disproportionately benefit regional parties that can win districts where they have a strong following, while other parties with national support but no strongholds, like the Greens, win few or no seats. An example is the Bloc Québécois in Canada that won 52 seats in the 1993 federal election, all in Quebec, on 13.5% of the national vote, while the Progressive Conservatives collapsed to two seats on 16% spread nationally. In the 2015 UK General Election, the Scottish National Party gained 56 seats, all in Sc
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
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