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
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
1987 United Kingdom general election
The 1987 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 11 June 1987, to elect 650 members to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The election was the third consecutive general election victory for the Conservative Party, second landslide under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, who became the first Prime Minister since the Earl of Liverpool in 1820 to lead a party into three successive electoral victories; the Conservatives ran a campaign focusing on a strong economy and strong defence. They emphasised that unemployment had fallen below the 3 million mark for the first time since 1981, inflation was standing at 4%, its lowest level for some twenty years; the tabloid media had strong support for the Conservative Party The Sun, which ran anti-Labour articles with headlines such as "Why I'm backing Kinnock, by Stalin". The Labour Party, led by Neil Kinnock, was moving towards a more centrist policy platform; the main aim of the Labour Party was to re-establish itself as the main progressive centre-left alternative to the Conservatives, after the rise of the Social Democratic Party forced Labour onto the defensive.
Indeed, the Labour Party succeeded in doing so at this general election. The Alliance between the SDP and the Liberal Party was renewed but co-leaders David Owen and David Steel could not agree whether to support either major party in the event of a hung parliament; the Conservatives were returned to government, having suffered a net loss of only 21 seats, leaving them with 376 MPs and a second landslide majority of 102. Labour succeeded in resisting the challenge by the SDP–Liberal Alliance to become the main opposition. Moreover, Labour managed to increase its vote share in Scotland and the North of England, yet Labour still returned only 229 MPs to Westminster, in certain London constituencies which Labour had held before the election, the Conservatives made gains. The election was a disappointment for the Alliance, who saw its vote share fall and suffered a net loss of one seat as well as former SDP leader Roy Jenkins losing his seat; this led to the two parties merging to become the Liberal Democrats.
In Northern Ireland, the main unionist parties maintained their alliance in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, however the Ulster Unionists lost two seats to the Social Democratic and Labour Party. The 1987 election is the last to date in which the Conservatives won the popular vote in a general election by more than 10 points and the last time they held more than 336 seats in the House of Commons, the 49th Parliament is the last time a Conservative government has lasted a full term with an overall majority of seats in Parliament; the election night was covered live on the BBC and presented by David Dimbleby, Peter Snow and Sir Robin Day. It was broadcast on ITV and presented by Sir Alastair Burnet, Peter Sissons and Alastair Stewart; the 1987 general election saw the election of the first Afro-Caribbean members of Parliament: Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng and Bernie Grant. MPs leaving Parliament as a result of this election included former Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan, Keith Joseph, James Prior, Ian Mikardo, Roy Jenkins, former Health Minister Enoch Powell and Clement Freud.
The Conservatives' campaign emphasised lower taxes, a strong economy and defence, employed rapid-response reactions to take advantage of Labour errors. Norman Tebbit and Saatchi and Saatchi spearheaded the Conservative campaign. However, when on "Wobbly Thursday" it was rumoured a Marplan opinion poll showed a 2% Conservative lead, the "exiles" camp of David Young, Tim Bell and the Young & Rubicam firm advocated a more aggressively anti-Labour message; this was when, according to Young's memoirs, Young got Tebbit by the lapels and shook him, shouting: "Norman, listen to me, we're about to lose this fucking election." In his memoirs Tebbit defends the Conservative campaign: "We finished as planned on the ground where Labour was weak and we were strong—defence and the economy." During the election campaign however Tebbit and Thatcher argued. Bell and Saatchi and Saatchi produced memorable posters for the Conservatives, such as a picture of a British soldier's arms raised in surrender with the caption "Labour's Policy On Arms"—a reference to Labour's policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament.
The first Conservative party political broadcast played on the theme of "Freedom" and ended with a fluttering Union Jack, the hymn I Vow to Thee, My Country and the slogan "It's Great To Be Great Again". The Labour campaign was a marked change from previous efforts. Labour's first party political broadcast, dubbed Kinnock: The Movie, was directed by Hugh Hudson of Chariots of Fire fame, concentrated on portraying Kinnock as a caring, compassionate family man, it had "Ode to Joy" as its music. He was critical of the high unemployment that the government's economic policies had resulted in, as well as condemning the wait for treatment that many patients had endured on the National Health Service. Kinnock's personal popularity jumped 16 points overnight after the initial broadcast. On 24 May, Kinnock was interviewed by David Frost and claimed that Labour's alternative defence strategy in the event of a Soviet attack would be "using the resources you've got to make any occupation untenable". In a speech two days Thatcher attacked Labour's defence policy as a programme for "defeat, surrender and prolonged guerrilla fighting...
I do not understand how anyone
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. Eligibility varies by country, the voting-eligible population should not be confused with the total adult population. Age and citizenship status are among the criteria used to determine eligibility, but some countries further restrict eligibility based on sex, race, or religion. After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1980s. In general, low turnout is attributed to indifference, or a sense of futility. According to Stanford University political scientists Adam Bonica and Michael McFaul, there is a consensus among political scientists that "democracies perform better when more people vote."Low turnout is considered to be undesirable. As a result, there have been many efforts to increase voter turnout and encourage participation in the political process. In spite of significant study into the issue, scholars are divided on the reasons for the decline.
Its cause has been attributed to a wide array of economic, cultural and institutional factors. Different countries have different voter turnout rates. For example, turnout in the United States 2012 presidential election was about 55%. In both Belgium, which has obligatory attendance, Malta, which does not, participation reaches about 95%. In Belgium there is obligatory attendance, misinterpreted as compulsory voting The chance of any one vote determining the outcome is low; some studies show that a single vote in a voting scheme such as the Electoral College in the United States has an lower chance of determining the outcome. Other studies claim that the Electoral College increases voting power. Studies using game theory, which takes into account the ability of voters to interact, have found that the expected turnout for any large election should be zero; the basic formula for determining whether someone will vote, on the questionable assumption that people act rationally, is P B + D > C, where P is the probability that an individual's vote will affect the outcome of an election, B is the perceived benefit that would be received if that person's favored political party or candidate were elected, D stood for democracy or civic duty, but today represents any social or personal gratification an individual gets from voting, C is the time and financial cost involved in voting.
Since P is zero in most elections, PB is near zero, D is thus the most important element in motivating people to vote. For a person to vote, these factors must outweigh C. Experimental political science has found that when P is greater than zero, this term has no effect on voter turnout. Enos and Fowler conducted a field experiment that exploits the rare opportunity of a tied election for major political office. Informing citizens that the special election to break the tie will be close has little mobilizing effect on voter turnout. Riker and Ordeshook developed the modern understanding of D, they listed five major forms of gratification that people receive for voting: complying with the social obligation to vote. Other political scientists have since added other motivators and questioned some of Riker and Ordeshook's assumptions. All of these concepts are inherently imprecise, making it difficult to discover why people choose to vote. Several scholars have considered the possibility that B includes not only a personal interest in the outcome, but a concern for the welfare of others in the society.
In particular, experiments in which subject altruism was measured using a dictator game showed that concern for the well-being of others is a major factor in predicting turnout and political participation. Note that this motivation is distinct from D, because voters must think others benefit from the outcome of the election, not their act of voting in and of itself. There are philosophical and practical reasons that some people cite for not voting in electoral politics. Robert LeFevre, Francis Tandy, John Pugsley, Frank Chodorov, George H. Smith, Carl Watner, Wendy McElroy, Lysander Spooner are some moderately well-known authors who have written about these reasons. High voter turnout is considered to be desirable, though among political scientists and economists specializing in public choice, the issue is still debated. A high turnout is seen as evidence of the legitimacy of the current system. Dictators have fabricated high turnouts in showcase elections for this purpose. For instance, Saddam Hussein's 2002 plebiscite was claimed to have had 100% participation.
Opposition parties sometimes boycott votes they feel are unfair or illegitimate, or if the election is for a government, considered illegitimate. For example, the Holy See instructed Italian Catholics to boycott national elections for several decades after the creation of the state of Italy. In some countries, there are threats of violence against those who vote, such as during the 2005 Iraq elections, an example of voter suppression. However, some political scientists question the view that high turnout is an implicit endorsement of the system. Mark
2001 United Kingdom general election
The 2001 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 7 June 2001, four years after the previous election on 1 May 1997, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. Under the leadership of Tony Blair, the governing Labour Party was re-elected to serve a second term in government with another landslide victory, returning 413 of the 418 seats won by the party in the previous general election, a net loss of 5 seats, though with lower turnout than before—59.4%, compared to 71.3% in the previous election. Tony Blair went on to become the first Labour Prime Minister to serve a consecutive full term in office, it was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media. There was little change outside Northern Ireland, with 620 out of the 641 seats electing candidates from the same party as they did in 1997. Factors contributing to the Labour victory were a strong economy and falling unemployment, as well as that Labour was seen as having delivered on many key election pledges that it had made in 1997.
The Conservative Party, under William Hague's leadership, was still divided on the issue of Europe and the party's policy platform was considered to have shifted to a right wing focus. Hague was hindered by a series of embarrassing publicity stunts, resigned as party leader three months becoming the first leader of the Conservative or Unionist party in the House of Commons since Austen Chamberlain to not be Prime Minister; the election was a repeat of the 1997 election, with Labour losing only 6 seats overall and the Conservatives making a net gain of one seat. The Conservatives did manage to gain a seat in Scotland, which ended the party's status as an'England-only' party in the prior parliament, but once again were left unrepresented in Wales. Although they did not gain many seats, one of the new MPs elected was future Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron; the Liberal Democrats gained six seats. The 2001 election is the last to date in which any government has held an overall majority of more than 100 seats in the House of Commons, one of only two since the Second World War in which one party won over 400 MPs.
It was the last election at which Labour secured over 40% of the popular vote until the snap election in 2017. Change was seen in Northern Ireland, with the moderately unionist Ulster Unionist Party losing four seats to the more hardline Democratic Unionist Party; this transition was mirrored in the nationalist community with the moderate SDLP losing votes to the more staunchly republican and abstentionist Sinn Féin. The election was marked by exceptionally low voter turnout, falling below 60% for the first time since 1918; the election was broadcast live on the BBC, presented by Jeremy Paxman, Andrew Marr, Peter Snow and David Dimbleby. The 2001 General Election was the first in which pictures of the party logos appeared on the ballot paper. Previous to this, the ballot paper had only contained the candidate's name and party name; the election had been expected on 3 May, to coincide with local elections, but both were postponed because of rural movement restrictions imposed in response to the foot and mouth outbreak.
The elections were marked by voter apathy, with turnout falling to 59.4%, the lowest since the Coupon Election of 1918. Throughout the election the Labour Party had maintained a significant lead in the opinion polls and the result was deemed to be so certain that some bookmakers paid out for a Labour majority before the election day. However, the opinion polls the previous autumn had shown the first Tory lead in the opinion polls for eight years as they benefited from the public anger towards the government over the fuel protests which had led to a severe shortage of motor fuel. By the end of 2000, the dispute had been solved and Labour were back in the lead of the opinion polls. In total, a mere 29 parliamentary seats changed hands at the 2001 Election. One of the more noted events of a quiet campaign was when countryside protester Craig Evans threw an egg at Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in Rhyl. 2001 saw the rare election of an independent. Dr. Richard Taylor of Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern unseated a government minister.
There was a high vote for British National Party leader Nick Griffin in Oldham, in the wake of recent race riots in the town. In Northern Ireland, the election was far more dramatic and marked a move by unionists away from support for the Good Friday Agreement, with the moderate unionist Ulster Unionist Party losing to the more hardline Democratic Unionist Party; this polarisation was seen in the nationalist community, with the Social Democratic and Labour Party vote losing out to more left-wing and republican Sinn Féin. It saw a tightening of the parties as the small UK Unionist Party lost its only seat. For Labour, the last four years had run smoothly; the party had defended all their by election seats, many suspected a Labour win was inevitable from the start. Many in the party however were afraid of voter apathy, epitomised in the "Hague with Lady Thatcher's hair" poster. Despite recessions in mainland Europe and the United States, due to the bursting of global tech bubbles, Britain was notably unaffected and Labour however could rely on a strong economy as unemployment continued to decline toward election day, putting to rest any fears of a Labour government putting the economic situation at risk.
For William Hague, the Conservative Party had still not recovered from the loss in 199
Fife is a council area and historic county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. By custom it is held to have been one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, is still known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland. Fife is one of the six local authorities part of the South East Scotland city region, it is a lieutenancy area, was a county of Scotland until 1975. It was occasionally known by the anglicisation Fifeshire in old documents and maps compiled by English cartographers and authors. A person from Fife is known as a Fifer. Fife was a local government region divided into three districts: Dunfermline and North-East Fife. Since 1996 the functions of the district councils have been exercised by the unitary Fife Council. Fife is Scotland's third largest local authority area by population, it has a resident population of just under 367,000, over a third of whom live in the three principal towns of Dunfermline and Glenrothes.
The historic town of St Andrews is located on the northeast coast of Fife. It is well known for the University of St Andrews, one of the most ancient universities in the world and is renowned as the home of golf. Fife, bounded to the north by the Firth of Tay and to the south by the Firth of Forth, is a natural peninsula whose political boundaries have changed little over the ages; the Pictish king list and De Situ Albanie documents of the Poppleton manuscript mention the division of the Pictish realm into seven sub-kingdoms or provinces, one being Fife, though this is now regarded as a medieval invention. The earliest known reference to the common epithet The Kingdom of Fife dates from only 1678, in a proposition that the term derives from the quasi-regal privileges of the Earl of Fife; the notion of a kingdom may derive from a misinterpretation of an extract from Wyntoun. The name is recorded as Fib in A. D. 1150 and Fif in 1165. It was associated with Fothriff; the hill-fort of Clatchard Craig, near Newburgh, was occupied as an important Pictish stronghold between the sixth and eighth centuries AD.
Fife was an important royal and political centre from the reign of King Malcolm III onwards, as the leaders of Scotland moved southwards away from their ancient strongholds around Scone. Malcolm had his principal home in Dunfermline and his wife Margaret was the main benefactor of Dunfermline Abbey; the Abbey replaced Iona as the final resting place of Scotland's royal elite, with Robert I amongst those to be buried there. The Earl of Fife was until the 15th century considered the principal peer of the Scottish realm, was reserved the right of crowning the nation's monarchs, reflecting the prestige of the area. A new royal palace was constructed at Falkland the stronghold of Clan MacDuff, was used by successive monarchs of the House of Stuart, who favoured Fife for its rich hunting grounds. King James VI of Scotland described Fife as a "beggar's mantle fringed wi gowd", the golden fringe being the coast and its chain of little ports with their thriving fishing fleets and rich trading links with the Low Countries.
Wool, linen and salt were all traded. Salt pans heated by local coal were a feature of the Fife coast in the past; the distinctive red clay pan tiles seen on many old buildings in Fife arrived as ballast on trading boats and replaced the thatched roofs. In 1598, King James VI employed a group of 12 men from Fife, who became known as the Fife adventurers, to colonise the Isle of Lewis in an attempt to begin the "civilisation" and de-gaelicisation of the region; this endeavour lasted until 1609 when the colonists, having been opposed by the native population, were bought out by Kenneth Mackenzie, the clan chief of the Mackenzies. Fife became a centre of heavy industry in the 19th century. Coal had been mined in the area since at least the 12th century, but the number of pits increased ten-fold as demand for coal grew in the Victorian period. Rural villages such as Cowdenbeath swelled into towns as thousands moved to Fife to find work in its mines; the opening of the Forth and Tay rail bridges linked Fife with Dundee and Edinburgh and allowed the rapid transport of goods.
Modern ports were constructed at Methil and Rosyth. Kirkcaldy became the world centre for the production of linoleum. Postwar Fife saw the development of Glenrothes. To be based around a coal mine, the town attracted a high number of modern Silicon Glen companies to the region. Fife Council and Fife Constabulary centre their operations in Glenrothes. There are numerous notable historical buildings in Fife, some of which are managed by the National Trust for Scotland or Historic Scotland, they include Dunfermline Abbey, the palace in Culross, Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy, Dysart Harbour area, Balgonie Castle near Coaltown of Balgonie, Falkland Palace, Kellie Castle near Pittenweem, Hill of Tarvit, St. Andrews Castle, St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Rule's Tower. Fife is represented by five constituency members of the Scottish Parliament and four members of the United Kingdom parliament who are sent to Holyrood and the British Parliament respectively. Following the 2015 General Election, all four of the MPs constituencies were held by the Scottish National Party.
In the 2017 General Election Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath was regained by Labour. At the same election, the seat of North East Fife became the closest seat in the country with the SNP holding a majority of 2 over the Liberal Democrats Three of
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights; the Labour Party was founded in 1900, having grown out of the trade union movement and socialist parties of the nineteenth century. It overtook the Liberal Party to become the main opposition to the Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming two minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in the 1920s and early 1930s. Labour served in the wartime coalition of 1940-1945, after which Clement Attlee's Labour government established the National Health Service and expanded the welfare state from 1945 to 1951. Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, Labour again governed from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1979. In the 1990s Tony Blair took Labour closer to the centre as part of his "New Labour" project, which governed the UK under Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010.
After Corbyn took over in 2015, the party has moved leftward. Labour is the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having won the second-largest number of seats in the 2017 general election; the Labour Party is the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, forming the main party in the current Welsh government. The party is the third largest in the Scottish Parliament. Labour is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, holds observer status in the Socialist International, sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; the party includes semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh branches and supports the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland. As of 2017, Labour had the largest membership of any party in Western Europe; the Labour Party originated in the late 19th century, meeting the demand for a new political party to represent the interests and needs of the urban working class, a demographic which had increased in number, many of whom only gained suffrage with the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Some members of the trades union movement became interested in moving into the political field, after further extensions of the voting franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time, with the intention of linking the movement to political policies. Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and middle-class Fabian Society, the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party. At the 1895 general election, the Independent Labour Party put up 28 candidates but won only 44,325 votes. Keir Hardie, the leader of the party, believed that to obtain success in parliamentary elections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups. Hardie's roots as a lay preacher contributed to an ethos in the party which led to the comment by 1950s General Secretary Morgan Phillips that "Socialism in Britain owed more to Methodism than Marx".
In 1899, a Doncaster member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Thomas R. Steels, proposed in his union branch that the Trade Union Congress call a special conference to bring together all left-wing organisations and form them into a single body that would sponsor Parliamentary candidates; the motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, the proposed conference was held at the Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations—trades unions represented about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates. After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee, meant to co-ordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent the working-class population.
It had no single leader, in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united; the October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to campaign effectively. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored. Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike; the judgement made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions. The apparent acquiescence of the Conservative Government of Arthur Balfour to industrial and business interests intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats—helped by a secret 1903 pact between Ramsay MacDonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone that aimed to avoid splitting the opposition vote between Labour and Liberal candidates in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election the group's Members of Parliament decided to adop