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
2007 Scottish Parliament election
The 2007 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the Scottish Parliament. It was the third general election to the devolved Scottish Parliament since it was created in 1999. Local elections in Scotland fell on the same day; the Scottish National Party emerged as the largest party with 47 seats followed by the incumbent Scottish Labour Party with 46 seats. The Scottish Conservatives won 17 seats, the Scottish Liberal Democrats 16 seats, the Scottish Green Party 2 seats and one Independent was elected; the SNP approached the Lib Dems for a coalition government, but the Lib Dems turned them down. The Greens agreed to provide the numbers to vote in an SNP minority government, with SNP leader Alex Salmond as First Minister; the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party, which won seats in the 2003 election, lost all of their seats. Former MSP Tommy Sheridan's new party, Solidarity failed to win any seats. Campbell Martin and Dr Jean Turner both lost their seats, Dennis Canavan and Brian Monteith retired.
The main issues during the campaign trail were healthcare, council tax reform, the Union, the Iraq War and more powers for the Scottish Parliament. Some parties proposed raise the school leaving age from 16 to 18 and raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 16 to 18. Jack McConnell, as First Minister, entered the election defending a small overall majority of five seats via a coalition of Labour and the Liberal Democrats; the Lab-LD social liberal coalition had been in power, with three different First Ministers, since the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999. Opinion polls suggested its majority could be lost in 2007, due to falling support for the Labour Party and rising support for other parties, in particular the Scottish National Party; the polls suggested that no single party was to acquire an overall majority, nor was there an obvious alternative coalition ready to form a new Executive. A TNS Poll in November 2006 gave Labour an 8% lead over the SNP, second behind Labour in terms of numbers of Members of the Scottish Parliament.
As the election approached the SNP gained support while Labour's support declined. Based on pre-election projections, there could have been some possibility of an SNP–Liberal Democrat coalition, which might have extended to include the Scottish Green Party; the other parties represented in the Parliament before the election were the Scottish Conservative Party, the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party. Other parties that campaigned for seats in Holyrood included the United Kingdom Independence Party, the British National Party, the Scottish Unionist Party, the Scottish Socialist Labour Party, the Christian Peoples Alliance, the Scottish Christian Party and the Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers Party. Susan Deacon, Edinburgh East and Musselburgh John Home Robertson, East Lothian Janis Hughes, Glasgow Rutherglen Kate Maclean, Dundee West Maureen Macmillan and Islands list Bruce McFee, West of Scotland list George Reid, Ochil Phil Gallie, South of Scotland list James Douglas-Hamilton, Lothians list Donald Gorrie, Central Scotland list Jim Wallace, Orkney Frances Curran, West of Scotland list Dennis Canavan, Falkirk West Brian Monteith, Mid Scotland and Fife list Gordon Jackson, Glasgow Govan Sylvia Jackson, Stirling Margaret Jamieson and Loudoun Maureen Macmillan and Islands Christine May, Fife Central Alasdair Morrison, Western Isles Bristow Muldoon, Livingston Allan Wilson, Cunninghame North Andrew Arbuckle, Mid Scotland and Fife Nora Radcliffe, Gordon Euan Robson and Berwickshire Dave Petrie and Islands Murray Tosh, West of Scotland Shiona Baird, North East Scotland Chris Ballance, South of Scotland Mark Ballard, Lothians Mark Ruskell, Mid Scotland and Fife Eleanor Scott and Islands Rosemary Byrne, South of Scotland Colin Fox, Lothians Rosie Kane, Glasgow Carolyn Leckie, Central Scotland Tommy Sheridan, Glasgow John Swinburne, Central Scotland Campbell Martin, West of Scotland - Former SNP MSP Jean Turner and Bearsden Turnout in the election was 51.7% in the constituency vote and 52.4% in the regional vote up from 2003 where the turnout was 49.4% in both the constituency and regional vote Notes: Independents contested 17 seats and three regions.
Scottish Greens contested 1 seat, Scottish Socialist Party contested 1 seat, Scottish Christian Party, Scottish Voice etc. contested a small number of seats. A number of local issue parties stood in single constituencies; the Nine Per Cent Growth Party stood candidates on the regional lists, had a candidate for the local council elections of the same year. Standing in the Glasgow Regional List the party finished last of 23 candidates, receiving only 80 votes, a record low; some counts in the Western Isles were delayed because the chartered helicopter sent to pick up the ballot boxes was delayed by bad weather. The boxes were instead transferred by road to be counted in Stornoway; the votes were announced around 12.00 on Friday 4 May. A man smashed ballot boxes with a golf club at a polling station at Carrick Knowe in Corstorphine in Edinburgh. About 100 ballots were damaged; the man was arrested on the scene. The number of'invalid' ballot papers has increased from previous elections, the BBC reported that 142,000 were rejected.
The Herald reported that this included both constituency and regional
First Minister of Scotland
The First Minister of Scotland is the leader of the Scottish Government. The First Minister chairs the Scottish Cabinet and is responsible for the formulation and presentation of Scottish Government policy. Additional functions of the First Minister include promoting and representing Scotland in an official capacity, at home and abroad, responsibility for constitutional affairs, as they relate to devolution and the Scottish Government; the First Minister is a Member of the Scottish Parliament and nominated by the Scottish Parliament before being appointed by the monarch. Members of the Cabinet and junior ministers of the Scottish Government as well as the Scottish law officers, are appointed by the First Minister; as head of the Scottish Government, the First Minister is directly accountable to the Scottish Parliament for their actions and the actions of the wider government. Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party is the current First Minister of Scotland. Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate gave their consent, a Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government were reconvened by the Labour government of Tony Blair, having been suspended following the Acts of Union in 1707.
The process was known as devolution and was initiated to give Scotland some measure of home rule or self-governance in its domestic affairs, such as health and justice. Devolution resulted in administrative and legislative changes to the way Scotland was governed, resulted in the establishment of a post of First Minister to be head of the devolved Scottish Government; the term "First Minister" is analogous to the use of Premier to denote the heads of government in sub-national entities of Commonwealth nations, such as the provinces and territories of Canada, provinces of South Africa, states of Malaysia and the states of Australia. Prior to devolution the comparable functions of the First Minister were exercised by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who headed the Scottish Office, a department of the wider United Kingdom Government and existed from 1885 to 1999; the Secretary of State was a member of the British Cabinet and appointed by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to have responsibility for the domestic affairs of Scotland.
Since 1999, the Secretary of State has a much reduced role as a result of the transfer of responsibilities to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. The First Minister is nominated by the Scottish Parliament from among its members at the beginning of each term, by means of an exhaustive ballot, they are formally appointed by the monarch. In theory, any member of the Scottish Parliament can be nominated for First Minister. However, the government must maintain the confidence of the Scottish Parliament to in order to gain supply. For this reason, the First Minister is always the leader of the largest party, or the leader of the senior partner in any majority coalition. There is no term of office for a First Minister. In practice, they hold office as long. Whenever the office of First Minister falls vacant, the Sovereign is responsible for appointing the new incumbent. Given the additional member system used to elect its members, it is difficult for a single party to gain an overall majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament.
The SNP gained an overall majority of seats in the 2011 election, thus had enough numbers to vote in its leader, Alex Salmond, as First Minister for a second term. After the election of the Scottish Parliament, a First Minister must be nominated within a period of 28 days. Under the terms of the Scotland Act, if the Parliament fails to nominate a First Minister, within this time frame, it will be dissolved and a fresh election held. If an incumbent First Minister is defeated in a general election, they do not vacate office; the First Minister only leaves office. After accepting office, the First Minister takes the Official Oath, as set out in the Promissory Oaths Act 1868; the oath is tendered by the Lord President of the Court of Session at a sitting of the Court in Parliament House in Edinburgh. The oath is: I, do swear that I will well and serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the office of First Minister, So help me God; the period in office of a First Minister is not linked to the term of Members of the Scottish Parliament.
The Scotland Act set out a four-year maximum term for each session of Parliament. The Act specifies than an election to the Scottish Parliament will be held on the first Thursday in May, every four years, starting from 1999. Parliament can be dissolved and an extraordinary general election held, before the expiration of the four-year term, but only if two-thirds of elected MSPs vote for such action in a resolution of the Scottish Parliament. If a simple majority of MSPs voted a no-confidence motion in the First Minister/Government, that would trigger a 28-day period for the nomination of a replacement; the First Minister, once appointed continues in office as the head of the devolved Scottish Government until either they resign, is dismissed or dies in office. Resignation can be triggered off by the passage of
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
The British–Irish Council is an intergovernmental organisation that aims to improve collaboration between its members in a number of areas including transport, the environment, energy. Its membership comprises Ireland, the United Kingdom, the devolved governments of Northern Ireland and Wales, the governments of the Crown dependencies of the UK: Guernsey and the Isle of Man. England does not have a devolved administration, as a result is not individually represented on the Council but represented as a member of the UK; the British and Irish governments, political parties in Northern Ireland, agreed to form a Council under the British–Irish Agreement, part of the Good Friday Agreement reached in 1998. The Council was formally established on 2 December 1999; the Council's stated aim is to "promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands". The BIC has a standing secretariat, located in Edinburgh and meets in semi-annual summit session and more frequent ministerial meetings.
Membership of the Council consists of the following administrations: The nine heads of government meet at summits twice per year. Additionally, there are regular meetings that deal with specific sectors and are attended by the corresponding ministers. Representatives of members operate in accordance with whatever procedures for democratic authority and accountability are in force in their respective elected legislatures. England, unlike the other countries of the United Kingdom, is not represented separately, as it does not have its own devolved administration, it is thus represented on the Council as part of the United Kingdom. The work of the Council is financed by members through mutual agreement as required. At the ninth meeting of the Council in July 2007 it was decided that with devolved government returned to Northern Ireland that an opportune time existed "to undertake a strategic review of the Council's work programmes, working methods and support arrangements." This decision included the potential for a permanent standing secretariat, established in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 4 January 2012.
At its June 2010 summit, the Council decided to move forward on recommendations to enhance the relationship between it and the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly is made up of members from the parliaments and assemblies of the same states and regions as the members of the British–Irish Council; the Council tasked its secretariat with moving this work forward in conjunction with the BIPA's secretariat. In addition to the above members Cornwall has been a full observer member since 2010 due to the Cornish language falling under the Council's areas of work; the Council agrees to specific work areas. The Belfast Agreement suggested transport links, environmental issues, health and approaches to the European Union as suitable topics for early discussion. However, these work areas can be reduced as the Council decides, it is open to the Council to make agreement on common policies. These agreements are made through consensus, although individual members may opt not to participate in implementing any of these.
The current list of work areas and the member responsible are: Demography was adopted as a work area at the 2006 meeting of the Council. It was proposed by the Scottish Executive, who took responsibility for it. During the 2007 meeting of the Council the Scottish Government further proposed that energy become a work area of the Council. Past work sector areas included e-health / telemedicine and tourism. Initial suggestions for the council included the names Council of the British Isles or Council of the Isles, the council has sometimes been known by the latter name. However, owing to sensibilities around the term British Isles in Ireland, the name British-Irish Council was agreed; the official name of the Council is represented in minority and lesser-used languages of the council as: Council of Ireland North/South Ministerial Council British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly Official website
Ireland–United Kingdom relations
Ireland–United Kingdom relations referred to as Irish–British relations, or Anglo-Irish relations, are the relations between the states of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The three devolved administrations of the United Kingdom, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the three dependencies of the British Crown, the Isle of Man and Guernsey participate in multilateral bodies created between the two states. Since at least the 1600s, all of these areas have been connected politically, reaching a height in 1801 with the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. About five-sixths of the island of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom in 1921 as the Irish Free State. Relations between the two states have been influenced by issues arising from their shared history, the independence of the Irish Free State and the governance of Northern Ireland; these include the partition of Ireland and the terms of Ireland's secession, its constitutional relationship with and obligations to the UK after independence, the outbreak of political violence in Northern Ireland.
Additionally, the high level of trade between the two states, their proximate geographic location, their common status as islands in the European Union, common language and close cultural and personal links mean political developments in both states closely follow each other. Today and British citizens are accorded equivalent reciprocal rights and entitlements and a Common Travel Area exists between Ireland, United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies; the British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference acts as an official forum for co-operation between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom on matters of mutual interest and with respect to Northern Ireland in particular. Two other bodies, the British–Irish Council and the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly act as a forum for discussion between the executives and assemblies of the region, including the devolved regions in the UK and the three Crown dependencies. Co-operation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, including the execution of common policies in certain areas, occurs through the North/South Ministerial Council.
In 2014, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the relationship between the two countries as being at'an all time high'. Both Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Union in 1973. However, the three Crown dependencies remain outside of the EU. In June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which the majority voted to leave the European Union, but the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted for remaining in the EU. There have been relations between the people inhabiting the British Isles for as much as we know of their history. A Romano-Briton, Patricius known as Saint Patrick, brought Christianity to Ireland and, following the fall of the Roman Empire, missionaries from Ireland re-introduced Christianity to Britain; the expansion of Gaelic culture into what became known as Scotland brought close political and familial ties between people in Ireland and people in Great Britain, lasting from the early Middle Ages to the 17th century, including a common Gaelic language spoken on both islands.
Norse-Gaels in the Kingdom of Dublin and Norman invasion of Ireland added religious, political and social ties between Northumbria and Wales with Leinster in the Pale, the Isle of Man and Galloway, including Hiberno-English. War and colonisation during the 16th and 17th centuries brought Ireland securely under English control. However, this was at a cost of great resentment over land inequitable laws; this resulted in Gaelic ties between Scotland and Ireland withering over the course of the 17th century, including a divergence in the Gaelic language into two distinct languages. Secret societies, both opposing and supporting British rule through violent means, developed in the 18th century and several open rebellions were staged, most notably the 1798 Rebellion. Although Ireland gained near-independence from Great Britain in 1782, the kingdoms of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland were merged in 1801 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 19th century violent and constitutional campaigns for autonomy or independence culminated in an election in 1918 returning 70% of seats to Sinn Féin, who declared Irish independence from Britain and set up a parliament in Dublin, declared the independence of Ireland from the United Kingdom.
A war of independence followed that ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922, which partitioned Ireland between the Irish Free State, which gained dominion status within the British Empire, a devolved administration in Northern Ireland, which remained part of the UK. In 1937, Ireland declared itself independent of the United Kingdom. Today, the British Isles contain two sovereign states: Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; the United Kingdom comprises four countries of the United Kingdom. All but Northern Ireland have been independent states at one point. There are three Crown dependencies, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, in the archipelago which are not part of the United Kingdom, although the United Kingdom maintains responsibility for certain affairs such as international affairs and ensuring good governance, on behalf of the British crown, can legislate directly for them; these participate in the shared institutions created between Ireland and the United Kingdom under the Good Friday Agreement.
The United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies
5th Scottish Parliament
This is a list of Members of the Scottish Parliament who were returned to the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament. Of the 129 MSPs returned at the 2016 election, 73 were returned from first past the post constituencies with a further 56 members returned from eight regions, each electing seven MSPs as a form of mixed member proportional representation. Parliament reconvened on 12 May 2016 with the swearing-in of MSPs and the election of the presiding officer and two deputy presiding officers. Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the fifth session on 2 July 2016. Government parties denoted with bullets; the changes table below records all changes in party affiliation during the session, since the May 2016 election. Scottish Parliament website List of current Members of the Scottish Parliament