Scottish National Party

views updated May 18 2018

Scottish National Party (SNP). The SNP was formed in 1934 after a merger between the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party. The party is committed to securing independence for Scotland.

The SNP won their first parliamentary seat in 1945 when Dr Robert McIntyre was returned at a by-election for Motherwell. However the SNP had no great electoral success until the 1960s. In November 1967 Winnie Ewing captured Hamilton from Labour and the SNP had a high profile in the 1968 local elections. By 1974 the SNP had eleven seats in Parliament and polled over 30 per cent of the vote in Scotland. But in 1979 a referendum failed to endorse a Scottish Parliament with only 32.85 per cent of the electorate backing it (against the 40 per cent needed). From this time there was a waning in SNP fortunes. In the 1979 general election, their share of the poll dropped to 17 per cent and they lost all but two seats.

In 1990 Alex Salmond became party leader, confirming the SNP as a left of centre social democratic party. It accepted a Scottish Parliament as a step towards complete independence, within a European framework. The SNP obtained six seats at the general election of 1997, and 35 of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament elected in 1999. The following year John Swinney replaced Alex Salmond as party leader, but his authority was weakened when the SNP did badly in the 2003 elections, its representation reduced from 35 to 27 seats. At the general election of 2005, with Salmond once more as leader, the SNP took six seats at Westminster, holding Banff, Angus, Moray, and Perth, and gaining Dundee East and Na H-Eileanan An Iar (Western Islands) from Labour.

Richard A. Smith/ and Professor J. A. Cannon

Scottish National Party

views updated Jun 08 2018

Scottish National Party (SNP) UK political party, founded in 1928. The SNP grew out of the Scottish Home Rule Association, formed in 1886, and gained its first member of Parliament in 1945. During the 1960s, it significantly expanded its support base, gaining around 20% of the Scottish vote in most subsequent general elections. It advocates Scotland's independence (from the UK) within the European Union. The SNP won six seats in the 1997 general election under the leadership of Alex Salmond. In 2000, Salmond stood down as leader in favour of John Swinney (1964– ).

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Scottish National Party

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