Scottish National Party

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The Scottish National Party was formed in 1934 by the merger of the National Party of Scotland (a group of former Liberals and Labourites who favored Scottish independence) and the Scottish Party (a group of former Conservatives who favored Home Rule, ie autonomy within the UK). The SNP elected its first MP, Robert McIntyre, in the 1945 Motherwell by-election, though McIntyre lost his seat in a general election later that year. It was not until 1967 that the SNP elected another MP, Winnie Ewing, in the Hamilton by-election. Ewing's election, and SNP gains in local elections, led Harold Wilson's Labour Government to establish the Kilbrandon Commission to set up the blueprint for the establishment of a devolved Scottish Assembly.

The discovery of oil in the North Sea off the Scottish coast boosted support for the SNP in the 1970s, culminating in a 1979 referendum on devolution which failed to pass. With the victory of the Conservatives in the May 4, 1979 general election, the influence of the SNP waned. However, as the 1980s progressed, Conservative policies, most notably the introduction of a "community charge" (aka poll tax) led to a severe loss of support for the Conservatives in Scotland, to the benefit of the SNP.

In the 1994 elections to the European Parliament, the SNP won two seats. In the 1997 general election, the SNP won six seats; due to the Conservative Party's failure to win any seats outside England, this made the SNP the second-largest party in Scotland. Under Tony Blair's Labour Government, the Scottish Parliament was re-established, and in the first Scottish Parliamentary election of 1999 the SNP won 35 seats.

Since 1997 the SNP's fortunes have waned. The party only won five seats in the UK general election of 2001, and with the emergence of the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party, the SNP is no longer the sole advocate of Scottish independence.

External Links

Scottish National Party website

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