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Scottish National Party

Scottish political party

The Scottish National Party (SNP) (Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba; Scottish Gaelic: Scottis Naitional Pairtie) is a political party in Scotland. It campaigns mostly for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country. It is a social democratic party and is currently the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, with 62 out of 129 seats and its party leader Nicola Sturgeon is First Minister of Scotland.

Scottish National Party
LeaderNicola Sturgeon MSP
Deputy LeaderAngus Robertson MP
SNP Westminster Group LeaderIan Blackford
HeadquartersGordon Lamb House
3 Jackson's Entry
Student wingFederation of Student Nationalists
Youth wingYoung Scots for Independence
Membership (2018)125,482[1]
IdeologyScottish Independence[2][3]
Social democracy
Civic nationalism
Political positionMajority - Centre-left
Overall - Big tent
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
International affiliationNone
European Parliament groupThe Greens–European Free Alliance
ColoursYellow and heather
Scottish seats in the House of Commons
35 / 59
Scottish seats in the European Parliament
2 / 6
Scottish Parliament
62 / 129
Local government in Scotland[4]
421 / 1,227


Most SNP supporters believe in the following things:

  • People in Scotland should be given a referendum on whether or not Scotland should leave the UK and form an independent country.
  • Britain should get rid of all of its nuclear weapons.
  • If Scotland became independent, it should retain the pound sterling as its currency in a currency union with the rest of the UK.
  • There should be elections to the House of Lords.


The Scottish National Party was founded in 1934. During World War II, its leader Douglas Young told Scottish people not to join the war effort and as a result he was widely disliked. The first SNP Member of Parliament was Robert McIntyre, who entered parliament in a by-election for Motherwell in 1945, but he lost the seat at the general election of that year. The party struggled in the 1950s but achieved greater success in the 1960s and in 1967, Winnie Ewing was elected as an MP for the party at a by-election in Hamilton. Only 1 seat was won by the SNP at the 1970 general election but at the February 1974 general election, it won 7 seats. Following the discovery of oil in the North Sea, the SNP ran a campaign called 'It's Scotland's oil' meaning that they thought it should benefit only the Scots and the party won 11 seats and 30% of the vote in Scotland at the October 1974 general election.

When the Labour government of James Callaghan started losing its majority in parliament, it made deals with the smaller parties including the Liberal Party, the SNP and the Welsh nationalists. The SNP only agreed to support this if a referendum was given to the Scottish people on the creation of a devolved assembly. The referendum gained support from 51% of Scots but the Labour government decided that not enough people had voted in the referendum and because of this, the SNP refused to support the Labour government. The general election of 1979 saw the SNP reduced to only 2 seats in parliament.

The party did poorly at the general elections of 1983, 1987 and 1992. Alex Salmond became party leader in 1990 and in 1997, the party won 6 seats in parliament. The Labour government of Tony Blair established a Scottish Parliament in 1999 and at the elections held for the new parliament, the SNP came in second place behind Labour, with 35 out of 128 seats. It wasn't until the 2007 Scottish Parliament election that the SNP made another major breakthrough and at this election, the party won the most seats with 47 out of 128 seats and a minority government was then formed with Alex Salmond made First Minister.

The party tried to give Scotland a referendum on independence in 2010, but the other major parties in the Scottish Parliament stopped them. In 2011, they won 69 out of 129 seats in the election to the Scottish Parliament, and were able to govern alone. They held the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September 2014, where 55% of people voted against independence from the UK. Salmond resigned as First Minister of Scotland and was replaced by Nicola Sturgeon. Under her leadership, the SNP won 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom general election, 2015.


  1. Keen, Richard; Audickas, Lukas (3 September 2018). "Membership of UK Political Parties" (PDF). House of Commons Library. p. 12. The SNP membership rose from 118,162 in April 2018 to 125,482 in August 2018, according to information from the Party’s Central Office.
  2. Custom byline text:  James McKillop (9 January 1999). "SNP pours scorn on critic Nationalists ridicule claims of dangerous links to white supremacists in the United States". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  3. "Storm over MP Ian Davidson's SNP 'neo-fascist' remark". BBC News. 22 June 2011.
  4. "". Retrieved 20 April 2010. External link in |title= (help)