Scottish National Party

centre-left nationalist political party in Scotland

The Scottish National Party (SNP) (Scottish Gaelic Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba; Scots: Scots National Pairty) 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 John Swinney is First Minister of Scotland.

Scottish National Party
Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba
Scots National Pairtie
LeaderJohn Swinney
Depute LeaderKeith Brown
House of Commons
group leader
Stephen Flynn
Chairperson & Business ConvenerKirsten Oswald
Founded1934 (1934)
Merger of
HeadquartersGordon Lamb House
3 Jackson's Entry
Student wingSNP Students
Youth wingYoung Scots for Independence
Membership (2018)125,482[1]
IdeologyScottish nationalism[2][3]
Scottish independence[4]
Civic nationalism[5][6]
Social democracy[9][10][11]
Political positionCentre-left[13][14][15][16]
Big tent[17]
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
Colours  Yellow
House of Commons (Scottish seats)
45 / 59
Scottish Parliament[18]
64 / 129
Local government in Scotland[19]
426 / 1,227
Website Edit this at Wikidata



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. Hassan, Gerry (2009), The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 5, 9
  3. Harvie, Christopher (2004). Scotland and Nationalism: Scottish Society and Politics, 1707 to the Present. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-32724-4.
  4. Independence. Scottish National Party. Archived 28 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Mitchell, James; Bennie, Lynn; Johns, Rob (2012), The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power, Oxford University Press, pp. 107–116
  6. Keating, Michael (2009), "Nationalist Movements in Comparative Perspective", The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 214–217
  7. Schrijver, Frans (2006). Regionalism After Regionalisation: Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 261–290. ISBN 978-90-5629-428-1.
  8. MAZZOLENI, OSCAR; Mueller, Sean (2017). "The Scottish National Party: Nationalism for the many". In Oscar Mazzoleni; Sean Mueller (eds.). Regionalist Parties in Western Europe: Dimensions of Success. Taylor & Francis. pp. 22–41. ISBN 978-1-317-06895-2.
  9. "About Us". Archived from the original on 13 September 2015.
  10. Hepburn, Eve (18 October 2013). New Challenges for Stateless Nationalist and Regionalist Parties. Routledge. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-317-96596-1.
  11. Lingard, Bob (24 July 2013). Politics, Policies and Pedagogies in Education: The Selected Works of Bob Lingard. Routledge. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-135-01998-3.
  12. name="auto">"Anti-Brexit feeling expected to help SNP in European elections". Archived from the original on 15 May 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  13. Garner, Robert; Kelly, Richard (15 June 1998). British Political Parties Today. Manchester University Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-7190-5105-0.
  14. Ari-Veikko, Anttiroiko (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). p. 398. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  15. Colomer, Josep M. (25 July 2008). Political Institutions in Europe. Routledge. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2.
  16.; International Business Publications, USA (1 January 2012). Scotland Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws. Int'l Business Publications. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-4387-7095-6. Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2019. {{cite book}}: |author2= has generic name (help)
  17. Hassan, Gerry; Barrow, Simon (2017). A Nation Changed?: The SNP and Scotland Ten Years On. Luath Press Limited. p. 395. ISBN 978-1-910324-99-8.
  18. BBC (2016). "Scotland Parliament election 2016". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  19. "Local Council Political Compositions". Open Council Date UK. 7 January 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018.