List of political parties in Scotland

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This article lists political parties in Scotland.

Major parties[edit]

Parties represented in the Scottish Parliament, UK Parliament and European Parliament (ordered by number of representatives):

Party MSPs MPs MEPs Ideology
Scottish National Party 63 35 3 Centre-left, Scottish independence, Social democracy, Civic nationalism,
Nuclear disarmament, Pro-Europeanism
Scottish Conservatives 31 13 1 Centre-right, Conservatism, Unionism
Scottish Labour Party 23 7 0 Centre-left, Social democracy, Unionism, Pro-Europeanism
Scottish Liberal Democrats 5 4 1 Centre, Social liberalism, Federalism, Pro-Europeanism
Scottish Green Party 6 0 0 Green politics, Scottish independence, Scottish republicanism,
Nuclear disarmament, Pro-Europeanism
Brexit Party 0 0 1 Euroscepticism, Populism, Unionism

Minor parties[edit]

Other parties which contested the 2016 Scottish Parliament election:

Party Ideology
UKIP Scotland Euroscepticism, Right-wing populism, economic liberalism, British nationalism
Scottish Libertarian Party Libertarianism, Classical liberalism, Scottish independence, Euroscepticism
Solidarity Socialism, Trotskyism, Scottish independence
RISE Socialism, environmentalism, Scottish independence, Scottish republicanism
Scottish Christian Party Right-wing, Christianity, Christian right, Euroscepticism, Unionism in Scotland
Women's Equality Party Feminism
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Trade unionism, socialism, Marxism, Trotskyism, Euroscepticism
National Front Far-right, British fascism, Neo-fascism
Communist Party Far-left, Communism, Marxism–Leninism

Political parties[edit]

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is the main political party in Scotland which supports Scotland becoming an independent nation. They are overall centre-left, advocating social democracy, nuclear disarmament and closer ties to the European Union. They were founded in 1934 and formed a permanent grouping in House of Commons in 1967. Their best election result in the 20th century was at the general election of October 1974 in which they won 11 of Scotland's 72 Westminster seats as well as around 30% of the popular vote, however they lost all but two of these seats in 1979. Support for the party was bolstered under the leadership of Alex Salmond, who in 2011 led the SNP to their best electoral performance to date, in which they became the first party in the devolved Scottish Parliament to win a majority of seats. They form the Scottish government, and are now led by Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. They have 62 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), 35 Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (MPs) and 2 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

The Scottish Labour Party was the most successful party in Scottish elections from 1959 to 2007. Like the wider UK Labour Party, they are centre-left and they promote British unionism.[citation needed] They first overtook the Conservatives as Scotland's largest party at the 1959 general election. In 1997, the UK Labour Party under Tony Blair offered Scotland a referendum on devolution which was passed with around 74% of the electorate in favour. From 1999 to 2007, they were in power in the Scottish Parliament through a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. From 2008-2011, the party was led by Iain Gray in the Scottish Parliament, who announced his resignation after the party's defeat at the 2011 Scottish election. Johann Lamont became leader in 2011 and resigned in 2014 after an internal dispute within the party. They currently have 7 Scottish seats in the House of Commons after the 2017 general election. They also have 24 seats in the Scottish Parliament and have two MEPs. As of 2018 they are led by Richard Leonard MSP.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party was founded in 1965 out of the old Scottish Unionist Party, which had been a dominant political force in Scotland for much of the early 20th century, winning the majority of votes and seats in the 1955 general election. However the party went into decline, being reduced from 21 Scottish seats in 1983, to 10 in 1987. The 1997 general election was a catastrophe for the Scottish Conservatives, who were left with no Scottish seats whatsoever. However the party won 18 seats in the Scottish Parliament in the 1999 election due to proportional representation. Since 2001 the Conservatives have held 1 Scottish seat in the UK parliament. Like the wider UK Conservative Party, the party is a centre-right party, which promotes conservatism and British unionism. They are currently have 31 MSPs, led in the Scottish Parliament by Ruth Davidson, 13 MPs and 1 MEP.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are a centrist, social liberal and British unionist party. The British Liberal Democrats they are part of were formed out of the old Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party in 1988. Their leader is Willie Rennie. Since the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster, support for the Liberal Democrats has fallen sharply, and the party won five seats at the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election. They also lost their Scottish MEP at the 2014 European Elections. They also lost 10 of their 11 House of Commons seats at the 2015 general election, with Deputy Leader Alistair Carmichael the only MP managing to keep his seat. They currently have 5 MSPs and after the 2017 general election 4 MPs, an increase of three since 2015.

The Scottish Green Party sit between the centre-left and the left-wing. The party promotes green politics, Scottish independence, Scottish republicanism, equality and radical democracy. It retains close ties with the Green Party of England and Wales and the Green Party in Northern Ireland, having all originated in the breakup of the UK Green Party. However all three parties are now fully independent. It won a seat in the Scottish Parliament in 1999, which was increased to 7 in 2003, and then reduced to 2 in 2007. The Greens retained both these seats in 2011. The Greens increased their number of MSPs at the 2016 Scottish election from 2 to 6. They currently have no MPs.

UKIP Scotland, the Scottish section of the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party, has contested many Scottish elections for the Westminster Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, and in 2014 it won one of Scotland's six seats in the European Parliament, gaining 10.5% of the Scottish vote, coming fourth. Its Scottish MEP, David Coburn left the party in December 2018.

The far-right British National Party (BNP) contests Scottish seats on a regular basis, with little success.

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) was founded in 1998 and achieved 6 seats in the Scottish Parliament in 2003. They are left-wing, and campaign for democratic socialism, Scottish independence, Scottish republicanism, local tax reform,[1] free school meals, free public transport and drug policy reform. A party split in the SSP in 2006 caused the then party leader Tommy Sheridan to leave the party and establish Solidarity.

Other parties[edit]

Registered parties[edit]

Unregistered parties[edit]

The following parties were not registered with the Electoral Commission as of 13 May 2019, and may be defunct:

Defunct parties[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Local Tax Reform - The Scottish Service Tax.
    Scottish Socialist Party (YouTube channel).
    Published 23 September 2016.
    Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Red Party of Scotland – Red Party of Scotland".
  3. ^ "Scottish Family Party – Scottish Family Party".

External links[edit]