Scottish Labour Party
|Scottish Labour Party|
|Deputy Leader||Anas Sarwar|
|General Secretary||Ian Price|
|Headquarters||290 Bath Street
|Student wing||Scottish Labour Students|
|International affiliation||Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International (Observer)
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists|
|European Parliament group||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
|House of Commons|
|Local government in Scotland|
|Politics of Scotland
The Scottish Labour Party (Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Làbarach na h-Alba4), often branded Scottish Labour, is a social-democratic3 political party in Scotland which operates as the section of the United Kingdom's Labour Party in Scotland.
The party had held a long dominance over modern Scottish politics, having won the largest share of the vote in Scotland at every UK general election since the 1960s,5 every European Parliament general election from 1979 until defeated by the SNP in 2009, and in the first two elections to the Scottish Parliament, held in 1999 and 2003. For each of these two terms, Scottish Labour entered into a coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats, forming a majority Scottish Executive.
In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election the Scottish Labour Party fell back to become the second largest party, with a lower share of the vote and with one fewer seat than the Scottish National Party (SNP), who subsequently formed a minority government. It fell back further but remained the second largest party after the 2011 Scottish Parliament election while the SNP advanced to form the first majority government since a Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999. Scottish Labour hold 37 of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament, 41 of 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons and 2 of 6 Scottish seats in the European Parliament.
- 1 Organisation
- 2 History
- 2.1 1999–2007 Lib–Lab pact & coalition
- 2.2 2007 Scottish Parliament elections and aftermath
- 2.3 2008 Glasgow East by-election
- 2.4 Iain Gray becomes Leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament
- 2.5 2008 Glenrothes by-election
- 2.6 2010 UK general election
- 2.7 2011 Scottish Parliament election
- 2.8 2011 Inverclyde by-election
- 2.9 Murphy/Boyack Review
- 2.10 2011 Scottish Labour leadership election
- 2.11 2014 independence referendum
- 2.12 Falkirk Labour Party investigation
- 3 Scottish Labour elected representatives (current)
- 4 Further reading
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Scottish Labour Party is formally part of the Labour Party and is registered as an Accounting Unit (AU) with the Electoral Commission. It is not a separately registered party under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. As such the SLP does not have an official "Leader of the Scottish Labour Party", although Johann Lamont leads the whole party, having been elected by members in 2011.
The Scottish Executive Committee is made up of representatives of party members, elected members and party affiliates, for example, trade unions and socialist societies.
- Chair: Victoria Jamieson
- Vice Chair: Jackson Cullinane
- Treasurer: Jalal Chaudry
- Donald Dewar (7 May 1999 – 11 October 2000)
- Henry McLeish (27 October 2000 – 8 November 2001)
- Jack McConnell (22 November 2001 – 15 August 2007)
- Wendy Alexander (14 September 2007 – 28 June 2008)
- Iain Gray (13 September 2008 – 17 December 2011)
- Johann Lamont (17 December 2011 – Present)
- Anas Sarwar (17 December 2011 – Present)
As with Welsh Labour, the Scottish Labour Party has its own general secretary which is the administrative head of the party, responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation, and reports to the UK General Secretary of the Labour Party.
The current Scottish general secretary is Ian Price, who succeeded Colin Smyth in 2013.6
The party holds an annual conference during February/March each year.
In 2008, Scottish Labour Party membership was reported as 17,000, down from a peak of approximately 30,000 in the run-up to the 1997 general election.7 The figures included in the Annual Report presented to the Scottish Party Conference in 2008, also recorded that more than half of all Constituency Labour parties (CLPs) had less than 300 members, with 14 having less than 200 members.8
In September 2010, the party issued 13,135 ballot papers to party members during the Labour Party (UK) leadership election. However, these did not necessarily equate to 13,135 individual members – due to the party's electoral structure, members can qualify for multiple votes.1 The party has declined to reveal its actual membership figures since 2008, and did not publish the number of votes cast in the leadership election, only percentages.9
According to the accounts it submitted to the Electoral Commission the party had an income of £396,195 in 2008.10 The total annual income of the party in 2005, as registered with the Electoral Commission,11 was £523,523 (up from £318,609 in 2004), with assets of £169,502.
The Labour Party campaigned for the creation of a devolved Scottish Parliament as part of its wider policy of a devolved United Kingdom. In the late 1980s and 1990s it and its representatives participated in the Scottish Constitutional Convention with the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Scottish Green Party, trades unions and churches, and also campaigned for a "Yes-Yes" vote in the 1997 referendum.
In the first elections to the Scottish Parliament on 6 May 1999, the Scottish Labour Party, led by Donald Dewar, won 56 seats out of 129, well ahead of their main opponents, the SNP under Alex Salmond, with 35 seats. Not having a majority in Parliament, the party formed a coalition government with the Scottish Liberal Democrats, with Dewar agreeing to their demand for the abolition of up-front tuition fees for university students as the price for a coalition deal. Consequently, on 13 May, Dewar was nominated as First Minister, and was officially appointed by the Queen on 17 May at a ceremony in Holyrood Palace. He later travelled to the Court of Session to be sworn in by the Lord President and receive the Great Seal of Scotland.
In April 2000, Dewar was admitted to hospital for tests on his heart, following a previous test where a minor irregularity was discovered. In May 2000, he later had surgery to repair a leaking heart valve, and was forced to take a three-month break from Parliament, with Deputy First Minister, Jim Wallace taking over as Acting First Minister. On 10 October 2000, Dewar sustained a fall. He seemed fine at first but later that day suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage which was possibly triggered by the anticoagulant medication he was taking after the heart surgery. Donald Dewar died 11 October in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital.
After Dewar's death, Henry McLeish was elected as Leader of Scottish Labour, defeating rival Jack McConnell, 27 October 2000 but resigned in 2001 amid a scandal involving the renting of his constituency office and allegations of financial wrongdoings. McLeish felt his resignation would allow the Scottish Labour Party a clean break to prepare for the 2003 Parliamentary elections.
After McLeish's resignation, Jack McConnell quickly emerged as the only candidate, and was elected First Minister by the Parliament on 22 November 2001.
In the run-up to the 2007 Scottish Parliament general election, McConnell was criticised by many inside and outside of the Labour party for his role in the party's poor start to the campaign with Labour solidly behind the Scottish National Party (SNP) in many opinion polls. On 10 April, McConnell unveiled Scottish Labour's election manifesto, which included plans to scrap (?) bills for pensioners and reform Council Tax. The manifesto also proposed a large increase in public spending on education, which would allow the increasing of the school leaving age to 18 and a reduction in average class sizes to 19.
McConnell's ruling Labour Party was defeated by the SNP, both in terms of the popular vote and in numbers of seats. The SNP won 47 seats in the new parliament, whilst the Labour Party won 46, thus securing them a one-seat majority over Labour, but still well short of a majority of the parliament. On 15 August 2007, McConnell announced his intention to resign as Scottish Labour leader.
On 17 August 2007, Wendy Alexander formally launched her campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party in Holyrood. As the only candidate, Alexander was installed as leader of the Labour group in the Scottish Parliament on 14 September 2007. In 2007, a funding scandal developed after it emerged that she had accepted an illegal donation from Paul Green, a property magnate, a matter that was investigated by the Electoral Commission. Further newspaper reports on 30 November indicated Alexander was aware of the identity of the donor, after having sent a personal letter of gratitude to Mr Green (at his home in the tax haven of Jersey) concerning the donation. Accepting a donation from someone who is not registered on the UK electoral roll is illegal under electoral law, and is subject to criminal prosecution. However, the Electoral Commission concluded in February 2008 that Alexander had taken 'significant steps' to comply with funding regulations and decided not to refer the matter to the Procurator Fiscal. In a separate development, a few days earlier in February 2008, the standards watchdog for Scotland reported Wendy Alexander to the Procurator Fiscal for failing to publicly declare campaign donations.
During a TV interview on 4 May 2008, Wendy Alexander performed a major U-turn on previous Scottish Labour Party's policy by seeming to endorse a referendum on Scottish independence, despite previously refusing to support any referendum on the grounds that she did not support independence. During a further TV interview on 6 May 2008 she reiterated this commitment to a referendum and claimed that she had the full backing of current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The following day, Gordon Brown denied this was Labour policy and that Wendy Alexander had been misrepresented during Prime Minister's Questions in Westminster. Despite this lack of backing, Wendy Alexander once again reiterated her commitment to a referendum during First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament.
On 28 June 2008, Wendy Alexander announced her resignation as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, due to pressure on her following the donation scandal. Cathy Jamieson became interim leader of the Scottish Labour Party until a leadership election could be held.
In late June 2008, David Marshall, MP for the Glasgow East constituency since 1979, resigned on health grounds. The resignation was sudden, however the seat was the 3rd safest Labour seat in the country and at the Westminster general election in 2005, Labour had a 13,057 majority over second placed SNP. In the resultant by-election on 24 July 2008, SNP candidate, serving Glasgow City Council member John Mason managed a spectacular 22.5% swing in the nationalists' favour to win the seat.
On 1 August 2008, the contest for the new Leader of the Scottish Labour Party began. The contenders were Iain Gray, MSP for East Lothian, a former Enterprise Minister in the previous Labour Executive, Andy Kerr, MSP for East Kilbride and former Health Secretary in the previous administration, and Cathy Jamieson MSP, who had been deputy leader under Jack McConnell and caretaker leader since Wendy Alexander resigned following the illegal donation scandal.
On 13 September 2008, Iain Gray was elected leader and promised a "fresh start" for Labour in Scotland.
On 13 August 2008, Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Glenrothes in Fife, John MacDougall died, triggering a by-election in a constituency that neighboured both the constituency of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, and the constituency of Dunfermline and West Fife that had been won by the Liberal Democrats in a by-election in 2006. In the event, Labour held the parliamentary seat, increasing their vote by 3.2%. Lindsay Roy became Labour MP for the constituency, on 7 November 2008, defeating the SNP's candidate, Peter Grant, current council leader in Fife, in what was viewed by many as a surprise. Grant had been widely fancied to take the seat and after their stunning success in Glasgow East the SNP were disappointed. The voting was: Lindsay Roy, Labour, 19,946; Peter Grant, SNP 13,209. The Conservative Party which came 3rd with 1,381 votes, the Liberal Democrats with 947 votes and four other candidates lost their deposits.12
On 6 May 2010, contrary to polls preceding the election, Labour consolidated their vote in Scotland, losing no seats (despite losing 91 seats across the rest of Britain) and recovering Glasgow East from the SNP. This resulted in incumbent Scottish secretary Jim Murphy stating that the result provided an impetus for Scottish Labour to attempt to become "the biggest party in Holyrood" in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.13
After the Glenrothes election, controversy and speculation mounted after it was revealed the voting register had gone missing and an unusual number of postal votes.14
The Scottish Labour Party lost seven seats compared to the notional 2007 result although its share of the constituency vote declined by less than 1%. Party leader Iain Gray, who held on to his own seat by only 150 votes, announced that he would be resigning with effect from later in the year.
The seat of Inverclyde was held by David Cairns until his death on 9 May 2011. The resulting by-election held on 30 June, was won comfortably with a 5,838 majority by Scottish Labour candidate Iain McKenzie despite several high profile campaign visits by SNP First Minister, Alex Salmond and the SNP coming within 511 votes of winning the nearest equivalent seat in the Holyrood elections a matter of weeks previously. Coupled with the 2010 UK General Election results, this suggests that Scottish Labour's disappointing performance in the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election does not necessarily translate into support for its political opponents in other elections.
The announcement of the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence in the aftermath of the Scottish National Party's victory at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2011 led to the Scottish Labour Party joining with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in the pro-union Better Together campaign against Scottish independence.
In July 2012, a member of Scottish Labour started Labour for Independence, a rebel group of Labour supporters who back Yes Scotland in the campaign for Scottish independence.15 The group has since evolved into a fully-fledged political organisation, but has been dismissed by the Scottish Labour leadership as lacking "real support" from within the party.16
In December 2012, Scottish Labour announced that they would be running their own campaign alongside Better Together to "continue articulating [their] vision for a better Scotland in education and in health".17 This would be comparable to the "Conservative Friends of the Union" campaign started by the Conservative Party, and would likely not be recognised as an official campaign organisation by the Electoral Commission. This was eventually revealed to be the "2014 Truth Team", described by the party as "dedicated to cutting through the noise and delivering [...] facts on independence".18
In 2013, Labour and Police Scotland launched separate investigations into claims that officials within the Unite union had signed up members to Labour to get their preferred candidate adopted to represent the party in the Falkirk constituency; they were later cleared of any wrongdoing.20 Subsequent claims were made that key evidence thought to have been retracted, had not been withdrawn, prompting several Falkirk councillors to urge the UK Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband to publish details of the party's internal inquiry or hold a fresh investigation.20 Speaking on 4 November edition of Good Morning Scotland, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said there was a case for a fresh inquiry, but that Labour does not publish details of its internal investigations.2021 Later the same day, Labour said that it would not be reopening the investigation.22 Miliband subsequently said that a new investigation was unnecessary.23
- Scottish Labour party MPs in the Official Opposition frontbench:
- Douglas Alexander, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Head of Labours 2015 General Election Strategy
- Jim Murphy, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
- Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
- Russell Brown, Shadow Minister for Defence (International Security Strategy)
- Cathy Jamieson, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury
- Gemma Doyle, Shadow Minister for Defence (Personnel, Welfare and Veterans)
- Willie Bain, Shadow Minister for the Scotland Office
- Tom Greatrex, Shadow Minister for Energy
- Pamela Nash, PPS to the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
- Front-bench team (Shadow Cabinet)
- Johann Lamont – Leader of Scottish Labour Party
- Iain Gray – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance
- Graeme Pearson – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice
- Neil Findlay – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
- Kezia Dugdale – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning
- James Kelly – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Capital Investment and Cities Strategy
- Paul Martin – Labour Parliamentary Business Leader
- Lewis MacDonald – Opposition Chief Whip
- Sarah Boyack – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government
- Claire Baker – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment
- Patricia Ferguson – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture
- Drew Smith – Shadow Minister for the Constitution
- Jackie Baillie – Shadow Minister for Social Justice, Equalities and Welfare
- Scottish Labour Leaders 1918–1939: A Biographical Dictionary, William Know, Mainstream Publishing, 1984.
- Dictionary of Labour Biography, Greg Rosen, 2001, Politicos Publishing, ISBN 1-902301-18-8
- The Scottish Labour Party, Gerry Hassan, 2003, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1784-1
- Donald Dewar, Scotland's First Minister, Wendy Alexander, Mainstream Publishing, 2005.
- Old Labour to New, Greg Rosen, 2005, Politicos Publishing.
- John Smith – A Life, Mark Stuart, Politicos Publishing, 2005.
- Strange Death of Labour in Scotland, Gerry Hassan, Eric Shaw, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0748640029, 2012.
- Macdonell, Hamish (29 September 2010). "The Scottish Labour Party and its mysterious expanding membership". Caledonian Mercury. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
- Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
- Ibpus.com; International Business Publications, USA (1 January 2012). Scotland Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-4387-7095-6.
- Scots Glossary – All words. Mudcat.org. Retrieved on 29 October 2013.
- The 2005 General Election in Scotland, by David Denver, Scottish Affairs, No. 53, Autumn 2005; accessed 7 January 2009
- "Scottish Labour recruits Ian Price as general secretary", BBC News website, 2 February 2013
- "Panic within Labour as membership falls", The Scotsman, 5 March 2006
- "Labour foot soldiers fall away", BBC NEWS, 29 March 2008
- "Johann Lamont named new Scottish Labour leader", 17 December 2011
- "Donations to Scottish Labour fell by 90% in just one year". The Herald. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- pdf file: The Scottish Labour Party, Report and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 December 2005, Hardie Caldwell, Chartered Accountants, Citypoint 2, 25 Tyndrum Street, Glasgow, G4 0JY
- Glenrothes result in full BBC News 7 November 2008
- "Election 2010: Jim Murphy's joy as Scotland says no to David Cameron". The Daily Record. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Glenrothes : Ghosts Vote By Post – Guy Fawkes' blog". Order-order.com. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Yes Scotland wins support from Labour rebel group". 30 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Scottish independence: Labour dismisses rebellion". 30 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- . 15 December 2012 http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/referendum-campaign-next-year.19678469. Retrieved 5 April 2013. Missing or empty
- "Anas Sarwar MP launches the 2014 Truth Team". 22 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Scottish independence: Former PM Gordon Brown wants a 'union for social justice'". 13 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Alistair Darling calls for new Falkirk vote-rigging inquiry". BBC News (BBC). 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- Mason, Rowena (4 November 2013). "Falkirk vote-rigging inquiry may be reopened, says Scottish Labour leader". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- "Labour: 'No plans' to reopen Falkirk vote-rigging inquiry". BBC News (BBC). 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- Barnes, Eddie (6 November 2013). "Ed Miliband: No need for new Falkirk inquiry". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- The Scottish Labour Party official website
- Scottish Young Labour official website
- Labour For Independence official website