Scottish Labour Party
This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (September 2012)
|Scottish Labour Party
Pàrtaidh Làbarach na h-Alba
Scots Labour Pairty
|Deputy Leader||Alex Rowley|
|General Secretary||Brian Roy|
|Headquarters||290 Bath Street
|Student wing||Scottish Labour Students|
|Youth wing||Scottish Young Labour|
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists|
|International affiliation||Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International (Observer)
|European Parliament group||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
|Scottish seats in the House of Commons||
1 / 59
|Scottish seats in the European Parliament||
2 / 6
38 / 129
|Local government in Scotland||
396 / 1,223
|Politics of Scotland
The Scottish Labour Party (Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Làbarach na h-Alba, Template:Lang-sco; branded Scottish Labour) is the section of the Labour Party which operates in Scotland. Labour hold 37 of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament and two of six Scottish seats in the European Parliament.
Labour won the largest share of the vote in Scotland at every UK general election from the 1960s until 2015, when they lost heavily to the Scottish National Party, every European Parliament general election from 1979 until defeated by the SNP in 2009, and in the first two elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and 2003. After these, Scottish Labour entered a coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats, forming a majority Scottish Executive. In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, Scottish Labour became the second largest party, with a lower share of the vote and one fewer seat than the Scottish National Party (SNP), who subsequently formed a minority government. It remained the second largest party after the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, with the SNP forming the first majority government since devolution in 1999. In a landslide defeat at the 2015 UK general election, it was reduced to a single Member of Parliament, losing 40 of its 41 seats to the SNP, the first time the party had not won a UK general election in Scotland since 1959.
- 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 2008 Scottish Labour leadership elections
- 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 2011 Murphy/Boyack Review
- 2.10 2011 Scottish Labour leadership elections
- 2.11 2012–2014 independence referendum campaign
- 2.12 2013 Falkirk Labour Party investigation
- 2.13 2014 Scottish Labour leadership elections
- 2.14 2015 UK general election
- 2.15 2015 Scottish Labour leadership elections
- 3 Elected representatives (current)
- 4 Electoral performance
- 5 Further reading
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Scottish Labour Party is registered as an Accounting Unit (AU) of the Labour Party with the Electoral Commission and is therefore not a separately registered political party under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. As such Scottish Labour does not have a "party leader", although Kezia Dugdale is currently leading the Scottish division of the UK party. At party conferences she appears under the title "Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland".
Scottish Executive Committee
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: Jamie Glackin
- Vice Chair: Jacqueline Martin
- Treasurer: Cathy Peattie
Leader of the Labour Group in the Scottish Parliament
- 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)
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
- Johann Lamont (17 December 2011 – 24 October 2014)
- Anas Sarwar (acting: 24 October 2014 – 13 December 2014)
- Jim Murphy (13 December 2014 – 13 June 2015)
- Iain Gray (acting: 13 June 2015 – 15 August 2015)
- Kezia Dugdale (15 August 2015 – present)
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
- Anas Sarwar (17 December 2011 – 13 December 2014)
- Kezia Dugdale (13 December 2014 – 13 June 2015)
- Vacant (13 June 2015 – 15 August 2015)
- Alex Rowley (15 August 2015 – present)
Scottish general secretary
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.
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. 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.
In September 2010, the party issued 13,135 ballot papers to party members during the Labour Party (UK) leadership election. These did not necessarily equate to 13,135 individual members – due to the party's electoral structure, members can qualify for multiple votes. The party has declined to reveal its membership figures since 2008, and did not publish the number of votes cast in the leadership elections of 2011 or 2014, only percentages.
In November 2014 the party's membership was claimed by an unnamed source reported in the Sunday Herald to be 13,500. Other recent reports in the media have quoted figures of "as low as 8,000" (the Evening Times)  and "less than 10,000" (New Statesman). In December 2014 the newly elected leader Jim Murphy claimed that the figure was "about 20,000" on the TV programme Scotland Tonight.
According to the accounts it submitted to the Electoral Commission the party had an income from membership of £115,636 in 2013, the most recent year for which figures have been published.
In late September 2015, following a membership boost resulting from the 2015 Labour leadership election, a total of 29,899 people were associated with the party; 18,824 members, 7,790 people affiliated through trade unions and other groups, and 3,285 registered supporters.
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.
1999–2007 Lib–Lab pact & coalition
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. Lacking 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 received the Great Seal of Scotland.
In April 2000, Dewar was admitted to hospital for tests on his heart, following a previous test in which a minor irregularity had been discovered. The following month, he 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 the following day in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital.
On 27 October 2000, a fortnight after Dewar's death, Henry McLeish was elected as Leader of Scottish Labour, defeating rival Jack McConnell. McLeish resigned the following year 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.
2007 Scottish Parliament elections and aftermath
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 for the school leaving age to be increased to 18 and reduce average class sizes to 19 pupils.
McConnell's ruling Labour Party was defeated by the SNP, both in terms of the popular vote and number 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. That same year, 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 as a result of the pressure on her following the donation scandal. Cathy Jamieson subsequently became interim leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
2008 Glasgow East by-election
In late June 2008, David Marshall, MP for the Glasgow East (Glasgow Shettleston) 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.
2008 Scottish Labour leadership elections
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.
2008 Glenrothes by-election
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.
2010 UK general election
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.
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.
2011 Scottish Parliament election
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.
2011 Inverclyde by-election
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.
2011 Murphy/Boyack Review
2011 Scottish Labour leadership elections
2012–2014 independence referendum campaign
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. 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.
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". 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".
2013 Falkirk Labour Party investigation
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. 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. 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. Later the same day, Labour said that it would not be reopening the investigation. Miliband subsequently said that a new investigation was unnecessary.
2014 Scottish Labour leadership elections
On 25 October 2014, Johann Lamont MSP resigned as leader; Anas Sarwar MP became acting leader and resigned as deputy leader. Sarah Boyack confirmed that she would be standing as a candidate for party leader. She was joined by Neil Findlay and Jim Murphy, who declared the following day. Katy Clark and Kezia Dugdale stood for the vacant deputy leader post.
In his victory speech, Murphy said that his election marked a "fresh start" for Scottish Labour: "Scotland is changing and so too is Scottish Labour. I'm ambitious for our party because I'm ambitious for our country". He also said that he planned to defeat the SNP in 2016, and that he would use the increased powers being devolved to Holyrood to end poverty and inequality. In her speech, Dugdale said that the party's "focus has to be on the future – a Scottish Labour party that's fighting fit and fighting for our future".
2015 UK general election
Following his election as leader in December 2014, Murphy claimed he was confident the party would hold all 41 of their seats, and would gain the marginal East Dunbartonshire from the Liberal Democrats. However, the party suffered a landslide defeat in the general election in May 2015, losing 40 of their 41 seats to the SNP. Many senior party figures were unseated, including Murphy himself (East Renfrewshire), Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) and Shadow Scotland Secretary Margaret Curran (Glasgow East). Ian Murray was the only MP re-elected. It was the first time since 1959 that the party hadn't won the most seats in Scotland at a general election.
2015 Scottish Labour leadership elections
On 16 May 2015 Jim Murphy resigned as leader effective 13 June 2015; under normal circumstances, Deputy Leader Kezia Dugdale would become acting leader, but former Leader Iain Gray was appointed Acting Leader whilst a leadership and a deputy leadership election are being simultaneously held on account of Dugdale resigning as Deputy Leader to stand for Leader. Dugdale was later elected Leader on 15 August 2015.
Elected representatives (current)
House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
|Member of Parliament||Constituency||First elected||Notes|
|Ian Murray||Edinburgh South||2010||Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland|
- Kezia Dugdale - Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
- Alex Rowley - Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party; Policy and Strategy Spokesperson
- Jenny Marra - Equality Spokesperson
- Iain Gray - Opportunity Spokesperson
- Graeme Pearson - Justice Spokesperson
- Jackie Baillie - Public Services and Wealth Creation Spokesperson
- Ken Macintosh - Community Spokesperson
- Sarah Boyack - Environmental Justice Spokesperson
- Claire Baker - Democracy Spokesperson
- Mary Fee - Reform Spokesperson
- James Kelly - Business Manager
- Neil Bibby - Chief Whip
Members of the Scottish Parliament
|Member of the Scottish Parliament||Constituency or Region||First elected||Notes|
|Claire Baker||Mid Scotland and Fife||2007|
|Richard Baker||North East Scotland||2003|
|Jayne Baxter||Mid Scotland and Fife||2012||Replaced John Park upon his resignation|
|Claudia Beamish||South of Scotland||2011|
|Neil Bibby||West of Scotland||2011|
|Sarah Boyack||Lothians||1999||Member for Edinburgh Central 1999–2011, Lothians 2011–|
|Malcolm Chisholm||Edinburgh North and Leith||1999||MP for Edinburgh Leith 1992–1997, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith 1997–2001|
|Kezia Dugdale||Lothians||2011||Leader of the Scottish Labour Party 2015–present, former Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour 2014–2015|
|Mary Fee||West of Scotland||2011|
|Patricia Ferguson||Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn||1999||Member for Glasgow Maryhill 1999–2011, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn 2011–|
|Rhoda Grant||Highlands and Islands||1999||Member for Highlands and Islands 1999–2003, 2007–|
|Iain Gray||East Lothian||1999||Member for Edinburgh Pentlands 1999–2003, East Lothian 2007–, former Scottish Labour Leader from 2008–2011, Acting Scottish Labour Leader 2015|
|Mark Griffin||Central Scotland||2011|
|Hugh Henry||Renfrewshire South||2011||Member for Paisley South 1999–11, Renfrewshire South 2011-|
|James Kelly||Rutherglen||2007||Member for Glasgow Rutherglen 2007–11, Rutherglen 2011–|
|Johann Lamont||Glasgow Pollok||1999||former Leader of Scottish Labour from 2011–2014|
|Lewis Macdonald||North East Scotland||1999||Member for Aberdeen Central 1999–2011, North East Scotland 2011–|
|Jenny Marra||North East Scotland||2011|
|Paul Martin||Glasgow Provan||1999||Member for Glasgow Springburn 1999–2011, Glasgow Provan 2011–|
|Margaret McCulloch||Central Scotland||2011|
|Margaret McDougall||West of Scotland||2011|
|Michael McMahon||Uddingston and Bellshill||1999||Member for Hamilton North and Bellshill 1999–2011, Uddingston and Bellshill 2011–|
|Siobhan McMahon||Central Scotland||2011|
|Duncan McNeil||Greenock and Inverclyde||1999|
|Elaine Murray||Dumfriesshire||1999||Member for Dumfries 1999–2011, Dumfriesshire 2011–|
|Graeme Pearson||South of Scotland||2011|
|John Pentland||Motherwell and Wishaw||2011|
|Alex Rowley||Cowdenbeath||2014||Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party 2015–present|
|Richard Simpson||Mid Scotland and Fife||1999||Member for Ochil 1999–2003, Mid Scotland and Fife 2007–|
|Elaine Smith||Coatbridge and Chryston||1999|
|David Stewart||Highlands and Islands||2007||MP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber 1997–2005|
European Parliament Elections
|Year||Share of votes||Seats|
2 / 8
5 / 8
7 / 8
6 / 8
3 / 8
2 / 7
2 / 6
2 / 6
UK General Elections
|Year||Share of votes||Seats|
2 / 70
3 / 70
6 / 71
29 / 71
34 / 71
26 / 71
36 / 71
7 / 71
20 / 71
37 / 71
37 / 71
35 / 71
34 / 71
38 / 71
43 / 71
46 / 71
44 / 71
40 / 71
41 / 71
44 / 71
41 / 72
50 / 72
49 / 72
56 / 72
56 / 72
41 / 59
41 / 59
1 / 59
Scottish Parliament Elections
|Year||Share of votes (constituency)||Share of votes (list)||Seats|
56 / 129
50 / 129
46 / 129
37 / 129
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