Solidarity (Scotland)

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Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement
Leader Joint leadership of Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne
Founded 2006
Split from Scottish Socialist Party
Headquarters Glasgow, G42 2DN
Membership  (2012-13) Decrease Exact number unknown [1]
Ideology Socialism
Scottish independence
Political position Left-wing to Far-left
National affiliation Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Colours Red, Green, White
House of Commons (Scottish seats)
0 / 59
European Parliament (Scottish seats)
0 / 6
Scottish Parliament
0 / 129
Local government in Scotland
1 / 1,223
Politics of Scotland
Political parties

Solidarity (full name Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement) is a political party in Scotland, launched on 3 September 2006 as a breakaway from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).[2] It was formed by two of the Scottish Socialist Party's six MSPs, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, in the aftermath of Sheridan's libel action.

On 23 December 2010, Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury during the 2006 libel action, and sentenced to three years imprisonment on 26 January 2011. Solidarity performed poorly in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, achieving only 2,837 votes or 0.14% of the overall regional list vote.

Solidarity has one elected official in Scotland; councillor Pat Lee in South Lanarkshire. Lee was elected as an SNP councillor and defected to Solidarity in May 2015.[3] Solidarity has been accused of using entryist tactics in North Lanarkshire, with it being claimed that activists close to the party have infiltrated SNP branches in the area.[4]

The party is considering running under the Hope Over Fear banner for the 2016 Scottish parliamentary election.[5]


On its launch, Solidarity claimed to be a democratic alternative to the SSP, which Sheridan said was divided and had "run out of breath".[6] A launch rally held in September 2006 in Glasgow attracted around 600 people.[7] 250 people attended the founding conference on Saturday 5 November 2006.[8]

The new party was backed by the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party Scotland (part of the Committee for a Workers' International).[9] The two groups clashed at the first Solidarity conference on the political orientation of the party. After a close vote the interim title of "Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement" was adopted as the name of the party, and Rosemary Byrne and Tommy Sheridan were unanimously endorsed as co-convenors.[10][11]

The party failed to win any seats in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. The party won one council seat in Glasgow in local elections, Ruth Black,[12] who subsequently defected to Labour in December 2007 after Sheridan was charged with perjury.[13] In March 2009, Solidarity joined No to EU – Yes to Democracy, a left-wing eurosceptic coalition for the 2009 European Parliament elections,[14][15][16] which received 9,693 votes (0.9%) in Scotland. Sheridan stood for election to Westminster in 2010 under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition banner, winning 931 votes (2.9%) in Glasgow South West and losing his deposit.

Solidarity stood down in the Glasgow region for the 2011 Scottish Parliament election in order to allow George Galloway, the Respect Party candidate, a better chance of being elected. Solidarity performed poorly with a result of only 2,837 votes, or 0.14% of the regional vote, and won no seats in the Scottish Parliament. The party's issues were compounded when Solidarity leader Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury following a 12-week-long court case at the High Court in Glasgow, and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on 26 January 2011. He was released in early 2012.[17]

At the start of 2015, Solidarity faced its own split as Socialist Party Scotland withdrew its support for the party and said Sheridan had moved to the right.[18]


Solidarity's split from the SSP was beset by a number of controversies. In the immediate aftermath of Solidarity's launch, members of the SSP claimed that a transfer of funds from the account of the regional SSP to Solidarity was fraudulent.[19][20][21][22] In Autumn 2006, the Industrial Workers of the World[23][24] alleged that Sheridan and Byrne betrayed workers by ignoring their right of consultation about the impending redundancy of parliamentary staff, and unilaterally removing funding from the collective body which employed parliamentary staff.

Electoral performance

Scottish Parliament

2007 31,066 1.5 (#8)
0 / 129
Decrease 2
2011 2,837 0.1 (#16)
0 / 129
Steady 0

Scottish Councils

2007 17,670 0.8
1 / 1,222
2012 787 0.05 (#19)
0 / 1,223
Decrease 1

See also


  1. "Search statement of accounts (published)". Electoral Commission.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>| membership income decreased from 16,125 to 10,921
  2. "New socialist party for Sheridan", BBC News, 29 August 2006
  3. "Clydesdale councillor leaves SNP for Solidarity". The Southern Reporter. 29 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Fears over infiltration of Tommy Sheridan supporters in SNP". The Herald. 19 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Sheridan's Solidarity party registers name "Hope Over Fear" for 2016 election". The Herald. 11 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Sheridan unveils Solidarity party". 3 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Solidarity wins on decibel count". 4 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Socialist Worker Online - Solidarity founding conference
  9. "Solidarity: New socialist party launched in Scotland". The Socialist. 7–13 September 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Socialist World - Solidarity conference agrees to build a socialist party
  11. Solidarity Website - Solidarity Conference Elects Co-Convenors, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne 4 November 2006
  12. Solidarity Emerge as Scotland's Largest Left Party - Retrieved 26/08/07
  13. Solidarity councillor defection
  17. "Tommy Sheridan vows to clear name after release from jail". 30 January 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Solidarity faces breakaway over Tommy Sheridan's support for SNP". The Herald. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Police probe transfer of funds to Sheridan's new party". 18 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. The Shetland News - Shetland socialists call in cops
  21. The Herald - Solidarity is cleared over funds ‘smear’
  22. The Shetland News - Party fraud probe still ongoing
  23. IWW website - Sheridan betrays his own workers
  24. IWW Website - NUJ backs dispute with Sheridan

External links