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Scottish National Party

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The SNP was formed in 1934 after a merger between the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party. The party is committed to securing an independent parliament for Scotland.

The SNP won their first parliamentary seat in 1945 when Dr Robert McIntyre was returned at a by‐election for Motherwell. However the SNP had no great electoral success until the 1960s. In November 1967 Winnie Ewing captured Hamilton from Labour and the SNP had a high profile in the 1968 local elections. By 1974 the SNP had eleven seats in Parliament and polled over 30 per cent of the vote in Scotland. From this point there was a waning in SNP fortunes. In the 1979 general election their share of the poll dropped to 17 per cent and they lost all but two seats.

In 1990 Alex Salmond became party leader, confirming the SNP as a left‐of‐centre social democratic party. The SNP accepted the Scottish Parliament as a step towards complete independence, within a European framework. It obtained six seats at Westminster in the general election of 1997, and 35 of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament elected in 1999. The following year John Swinney replaced Salmond as party leader but suffered a setback in the 2003 elections. Salmond resumed the leadership in 2004. After the SNP emerged from the 2007 election as the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, Salmond formed a minority government as First Minister.

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