Scottish Liberal Party


The Scottish Liberal Party, the section of the Liberal Party in Scotland, was the dominant political party of Victorian Scotland,[1] and although its importance declined with the rise of the Labour and Unionist parties during the 20th century,[2] it was still a significant, albeit much reduced force when it finally merged with the Social Democratic Party in Scotland, to form the Scottish Liberal Democrats in 1988.

Scottish Liberal Party
Founded1859
Dissolved3 March 1988
Merged intoScottish Liberal Democrats
Headquarters2 Atholl Place, Edinburgh
IdeologyLiberalism
Classical liberalism
Social liberalism
National affiliationLiberal Party

The party lost its last remaining seats in 1945, and continued to decline in popular support in the post war years, with Jo Grimond (who won back Orkney and Shetland in 1950) being the sole Scottish Liberal MP in the House of Commons from 1951 to 1964. The party gained a partial revival in the 1964 general election returning three further MPs; George Mackie, Russell Johnston and Alasdair Mackenzie. A further gain came the following year with David Steel's victory at the Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles by-election. Steel went on to become a pivotal figure in the development of Scottish devolution, in partnership with John Smith, Donald Dewar and other key Labour and Liberal figures.

Victorian party


The Victorian Liberal party in Scotland was not always ideologically unified, and was faced with many internal divisions, particularly amongst the more conservative Whiggish elements of the party who were largely based in Edinburgh and the East, and the more western and Glasgow-based radical Liberals.[3]

The East and North of Scotland Liberal Association and the West and South West of Scotland Liberal Association were founded in 1877. Early in 1881, they merged, forming the Scottish Liberal Association, led by Gladstone and Adam. A National Liberal Federation of Scotland was founded in April 1886, but merged into the Liberal Association in December.[4]

The Scottish Women's Liberal Federation was formed in 1891 from regional groups and was led by Anne Lindsay.[5]

Leadership


Chairmen

1886: Victor Bruce
1894: Thomas Gibson-Carmichael
1902: Edward Marjoribanks
1906: John William Crombie
1908: Eugene Wason
1909: George Green
1910: Eugene Wason
1912: William Robertson
1921: Donald Maclean
1925: John Anthony
1933: William Baird
1936: Archibald Sinclair
1936: Philip Kerr
1946: Louise Glen-Coats
1948: Leonard T. M. Gray
1952: Louise Glen-Coats
1953: John Gray Wilson
1954: Charles Hampton Johnston
1956: John Bannerman
1965: George Mackie
1970: Russell Johnston
1973: Robert L. Smith
1975: Menzies Campbell
1977: Terry Grieve
1980: Fred McDermid
1982: Ross Finnie
1986: John Lawrie
1987: Christopher Mason

Presidents

1880s: John Dalrymple
1884: Alexander Duff
1886: Archibald Primrose
1901: Henry Campbell-Bannerman
1909: H. H. Asquith
1928: John Hamilton-Gordon
1934: Ramsay Muir
1935: Archibald Sinclair
1960: Archibald Sinclair and Andrew Murray
1961: Archibald Sinclair
1963: Archibald Sinclair and John Bannerman
1965: John Bannerman
1969: Ray Bannerman
1976: Robert L. Smith
1982: Fred McDermid
1983: George Mackie

Leader

Electoral performance


The Liberals reached their zenith in Scotland at the 1906 general election, where they won over 80% of Scottish seats.

This chart shows the electoral results of the Scottish Liberal Party, from its first election in 1859, to its last in 1983. Total number of seats, and vote percentage, is for Scotland only.

Election National leader in Scotland Vote % Seats Government
1859 66.4
40 / 53
Liberal
1865 85.4
42 / 53
Liberal
1868 82.5
51 / 58
Liberal
1874 68.4
40 / 58
Conservative
1880 70.1
52 / 58
Liberal
1885 William Ewart Gladstone for Midlothian 53.3
51 / 70
Liberal minority
1886 William Ewart Gladstone for Midlothian 53.6
43 / 70
Conservative–Liberal Unionist
1892 William Ewart Gladstone for Midlothian 53.9
51 / 70
Liberal minority
1895 51.7
39 / 70
Conservative–Liberal Unionist
1900 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman for Stirling Burghs 50.2
34 / 70
Conservative–Liberal Unionist
1906 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman for Stirling Burghs 56.4
58 / 70
Liberal
Jan 1910 H. H. Asquith for East Fife 54.2
58 / 70
Liberal minority
Dec 1910 H. H. Asquith for East Fife 53.6
57 / 70
Liberal minority
1918 H. H. Asquith for East Fife (defeated) Official Liberal
15.0

Coalition Liberal
19.1
Official Liberal
8 / 71

Coalition Liberal
25 / 71
Coalition Liberal–Conservative
1922 H. H. Asquith for Paisley Official Liberal
21.5

National Liberal
17.7
Official Liberal
15 / 71

National Liberal
12 / 71
Conservative
1923 H. H. Asquith for Paisley 28.4
22 / 71
Labour minority
1924 H. H. Asquith for Paisley 16.6
8 / 71
Conservative
1929 18.1
13 / 71
Labour minority
1931 8.6
7 / 71
National Labour–Conservative–Liberal
1935 6.7
3 / 71
Conservative–National Labour–Liberal National
1945 Sir Archibald Sinclair for Caithness and Sutherland 5.6
0 / 71
Labour
1950 6.6
2 / 71
Labour
1951 2.7
1 / 71
Conservative
1955 1.9
1 / 71
Conservative
1959 Jo Grimond for Orkney and Shetland 4.1
1 / 71
Conservative
1964 Jo Grimond for Orkney and Shetland 7.6
4 / 71
Labour
1966 Jo Grimond for Orkney and Shetland 6.8
5 / 71
Labour
1970 5.5
3 / 71
Conservative
February 1974 7.9
3 / 71
Labour minority
October 1974 8.3
3 / 71
Labour
1979 David Steel for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles 9.0
3 / 71
Conservative

References


  1. Brown, Stewart J. (October 1992). "'Echoes of Midlothian': Scottish Liberalism and the South African War, 1899–1902". The Scottish Historical Review. LXXI (191/192): 156–183. JSTOR 25530538.
  2. Devine, Thomas Martin; Finlay, Richard J. (1996). Scotland in the twentieth century. Edinburgh University Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7486-0839-3.
  3. Checkland, Olive; Checkland, S. G. (January 1989). Industry and Ethos: Scotland, 1832–1914. p. 77. ISBN 9780748601028.
  4. Liberal Year Book, 1887'
  5. K. D. Reynolds, ‘Lindsay , Anna (1845–1903)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 15 Oct 2017

Further reading


  • Constitution and rules of the Scottish Liberal Association. Scottish Liberal Association. 18??. p. 8. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Scottish Liberal Party (1970). Scottish self-government: the views of the Scottish Liberal party. Scottish Liberal Party. ISBN 978-0-902381-04-9.