World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

National Party of Scotland

National Party of Scotland
Founded 23 June 1928
Dissolved 7 April 1934
Merged into Scottish National Party
Ideology Scottish nationalism
Scottish independence
Politics of Scotland
Political parties

The National Party of Scotland (NPS) was a centre-left political party in Scotland which was one of the forerunners of the current Scottish National Party (SNP). The NPS was the first Scottish nationalist political party, and the first which campaigned for Scottish self-determination.

The National Party of Scotland was formed in 1928 by the amalgamation of the Scots National League (SNL), the Scottish National Movement (SNM) and the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association (GUSNA). The NPS emerged from the consensus among members of these groups, and the Scottish Home Rule Association, that an independent political party, free of any connections to any existing parties, was the best way forward for achieving Scottish Home Rule.

The NPS contested the 1929 and 1931 United Kingdom general elections, and a number of by-elections. In 1934 the NPS merged with the Scottish Party to form the Scottish National Party (SNP).


  • Origins and history 1
  • Merger 2
  • Leaders of the National Party of Scotland 3
  • Electoral performance 4
    • By-elections, 1929 4.1
    • 1929 general election 4.2
    • By-elections, 1929-1931 4.3
    • 1931 general election 4.4
    • By-elections, 1931-1933 4.5
  • Further reading 5
  • References 6

Origins and history

The NPS was formed in 1928 after John MacCormick of the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association called a meeting of all those favouring the establishment of a party favouring Scottish Home Rule. The meeting was presided over by Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, who had been a Liberal Party, then Scottish Labour Party politician. The NPS was formed by the amalgamation of GUSNA with the Scots National League, Lewis Spence's Scots National Movement and the Scottish Home Rule Movement.

The NPS was a left-of-centre party. The celebrated poet, Hugh MacDiarmid was a member, but was expelled on account of his Communist beliefs (ironically he would later be expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain for his Scottish Nationalist beliefs). Other figures besides MacDiarmid were involved. Eric Linklater stood as an NPS candidate in the 1933 East Fife by-election, and Neil Gunn played a role in aiding the NPS amalgamation with the Scottish Party.


In 1932 a home rule organisation, the Scottish Party, was formed by former members of the then Unionist Party, precursor of the modern Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. MacCormick desired unity amongst the Scottish Nationalist movement and made contact with the Scottish Party. Increasingly the two parties began to co-operate, and when the Scottish Party chose to contest the Kilmarnock by-election in November 1933 the NPS endorsed their candidate. In 1934 the NPS and Scottish Party merged to form the Scottish National Party.

Leaders of the National Party of Scotland

Electoral performance

Lewis Spence was the first nationalist to stand for election. He contested Midlothian and Peebles Northern at a by-election in 1929 and came fourth, with 4.5% of the vote.[1]

Westminster Elections Candidates standing Seats won Votes % Scottish vote Saved deposits
1929 General Election 2 0 3,313 0.5 0
1931 General Election 5 0 20,954 1.0 3

The NPS contested many elections in its short existence but never managed to get any of its candidates elected to parliament.

By-elections, 1929

By-election Candidate Votes % Position
Midlothian and Peebles Northern by-election, 1929 Spence, LewisLewis Spence 842 4.5 4

1929 general election

Constituency Candidate Votes % Position
Glasgow Camlachie MacCormick, JohnJohn MacCormick 1,646 4.9 3
West Renfrewshire Muirhead, RolandRoland Muirhead 1,667 5.4 4

By-elections, 1929-1931

By-election Candidate Votes % Position
Glasgow Shettleston by-election, 1930 McNicol, JohnJohn McNicol 2,527 10.1 3
East Renfrewshire by-election, 1930 Brown, OliverOliver Brown 4,818 13.1 3
Glasgow St Rollox by-election, 1931 Campbell, ElmaElma Campbell 3,521 15.8 3

1931 general election

Constituency Candidate Votes % Position
East Renfrewshire Brown, OliverOliver Brown 6,498 13.9 3
Edinburgh East Alexander, T. T.T. T. Alexander 2,872 9.4 3
Glasgow St Rollox Campbell, ElmaElma Campbell 3,521 13.3 3
Inverness MacCormick, JohnJohn MacCormick 4,016 14.0 3
West Renfrewshire Muirhead, RolandRoland Muirhead 3,547 11.0 3

By-elections, 1931-1933

By-election Candidate Votes % Position
Dunbartonshire by-election, 1932 Gray, RobertRobert Gray 5,178 13.4 3
Montrose Burghs by-election, 1932 Emslie, DouglasDouglas Emslie 1,966 11.7 3
East Fife by-election, 1933 Linklater, EricEric Linklater 1,083 3.6 5

Further reading

  • Brand, Jack, The National Movement in Scotland, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978
  • Brand, Jack, ‘Scotland’, in Watson, Michael (ed.), Contemporary Minority Nationalism, Routledge, 1990
  • Richard J. Finlay, Independent and Free: Scottish Politics and the Origins of the Scottish National Party 1918-1945, John Donald Publishers, 1994
  • Hanham, H.J., Scottish Nationalism, Harvard University Press, 1969
  • Christopher Harvie, Scotland and Nationalism: Scottish Society and Politics 1707 to the Present, Routledge (4th edition), 2004
  • Gerry Hassan (ed.), The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power, Edinburgh University Press, 2009, ISBN 0748639918
  • Lloyd-Jones, N., "Liberalism, Scottish Nationalism and the Home Rule crisis, c.1886-1893', "English Historical Review" (August 2014)
  • Lynch, Peter, SNP: The History of the Scottish National Party, Welsh Academic Press, 2002
  • John MacCormick, The Flag in the Wind: The Story of the National Movement in Scotland, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1955
  • Mitchell, James, The Scottish Question, Oxford University Press, 2014


  1. ^  
  • Collection of material relating to the Scottish National Party at The Archives Hub
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.