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Scotland at Westminster

Evans, Adam 2020. Scotland at Westminster. In: Keating, Michael ed. The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics, Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press, pp. 584-601. (10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198825098.013.30)

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Scotland has had a continued parliamentary representation at Westminster since the Act of Union in 1707 and the creation of the Parliament of Great Britain. Since that time, Scottish MPs have, on a number of occasions, played a key role both in Westminster and Whitehall, at many times exerting an outsized political influence. This influence has continued post-devolution, despite a reduction in the number of Scottish constituencies as new boundaries were implemented in time for the 2005 General Election with the number of Scottish seats reduced from seventy-two to fifty-nine. Scottish constituencies have returned six Prime Ministers since the 1832 Reform Act, a list that includes such political heavyweights as William Gladstone (Midlothian), Herbert Asquith (East Fife) and, most recently, Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath). Welsh constituencies, in contrast, have returned only three Prime Ministers, David Lloyd George (Caernarvon Boroughs), Ramsay MacDonald (Aberavon) and Jim Callaghan (Cardiff South). MPs from Scottish seats have represented all the ‘Great Offices of State’ and, despite devolution, the Scottish influence at Westminster continues to remain strong. This chapter examines the continued role of Scotland at Westminster, post-devolution. It does so, first, by exploring the role of Scottish MPs within the Westminster party system and how, following the success of the SNP and the collapse of the Liberal Democrats, the SNP became the ‘third party’ at Westminster with the (limited) additional rights and privileges that that bestows. This status provides the SNP,and thus its bloc of Scottish constituency MPs, with guaranteed questions at Prime Ministers Questions, opposition day time (three of the twenty Opposition Days are at the disposal of the leader of the second opposition party—the SNP) and the likelihood that at least one of its amendments to bills or the Queen’s Speech will be selected by the Speaker for the House to vote upon (Kelly 2015).

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN1187 Scotland
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198825098
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2020 14:57

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