Election candidates 1945-2019: Scotland

Scotland has been traditionally one of the party’s strongest regions though there was a bleak period, 1945-50, when there were no Scottish Liberal MPs. There were two for the brief interval of the Parliament of 1950-51 but over 1951-64, Jo Grimond remained the sole Scottish Liberal MP at Westminster. The position improved considerably in 1964 and until the catastrophe of May 2015, there was always a strong Scottish contingent on the Liberal/Liberal Democrat benches at Westminster, including a succession of five party leaders.

Liberal/Liberal Democrat strength in Scotland has always centred upon the Highlands, Islands and rural areas. It was only in the last two decades before 2015 that seats were won in urban areas. Many constituencies in Glasgow and the Lowlands were left uncontested, in some instances from the 1920s. They remained neglected until the mid-1970s when candidates were at last selected for these ‘derelict’ constituencies. Recognition is made in some entries to ‘pioneer’ candidates who were the first to contest such constituencies. Responsibility for selecting candidates was shared with the SDP in the General Elections of 1983 and 1987 on a roughly 50-50 basis. From 1992 in common with the other Federal parties of the UK, the Scottish party has left no constituency unfought.

Lionel King