Scottish Socialist Party
The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is a Scottish left wing party standing for a Marxist economic platform and Scottish independence.
The SSP was formed out of the Scottish Socialist Alliance (SSA) in 1998. The SSA had itself formed in 1996 from an alliance of various leftist groups operating in Scotland. Scottish Militant Labour (which had itself formed out of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency in the early 1990s) drove the formation of the SSA. Other participating groups included the Scottish Republican Socialist Party (SRSP) and the Communist Party of Scotland.
The period since 1999 has seen sustained growth for the SSP, including a significant boost to membership when the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Scotland agreed to become part of the SSP, although the decision to absorb the SWP remains controversial. They have also picked up many former members of the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party (SNP) who have become disaffected with the way in which those parties now operate. The decision of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) at its 2003 Annual Conference to allow its branches in Scotland to affiliate to the SSP if they wished led to the RMT's unprecedented expulsion from the British Labour Party when a special conference in January 2004 declined to reverse the decision.
The SSP managed to return six members to the Scottish Parliament in 2003, all of them 'regional list' MSPs rather than constituency MSPs:
- Rosemary Byrne (South of Scotland)
- Frances Curran (West of Scotland)
- Colin Fox (Lothians)
- Rosie Kane (Glasgow)
- Carolyn Leckie (Central Scotland)
- Tommy Sheridan (Glasgow)
On November 11, 2004 Tommy Sheridan announced his resignation as convener of the party, citing personal reasons as being behind his decision. At the SSP National Convention in February 2005, MSP Colin Fox was elected as the new convener,