Solidarity (Scotland)

Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement is a political party in Scotland. The party launched on 3 September 2006, founded by two Scottish Socialist Party MSPs, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, in the aftermath of Sheridan's libel action.

Solidarity – Scotland's Socialist Movement
Gaelic nameDlùthachd - Gluasad Sòisealach na h-Alba
Scots nameSolidaritie - Scotland's Socialist Muivement
Co-convenerJock Penman
Co-convenerLiza Farrell
Split fromScottish Socialist Party
Headquarters36 Chestnut Crescent
East Kilbride
G75 9EL[1]
Scottish independence
Political positionLeft-wing to far-left
National affiliationTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
ColoursRed, Green, White
Scottish Parliament
0 / 129
Local government in Scotland
0 / 1,227

On 23 December 2010, Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury during the 2006 defamation action, and sentenced to three years imprisonment on 26 January 2011. Solidarity performed poorly in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, achieving only 2,837 votes or 0.14% of the overall regional list vote.


The Scottish Socialist Party returned six MSPs in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. At the end of August 2006, the SSP's leader Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, a SSP MSP for South of Scotland led a breakaway.[2] Solidarity launched on 3 September with 600 people attending the first meeting in Glasgow.[3][4] Most SSP members and branches in the Highlands and Islands defected to the new party, while the Shetland membership voted unanimously to stay in the SSP.[5] 250 people attended the founding conference on Saturday 5 November 2006.[6]

The new party was backed by the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party Scotland (part of the Committee for a Workers' International).[7] The two groups clashed at the first Solidarity conference on the political orientation of the party. After a close vote the interim title of "Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement" was adopted as the name of the party, and Rosemary Byrne and Tommy Sheridan were unanimously endorsed as co-convenors.[8][9]

The party failed to win any seats in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. The party won one council seat in Glasgow in local elections, with Ruth Black taking the Craigton seat,[10] then subsequently defected to Labour in December 2007 after Sheridan was charged with perjury.[11] They fielded a candidate in the 2008 Glasgow East by-election who came sixth.[12]

In March 2009, Solidarity joined No to EU – Yes to Democracy, a left-wing eurosceptic coalition for the 2009 European Parliament elections,[13][14][15] which received 9,693 votes (0.9%) in Scotland. Sheridan stood for election to Westminster in 2010 under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition banner, winning 931 votes (2.9%) in Glasgow South West and losing his deposit.

Ahead of the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, Solidarity explored the possibility of coalition with George Galloway. In January Galloway had announced his intention to stand for Holyrood after failing to gain a seat at Westminster as a Respect party candidate in the May 2010 election. Solidarity did not field a candidate in the Glasgow region, lending support to Galloway, who stood as the Respect Party candidate.[16] Solidarity performed poorly with a result of only 2,837 votes, or 0.14% of the regional vote, and won no seats in the Scottish Parliament. The party's issues were compounded when Solidarity leader Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury following a 12-week-long court case at the High Court in Glasgow, and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on 26 January 2011. He was released in early 2012.[17]

At the start of 2015, Solidarity faced its own split as Socialist Party Scotland withdrew its support for the party and said Sheridan had moved to the right.[18]

The party registered the name Hope Over Fear for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.[19] Solidarity fielded 40 candidates across Scotland's eight regional lists for the 2016 election.[20] At the 2016 elections the party received 14,333 votes (0.6% of the electorate) across all the regions and returned none of their candidates. However they gained the largest number of votes among the left wing parties in Scotland making them the third most supported pro-independence party in Scotland behind the SNP and Green Party

In June 2016, Sheridan resigned from his position as co-convener of the Solidarity, with councillor Pat Lee elected to replace him alongside Byrne.[21][22]

The party campaigned in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union during the 2016 referendum.[23]

Solidarity did have an elected official in Scotland; councillor Pat Lee in South Lanarkshire. Lee was elected as an SNP councillor and defected to Solidarity in May 2015.[24] Solidarity has been accused of using entryist tactics in North Lanarkshire, with it being claimed that activists close to the party have infiltrated SNP branches in the area.[25]


Solidarity's split from the SSP was beset by a number of controversies. In the immediate aftermath of Solidarity's launch, members of the SSP claimed that a transfer of funds from the account of the regional SSP to Solidarity was fraudulent.[5][26][27][28] In Autumn 2006, the Industrial Workers of the World[29][30] alleged that Sheridan and Byrne betrayed workers by ignoring their right of consultation about the impending redundancy of parliamentary staff, and unilaterally removing funding from the collective body which employed parliamentary staff.

In March 2016, several leading activists left the party, citing the party's failure to adequately respond to members' reports of bullying and harassment.[31][32] Solidarity has announced that Park will be bringing a defamation case against The National in relation to these allegations.[33]

Electoral performance

Scottish Parliament

2007 31,066 1.5 (#8)
0 / 129
2011 2,837 0.1 (#16)
0 / 129
2016 14,333 0.6 (#7)
0 / 129

Scottish councils

2007 17,670 0.8
1 / 1,222
2012 787 0.05 (#19)
0 / 1,223
2017 883 0.05 (#15)
0 / 1,227

See also


  2. "New socialist party for Sheridan". BBC News. 29 August 2006.
  3. Fraser, Douglas (4 September 2006). "Solidarity wins on decibel count but SSP defeats Sheridan's new party for vitriol levels". The Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  4. "Sheridan unveils Solidarity party". BBC News. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  5. Dinwoodie, Robbie (18 September 2006). "Police probe transfer of funds to Sheridan's new party". The Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  6. Socialist Worker Online - Solidarity founding conference
  7. "Solidarity: New socialist party launched in Scotland". The Socialist. 7–13 September 2006.
  8. Socialist World - Solidarity conference agrees to build a socialist party
  9. Solidarity Website - Solidarity Conference Elects Co-Convenors, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne 4 November 2006 Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Paterson, Stewart (5 May 2007). "River City continues to run red". The Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  11. "Solidarity councillor defection". BBC News. 20 December 2007.
  12. "Glasgow East result in full". BBC News. 25 July 2008.
  13. Archived 24 July 2009 at the Portuguese Web Archive
  16. Taylor, Marianne (14 April 2011). "George Galloway is back in Scottish politics – let battle commence". The Guardian.
  17. "Tommy Sheridan vows to clear name after release from jail". 30 January 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  18. "Solidarity faces breakaway over Tommy Sheridan's support for SNP". The Herald. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  19. Gordon, Tom (11 October 2015). "Sheridan's Solidarity party registers name "Hope Over Fear" for 2016 election". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  20. "Holyrood 2016: Solidarity calls for new independence referendum". BBC News. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  21. Hutcheon, Paul (12 June 2016). "Sheridan steps aside as Solidarity leader after struggling party wins 0.6% of Holyrood vote". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  22. "Tommy Sheridan quits Solidarity role to focus on 'bringing down Rupert Murdoch'". The Scotsman. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  24. "Clydesdale councillor leaves SNP for Solidarity". The Southern Reporter. 29 May 2015.
  25. "Fears over infiltration of Tommy Sheridan supporters in SNP". The Herald. 19 July 2015.
  26. The Shetland News - Shetland socialists call in cops Archived 30 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  27. The Herald - Solidarity is cleared over funds ‘smear’
  28. The Shetland News - Party fraud probe still ongoing Archived 30 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  29. IWW website - Sheridan betrays his own workers Archived 4 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  30. IWW Website - NUJ backs dispute with Sheridan Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  31. Learmonth, Andrew (26 March 2016). "Tommy Sheridan's Solidarity party is set for collapse after a mass exodus of senior figures". The National. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
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