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Scottish Constitutional Convention

Scottish Constitutional Convention

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The Scottish Constitutional Convention (SCC) was an association of Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 political parties, churches and other civic groups, that developed a framework for a Scottish devolution. It is credited as having paved the way for the establishment of the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 in 1999.

The Convention was established after prominent Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 individuals signed the Claim of Right in 1988. The Claim of Right asserted that Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 is constitutionally entitled to determine the best framework of government to suit its people, and demanded that the country should have its own legislative body within the framework of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

The Claim of Right and the idea of a Constitutional Convention
Constitutional convention (political meeting)
A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution...

 grew out of the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly
Campaign for a Scottish Assembly
The Campaign for a Scottish Assembly was formed in the aftermath of the 1979 referendum that failed to establish a devolved Scottish Assembly....

 (CSA), a pressure group established in the aftermath of the failure to secure a devolved Scottish Assembly
Scottish Assembly
The Scottish Assembly was a proposed legislature for Scotland that would have devolved a set list of powers from the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

 in 1979. The CSA was an organisation of individuals committed to some form of Home Rule
Home rule
Home rule is the power of a constituent part of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been devolved to it by the central government....

 for Scotland that by the late 1980s came to argue that a convention was the way forward to secure this.

Various organisations participated in the Convention, such as the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Green Party
Scottish Green Party
The Scottish Green Party is a green party in Scotland. It has two MSPs in the devolved Scottish Parliament, Alison Johnstone, representing Lothian, and Patrick Harvie, for Glasgow.-Organisation:...

, the Scottish Trades Union Congress
Scottish Trades Union Congress
The Scottish Trades Union Congress is the co-ordinating body of trade unions, and local Trades Councils, in Scotland. With 39 affiliated unions as of 2007, the STUC represents around 630,000 trade unionists....

, the Small Business Federation and various bodies representing other strands of political opinion as well as civic society in general. Representatives of the two largest churches - the Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

, the Catholic Church
Roman Catholicism in Scotland
Roman Catholicism in Scotland , overseen by the Scottish Bishops' Conference, is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, the Christian Church in full communion with the Pope, currently Pope Benedict XVI. After being firmly established in Scotland for a millennium, Catholicism was outlawed following...

 - as well as smaller church groups were involved as were some non-Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 communities which decided to participate.
Initially the Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

 (SNP) participated, but the then party leader Gordon Wilson
Gordon Wilson (Scottish politician)
Gordon Wilson is a former leader of the Scottish National Party and current leading figure in the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Scotland...

, along with Jim Sillars
Jim Sillars
Jim Sillars is a Scottish politician. He is married to current member of the Scottish Parliament, Margo MacDonald.-Early life:...

, decided to withdraw the SNP from participation owing to the convention's unwillingness to discuss Scottish independence
Scottish independence
Scottish independence is a political ambition of political parties, advocacy groups and individuals for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom and become an independent sovereign state, separate from England, Wales and Northern Ireland....

 as a constitutional option.

The Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government of the day was very hostile to the convention and challenged the local authorities' right to finance the convention, although the courts found that they were in fact entitled to do so.

Under its executive chairman, Canon Kenyon Wright
Kenyon Wright
Canon Kenyon Wright is a retired Episcopalian clergyman who chaired the Scottish Constitutional Convention, that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1997.-Life and career:...

, the convention published its blueprint for devolution
Devolution
Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

, Scotland's Parliament, Scotland's Right, on 30 November 1995, St Andrew's Day. This provided the basis for the structure of the existent Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

, established in 1999.