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Politics in Glasgow, Scotlandmarker, are evident in the deliberations and decisions of the city council of Glasgowmarker (Glaschu in Gaelic), in elections to the council, and in elections to the Scottish Parliamentmarker (Holyroodmarker) and the House of Commonsmarker of the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker (Westminster).

In the European Parliamentmarker, the city area is within the Scotland constituency, which covers all of the 32 council areas of Scotland.

Glasgow City became a unitary council area in 1996, under the Local Government etc. Act 1994, with boundaries somewhat different from those of the City of Glasgow district of the Strathclyde region: a Rutherglenmarker and Fernhillmarker area, a Cambuslangmarker and Halfway area, were transferred from the city area to the new South Lanarkshire council area.

The district had been created in 1975, under the Local Government Act 1973, to include: the former county of city of Glasgow and a number of areas previously within county of Lanarkmarker: a Bankhead area, Cambuslang areas (Central and North, and South lying outwith the East Kilbridemarker New Town), a Hallside area, a Rutherglenmarker area (including the burgh of Rutherglen), part of a Carmunnockmarker area (that lying outwith the East Kilbride New Town), and Bailliestonmarker, Garrowhillmarker, Mount Vernon and Carmylemarker, and Springboig areas.

Glasgow City Council


The early city was run by the old Glasgow Town Council. In 1895, the Town Council formally became The Corporation of the City of Glasgow (Glasgow Corporation or City Corporation). It retained this title until local government re-organisation in 1975, when it became City of Glasgow District Council. In 1996 Glasgow District Council was granted unitary status and is now known as Glasgow City Council.

The title Lord Provost of Glasgow, used now for the civic leader of the city council, has history dating from the 15th century.

Glasgow Corporation Transport, was under the control of the Glasgow Corporation, and ran the local buses and Glasgow Trams, until creation of the Strathclyde region in 1975.

During the period of two tier local government, 1975 to 1996, the district council was responsible for refuse collection, museums, libraries and housing, while the regional council had responsibilities for policing, fire service, water, education, social work and transport.

The city council established in 1996 is a unitary authority, with powers and responsibilities previously divided between councils of the Glasgow City district and the Strathclyde region.

The unitary council area borders onto the Renfrewshire council area, the West Dunbartonshire council area, the East Dunbartonshire council area, the North Lanarkshire council, the South Lanarkshire council area and the East Renfrewshire council area.

Council structure

The council is ceremonially headed by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, who is elected to convene the council and perform associated tasks as a general civil leader. The current incumbent is Bob Winter.

The council's executive branch is headed by a Leader of the Council, who is the leader of the largest political grouping, currently the Labour Party. This role is presently fulfilled by Councillor Steven Purcell.


The council consists of 79 councillors elected for a four-year term from 21 wards. These wards were introduced for the 2007 election and each returns three or four members by the single transferable vote system of election. This system was introduced by the Local Governance Act 2004, as a means of ensuring a reasonably proportionately representative outcome.

The most recent full council election took place on Thursday 3 May 2007. Labour retained overal majority control (45), with increased numbers for Scottish National Party (22), Greens (5), Liberal Democrats (5), one Conservative councillor and one Solidarity councillor returned. No Scottish Socialist Party or independent councillors were returned. The Solidarity Councillor Ruth Black has since defected to the Labour Party in late 2007 after praising the Leadership of Steven Purcell.

John Mason, elected in the Baillieston ward as an SNP councillor resigned following election to the House of Commons on 25 July 2008 with the SNP winning the resultant by-election in September. The third council by-election in four months and the second in Ballieston multi-member ward will be precipitated by the death of sitting Labour councillor Douglas Hay.

On the same day of the European Elections 2009, a by-election was held for Ward 14, Anniesland and Drumchapel. The by-election was triggered by the resignation of sitting councillor, Bill Kidd(SNP). The resulting by-election was won by Labour candidate, Anne McTaggart.

Current multi-member ward system

A multi-member ward system was introduced for the 2007 council election:
Ward Representation Map
1. Linn (4 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Lib Dem
2. Newlands/Auldburn (3 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP
3. Greater Pollok (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP
4. Craigton (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP;*
5. Govan (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP
6. Pollokshieldsmarker (3 members) 1 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Con
7. Langside (3 members) 1 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Lib Dem
8. Southside Central (4 members) 2 Lab; 1 IND; 1 Green *
9. Calton (3 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP
10. Anderston/City (4 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Green
11. Hillhead (4 members) 1 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Lib Dem; 1 Green
12. Partick West (4 members) 1 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Lib Dem; 1 Green
13. Garscadden/Scotstounhill (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP
14. Drumchapel/Anniesland (4 members) 4 Labour
15. Maryhill/Kelvin (4 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Lib Dem
16. Canal (4 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP; 1 Green
17. Springburn (3 members) 2 Lab; 1 SNP
18. East Centre (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP
19. Shettleston (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP
20. Baillieston (4 members) 2 Lab; 2 SNP
21. North East (4 members) 3 Lab; 1 SNP

Previous single-member ward system

Prior to the 2007 election, there were 79 councillors elected from 79 single-member wards by the plurality (first past the post) system of election. The result from this system was 69 of the 79 councillors representing the Labour Party although that party gained only around half the votes cast in the previous general election to the council, and the Scottish National Party was represented by just four councillors despite gaining some 20% of the votes. There were also three Liberal Democrat councillors, one Conservative councillor, one Scottish Socialist Party councillor and one independent councillor. These old wards has been first used in the general election to the council in 1999:

Ward Ward Ward
  1. Drumry
  2. Summerhill
  3. Blairdardie
  4. Knightswood Park
  5. Knightswood South
  6. Yoker
  7. Anniesland
  8. Jordanhill
  9. Kelvindale
  10. Scotstoun
  1. Victoria Park
  2. Hayburn
  3. Hyndland
  4. Hillhead
  5. Partick
  6. Kelvingrove
  7. Anderston
  8. Woodlands
  9. North Kelvin
  10. Wyndford
  1. Maryhill
  2. Summerston
  3. Milton
  4. Ashfield
  5. Firhill
  6. Keppochhill
  7. Merchant City
  8. Royston
  9. Cowlairs
  10. Springburn
  1. Wallacewell
  2. Milnbank
  3. Dennistoun
  4. Calton
  5. Bridgeton/ Dalmarnock
  6. Parkhead
  7. Carntyne
  8. Robroyston
  9. Gartcraig
  10. Queenslie
  11. Greenfield
  12. Barlanark
  13. Shettleston
  14. Tollcross Park
  15. Braidfauld
  16. Mount Vernon
  17. Baillieston
  18. Garrowhill
  1. Garthamlock
  2. Easterhouse
  3. Drumoyne
  4. Govan
  5. Ibrox
  6. Kingston
  7. Mosspark
  8. North Cardonald
  9. Penilee
  10. Cardonald
  1. Pollok
  2. Crookston
  3. Nitshill
  4. Darnley
  5. Carnwadric
  6. Maxwell Park
  7. Pollokshields East
  8. Hutchesontown
  9. Govanhill
  10. Strathbungo
  1. Battlefield
  2. Langside
  3. Pollokshaws
  4. Newlands
  5. Cathcart
  6. Mount Florida
  7. Toryglen
  8. Kings Park
  9. Castlemilk
  10. Carmunnock
  11. Glenwood

Scottish Parliament

The Glasgow electoral region of the Scottish Parliament covers Glasgow City, a Rutherglenmarker area of South Lanarkshire and a small eastern area of Renfrewshire. It includes ten constituencies, each electing one of the parliament's 73 first past the post constituency members. Also, the region elects seven of the parliament's 56 additional members. The system of election is designed to produce a form of proportional representation, and both kinds of member are known as Members of the Scottish Parliament .

Until the United Kingdom general election, 2005, the first past the post seats were the same for the Scottish Parliamentmarker (Holyroodmarker) as for the United Kingdom Parliamentmarker (Westminster) (apart from Orkneymarker and Shetlandmarker, which formed separate constituencies at Holyrood, but not Westminster). In 2005 the number of Westminster Members of Parliament was cut to 59, with new constituencies being formed, while the existing number of constituencies and MSPs was retained for Holyrood.

First past the post constituencies

The ten Scottish Parliament constituencies in the Glasgow electoral region, and current MSPs, are:-

Glasgow Anniesland
Glasgow Baillieston
Glasgow Cathcart
Glasgow Govan
Glasgow Kelvin
Glasgow Maryhill
Glasgow Pollok
Glasgow Rutherglen
Glasgow Shettleston
Glasgow Springburn
Bill Butler
Margaret Curran
Charlie Gordon
Nicola Sturgeon
Pauline McNeill
Patricia Ferguson
Johann Lamont
James Kelly
Frank McAveety
Paul Martin
Labour Co-operative
Labour Party
Labour Party
Scottish National Party
Labour Party
Labour Party
Labour Co-operative
Labour Party
Labour Co-operative
Labour Party

Additional members

The current additional member MSPs for the Glasgow electoral region are:

Party Member
Scottish National Party Anne McLaughlin
Conservative Bill Aitken
Liberal Democrat Robert Brown
Scottish National Party Bob Doris
Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie
Scottish National Party Bill Kidd
Scottish National Party Sandra White

Parliament of the United Kingdom

For elections to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker (Westminstermarker) Glasgow City is now divided between seven constituencies. All seven are entirely within the Glasgow City council area, with boundaries first used in the 2005 general election, and each elects one Member of Parliament by the plurality (first past the post) system of election.

Prior to the 2005 election, Glasgow City was divided between Westminster constituencies with the same names and boundaries as now existing Holyrood constituencies.

The seven Westminster constituencies created in 2005, and current MPs, are:-

Glasgow Central
Glasgow East
Glasgow North
Glasgow North East
Glasgow North West
Glasgow South
Glasgow South West
Mohammad Sarwar
John Mason
Ann McKechin
Willie Bain
John Robertson
Tom Harris
Ian Davidson
Labour Party
Scottish National Party
Labour Party
Labour Party
Labour Party
Labour Party
Labour Co-operative


  1. See also Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website ( OPSI home page)
  2. See also Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website
  3. See [1] [2] [3]
  5. SNP holds ward after by-election, BBC News, 19 September 2008
  6. Labour council stalwart Douglas Hay dies aged 76, Gerry Braiden, The Herald, 20 October 2008

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