Robert McIntyre

(1913—1998) Scottish nationalist and medical practitioner

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Robert Douglas McIntyre (1913–98) was a leading figure in the SNP. After a short spell in the Labour Party, McIntyre became disillusioned with the lack of commitment to Scottish Home Rule and joined the SNP, becoming membership secretary in 1940. He sided with the radicals in the split of 1942 and at the Motherwell by-election in April 1945, McIntyre became the SNP's first MP. He was party chairman from 1948 to 1956 and worked hard to give the SNP a separate political identity from the other main British parties. By choosing a broadly social democrat basis for nationalist policies, it was hoped that the SNP would be able to distinguish itself from the Labour (see Labourism) and the Conservative (see Unionism) parties. Although making little headway in the 1950s and early 1960s, McIntyre worked hard to keep the SNP to its principles of contesting elections as a separate and distinctive political party in order to secure an electoral mandate for independence. He insisted on discipline in the party and recognized that there would be no quick fix for the attainment of independence. Consequently, much time was spent in the 1950s and early 1960s on organizational matters, building up an electoral machinery and recruiting new members.


From The Oxford Companion to Scottish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.

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