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Friday, 25 May, 2001, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Scottish Socialist Party

The Scottish Socialist Party is aiming to be a new foce on Scotland's political landscape.

Boosted by the success of leader Tommy Sheridan's election to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 it is contesting all 72 Westminster seats at the general election.

The party is pro-independence and is fighting for a Scottish Socialist republic, with the people taking control of the country's wealth and resources.

Tommy Sheridan
Tommy Sheridan: Victory in the Scottish Parliament
The SSP was born in 1998 out of the Scottish Socialist Alliance and brought together a number of disparate parties.

The parties said they had come to agree that they could form a united front, while accepting that differences on some issues still existed.

Foremost is the Socialist principle of class struggle and the need to transform Scotland into a democratic, pluralist and progessive society which is internationalist in its outlook.

The SSP sees devolution as offering a "modest democratic change" but says it is still a long way off creating a country with total control of its economy, welfare system and defence system.

Its key policies include a commitment to a 7 an hour minimum wage, the cancellation of Scottish councils' estimated 4bn housing debt and the bringing of all transport services into public ownership.

Nuclear weapons

The party believes clearing the housing debt would free councils to spend money on building and renovating social housing, to "rid Scotland of the scourge of sub-standard housing".

Its total opposition to Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system has been amply demonstrated by Mr Sheridan on several occasions in protests at the Faslane naval base.

The party pledges to give voters from Shettleston to the Shetlands "the opportunity to vote for clear socialist policies and a chance to influence the future of the working classes at home and internationally".

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