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The Scottish mafia, Scottish Labour mafia,[1] tartan mafia[2][3] or Scottish Raj,[4] is a pejorative term for a group of Scottish Labour Party politicians and broadcasters who are believed to have undue influence over the governance of England. The term is occasionally used in the UK press[5][6] and in parliamentary debates.[7][8]

References to a Scottish mafia are either based on the perceived over-representation of Scottish Members of Parliament (MPs) in senior government posts (four cabinet ministers out of twenty four), or on the constitutional arrangements which give them a say in English affairs whilst denying English MPs and Scottish Westminster MPs a say in some Scottish affairs. The latter is known as the West Lothian question.

The "Scottish raj" is seen to be a distinctively Labour — and, to a lesser extent — Liberal Democrat phenomenon, as the Celtic fringe and North of England have always seen strong support for these parties, whereas Conservative support is traditionally based in the South East of England.


Four of the twenty-four Cabinet members in Britain are Scottish or were born in Scotland:[9] The four Scots mentioned above are:

Prominent Scottish Labour cabinet members since 1997 have included, Tony Blair, Robin Cook, George Robertson, Helen Liddell, Donald Dewar, Lord Irvine, David Clark, Gavin Strang, John Reid, Lord Falconer and Ian McCartney. As a counterpoint, there are also several cases of English people being elected to the Commons for Scottish constituencies and to the Scottish Parliament, such as Shona Robison MSP and Mark Lazarowicz MP. However, the majority of Cabinet Ministers under both Blair and Brown have been English.

See also




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