UK Political Parties

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[[Category:UK Political Parties]]

Template:Short description This article lists political parties in the United Kingdom. [[1]]

Brief history and overview[edit]

Before the middle of the 19th century, politics in the United Kingdom was dominated by the Whigs and the Tories. These were not political parties in the modern sense but somewhat loose alliances of interests and individuals. The Whigs included many of the leading aristocratic dynasties committed to the Protestant succession, and later drew support from elements of the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories were associated with the landed gentry, the Church of England and the Church of Scotland.

By the mid 19th century, the Tories had evolved into the Conservative Party, and the Whigs had evolved into the Liberal Party. The concept of right and left came originally from France, where the Right supported a smaller state with less influence on the lives of the public, and the Left advocated the opposite. In the late 19th century the Liberal Party began to lean towards the left. Liberal Unionists split off from the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and moved closer to the Conservatives over time.

The Liberals and Conservatives dominated the political scene until the 1920s, when the Liberal Party declined in popularity and suffered a long stream of resignations. It was replaced as the main anti-Tory opposition party by the newly emerging Labour Party, which represented an alliance between the labour movement, organised trades unions and various socialist societies.

Since then the Conservative and Labour parties have dominated British politics, and have alternated in government ever since. However, the UK is not quite a two-party system as other parties have significant support. The Liberal Democrats were the third largest party until the 2015 general election when they were overtaken by the Scottish National Party in terms of seats and UK political party membership, and by the UK Independence Party in terms of votes.

The UK's First Past the Post electoral system leaves small parties disadvantaged on a UK-wide scale. It can, however, allow parties with concentrations of supporters in the constituent countries to flourish. In the 2015 election there was widespread controversy[1][2][3] when UKIP and the Green Party of England and Wales received 4.9 million votes[4] (12.6% of the total vote for UKIP and 3.8% for the Greens) yet only gained one seat each in the House of Commons. After that election, UKIP, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party of England and Wales, together with its Scottish and Northern Ireland affiliated parties, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, delivered a petition signed by 477,000[5] people to Downing Street demanding electoral reform.

Scottish Parliament debating chamber

Since 1997, proportional representation-based voting systems have been adopted for elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the London Assembly and the UK's seats in the European Parliament. In these bodies, other parties have had success.

Traditionally political parties have been private organisations with no official recognition by the state. The Registration of Political Parties Act 1998 changed that by creating a register of parties.

Membership of political parties has been in decline in the UK since the 1950s, falling by over 65% from 1983 (4% of the electorate) to 2005 (1.3%).[6]

The start of political parties[edit]

The Electoral Commission's Register of Political Parties[7] lists the details of parties registered to fight elections in the United Kingdom, including their registered name. Under current electoral law, including the Registration of Political Parties Act, the Electoral Administration Act 2006, and the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, only registered party names can be used on ballot papers by those wishing to fight elections. Candidates who do not belong to a registered party can use "independent" or no label at all.

Template:As of the Electoral Commission showed the number of registered political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland as 492.[8]

Category:Parliamentary parties[edit]

Two parties dominate politics in the House of Commons. Each one operates throughout Great Britain (only the Conservative and Unionist Party stands candidates in Northern Ireland). Most of the British Members of the European Parliament, Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales represent one of these parties:

Party Date of foundation Political position Leader House of Commons Scottish Parliament National Assembly for Wales Northern Ireland Assembly London Assembly European Parliament Local Government Membership UK vote share % (2017 general election)[9]
style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" | Conservative and Unionist Party 1834 Centre-right 60px Theresa May 313 31 12 Template:Refn Template:N/a 8 19 9,116[10] 124,000 [11] (Does not publish official membership numbers, data based on 3rd party sources) 42.4
style="background-color: Template:Labour Party (UK)/meta/color" | Labour Party

Co-operative Party

1900

•1917 (Co-operative)

Centre-left Jeremy Corbyn election infobox 2.jpg Jeremy Corbyn 245 Template:Refn 23 Template:Refn 29 Template:Refn Template:N/a 12 20 6,470[10] 552,000 [12] 40.0
style="background-color: Template:Scottish National Party/meta/color" | Scottish National Party 1934 Centre-left Official portrait of Nicola Sturgeon (cropped 2).jpg Nicola Sturgeon 35 63 Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 2 430[10] 125,500 [13] 3.0
style="background-color: Template:Liberal Democrats (UK)/meta/color" | Liberal Democrats 1988 Centre to centre-left Vince Cable, Cambridge.jpg Vince Cable 11 5 1 Template:N/a 1 1 1,890[10] 100,500 [11] 7.4
style="background-color: Template:The Independent Group/meta/color" | Change UK – The Independent Group 2019 Centre to centre-left Official portrait of Heidi Allen crop 2.jpg Heidi Allen (interim) 11 Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a
style="background-color: Template:Democratic Unionist Party/meta/color" | Democratic Unionist Party 1971 Centre-right to right-wing Arlene Foster MLA (cropped) 2.jpg Arlene Foster 10 Template:N/a Template:N/a 28 Template:N/a 1 131 Not published 0.9
style="background-color: Template:Sinn Féin/meta/color" | Sinn Féin 1905 (original);

1970 (current)

Centre-left to left-wing Mary Lou McDonald (official portrait).jpg Mary Lou McDonald 7Template:Refn Template:N/a Template:N/a 27 Template:N/a 1 Template:Refn 103 Not published 0.7
style="background-color: Template:Plaid Cymru/meta/color" | Plaid Cymru 1925 Centre-left to left-wing 60px Adam Price 4 Template:N/a 11 Template:N/a Template:N/a 1 203[10] 10,500[14] 0.5
style="background-color: Template:Green Party of England and Wales/meta/color" | Green Party of England and Wales 1990 Left-wing Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley, 2018.jpg Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley (job share) 1 Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 2 3 187[10] 41,073 [15] 1.6
style="background-color: Template:Scottish Green Party/meta/color" | Scottish Green Party 1990 Centre-left to left-wing PatrickHarvieMSP20110510.JPG

Maggie Chapman, Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party.png

Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman Template:N/a 6 Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 19[10] 7,091 [16] (December 2017)
style="background-color: Template:United Kingdom Independence Party/meta/color" | UK Independence Party 1993 Right-wing to far-right Gerard Batten.jpg Gerard Batten Template:N/a Template:N/a 4 Template:N/a 1 7 108[10] 24,200 [17] 1.8
style="background-color: Template:Social Democratic and Labour Party/meta/color" | Social Democratic and Labour Party 1970 Centre-left Colum Eastwood MLA.JPG Colum Eastwood Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 12 Template:N/a Template:N/a 59 Not published 0.3
style="background-color: Template:Ulster Unionist Party/meta/color" | Ulster Unionist Party 1905 Centre-right Dervock RBL (cropped).jpg Robin Swann Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 10 Template:N/a 1 84 Not published 0.3
style="background-color: Template:Alliance Party of Northern Ireland/meta/color" | Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 1970 Centre Cropped image of Naomi Long.JPG Naomi Long Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 8 Template:N/a Template:N/a 30 Not published 0.2
style="background-color: Template:Green Party in Northern Ireland/meta/color" | Green Party in Northern Ireland 1983 Centre-left Clare Bailey Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 3 Template:N/a Template:N/a 4[10] 406 [18] (May 2015)
style="background-color: Template:Traditional Unionist Voice/meta/color" | Traditional Unionist Voice 2007 Right-wing JimAllister (cropped).jpg Jim Allister Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 1 Template:N/a Template:N/a 10 Not published 0.1
style="background-color: Template:People Before Profit/meta/color" | People Before Profit 2005 Left-wing to far-left Eamonn McCann (cropped).jpg Eamonn McCann Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 1 Template:N/a Template:N/a 1 Not published
style="background-color: Template:Brexit Party/meta/color" | Brexit Party 2019 Right-wing Nigel Farage MEP 1, Strasbourg - Diliff (cropped).jpg Nigel Farage Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 12 Template:N/a Not published Template:N/a
style="background-color: Template:Social Democratic Party (UK, 1990-present)/meta/color" | Social Democratic Party 1990 Centre William Clouston Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a Template:N/a 1 2 Not published 0.0

Party descriptions[edit]

Party Description
style="background-color: Template:Conservative Party (UK)/meta/color" | Conservative and Unionist Party A party loosely divided into three categories: The Thatcherites or Conservative Way Forward, who strongly support a free market and tend to be Eurosceptic; the economically moderate, often more pro-European and socially liberal One Nation Conservatives, and the socially conservative, deeply Eurosceptic Cornerstone Group.
style="background-color: Template:Labour Party (UK)/meta/color" | Labour Party A social democratic party with democratic socialist elements that has its roots in the trade union movement. The party in recent years is seen to have several internal factions, which include: Momentum, Open Labour, Progress and, the Labour members who stand on a split ticket with the Co-operative Party.
style="background-color: Template:Scottish National Party/meta/color" | Scottish National Party Scottish nationalist and social democratic party which supports of Scottish Independence and membership of the European Union.
style="background-color: Template:Liberal Democrats (UK)/meta/color" | Liberal Democrats Liberal and social liberal. The party's main two branches are the social-liberals based around groups like the Social Liberal Forum, and the 'Orange Book' grouping, which supports classical economic liberalism. Strongly supports membership of the European Union.
style="background-color: Template:Democratic Unionist Party/meta/color" | Democratic Unionist Party Unionist and national conservative party in Northern Ireland. Socially conservative with close links to Protestantism.
style="background-color: Template:Sinn Féin/meta/color" | Sinn Féin Irish republican party that supports the unification of the island of Ireland as a 32-county Irish republic.
style="background-color: Template:Plaid Cymru/meta/color" | Plaid Cymru Social-democratic and Welsh nationalist party in favour of Welsh independence.
style="background-color: Template:Social Democratic and Labour Party/meta/color" | Social Democratic and Labour Party Social-democratic and Irish nationalist party supporting a United Ireland.
style="background-color: Template:Ulster Unionist Party/meta/color" | Ulster Unionist Party Unionist party in Northern Ireland, conservative but with liberal factions.
style="background-color: Template:Green Party of England and Wales/meta/color" | Green Party of England and Wales Green political party that favours eco-socialism,[19] environmentalism,[19] and sustainability[19]
style="background-color: Template:Scottish Green Party/meta/color" | Scottish Green Party Green political party in favour of Scottish independence and Scottish republicanism.
style="background-color: Template:United Kingdom Independence Party/meta/color" | UK Independence Party Eurosceptic and right-wing populist party. Favours national sovereignty, direct democracy, social conservatism and economic liberalism.
style="background-color: Template:Alliance Party of Northern Ireland/meta/color" | Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Liberal and centrist political party in Northern Ireland.
style="background-color: Template:Green Party in Northern Ireland/meta/color" | Green Party in Northern Ireland Green political and nonsectarian party in Northern Ireland.
style="background-color: Template:Traditional Unionist Voice/meta/color" | Traditional Unionist Voice Strongly social and national conservative unionist party in Northern Ireland, opposed to the St Andrews Agreement.
style="background-color: Template:People Before Profit/meta/color" | People Before Profit Socialist party with Trotskyist elements that is active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
style="background-color: Template:Brexit Party/meta/color" | Brexit Party Hard Eurosceptic party that supports of a hard Brexit and is strongly positioned against a second EU Referendum.
style="background-color: Template:Social Democratic Party (UK, 1990-present)/meta/color" | Social Democratic Party Social democratic party supportive of localism and Euroscepticism.

Local government[edit]

Principal authorities[edit]

Party Ideology Local authorities Leader Councillors
style="background-color: Template:Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell/meta/color" | Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell Epsom and Ewell, Surrey Keith Lugton 34[20][21]
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Mansfield Independent Forum Mansfield, Nottinghamshire Martin Wright 19[22]
style="background-color: Template:Thurrock Independents/meta/color" | Thurrock Independents Thurrock Graham Snell 17
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Canvey Island Independent Party Castle Point, Essex David Blackwell 16[23][24]
style="background-color: Template:Residents for Uttlesford/meta/color" | Residents for Uttlesford Uttlesford John Lodge 11[25]
style="background-color: Template:Havering Residents Association/meta/color" | Havering Residents Association Havering Ray Morgon 11
Temple & Farringdon Together Localism City of London Corporation 10
style="background-color: Template:Liberal Party (UK, 1989)/meta/color" | Liberal Party Liberalism, Euroscepticism Liverpool, Mid Devon, Peterborough, Ryedale Steve Radford 9[26]
style="background-color: Template:East Devon Alliance/meta/color" | East Devon Alliance transparency[27] East Devon Ben Ingham 9[28]
Derwentside Independents Durham Watts Stelling 7[29] (+5 parish cllrs)[30]
style="background-color: Template:Llais Gwynedd/meta/color" | Llais Gwynedd Regionalism Gwynedd Owain Williams 6[31]
Runnymede Independent Residents' Group Runnymede 6
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Spennymoor Independents Durham 5 (+16 Parish Cllrs)[10]
style="background-color: Template:Morley Borough Independent/meta/color" | Morley Borough Independents Leeds Robert Finnigan 5
style="background-color: Template:Progressive Unionist Party/meta/color" | Progressive Unionist Party Unionism, democratic socialism Belfast, Causeway Coast and Glens Billy Hutchinson 4[32][33]
style="background-color: Template:Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern/meta/color" | Independent Community and Health Concern Single-issue politics Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, Shropshire Dr Richard Taylor 4[10]
style="background-color: Template:Mebyon Kernow/meta/color" | Mebyon Kernow Cornish nationalism Cornwall Dick Cole 4[10]
Barnsley Independent Group Barnsley Phillip Birkinshaw 4[34]
style="background-color: Template:Newport Independents Party/meta/color" | Newport Independents Party Newport, South Wales Kevin Whitehead 4 [35]
style="background-color: Template:People Against Bureaucracy/meta/color" | People Against Bureaucracy Cheltenham, Gloucestershire 3[36][37]
style="background-color: Template:Guildford Greenbelt Group/meta/color" | Guildford Greenbelt Group Guildford Susan Parker 3[38]
style="background-color: Template:North East Party/meta/color" | North East Party Regionalism Durham 3[39]
style="background-color: Template:Middlewich First/meta/color" | Middlewich First Cheshire East James Basford 3[40] (+5 parish cllrs)
style="background-color: Template:Putting Hartlepool First/meta/color " | Putting Hartlepool First Hartlepool Kelly Atkinson 3[41]
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Highwoods Group Colchester Beverley Oxford 3[42]
style="background-color:Template:Yorkshire Party/meta/color" | Yorkshire Party Regionalism Hambleton, Selby, North Yorkshire Stewart Arnold 3[43]
the BOROUGH first[44] Windsor and Maidenhead Charles Hollingsworth 2[45]
Morecambe Bay Independents Lancaster Roger Dennison 2[46]
Henley Residents Group South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire 2[47] (+6 parish clllrs)
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Nottingham Independents Nottingham City Council, Gedling Borough Council, Nottinghamshire Francesco Lari 1[48]
style="background-color: Template:West Dunbartonshire Community Party/meta/color" | West Dunbartonshire Community Party West Dunbartonshire Drew MacEoghainn 1[49]
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Lincolnshire Independents Lincolnshire Marianne Overton 1[50]
style="background-color:Template:Renew Britain/meta/color" | Renew Pro-Europeanism Portsmouth Annabel Mullin 1[51]
style="background-color:Template:Harold Hill Independent Party/meta/color" | Harold Hill Independent Havering Lorraine Moss 1[52]
style="background-color: Template:Independent (politician)/meta/color" | Merthyr Independents Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Stephen Brown [53] 1[54]
style="background-color:Template:The Cynon Valley Party/meta/color" | The Cynon Valley Party Rhondda Cynon Taf 1 [55]
style="background-color:Template:The Rubbish Party/meta/color" | The Rubbish Party East Ayrshire Sally Cogley 1

Civil parishes and community councils[edit]

Party Political Position Leader Councillors
style="background-color: Template:Independents for Frome/meta/color" | Independents for Frome Localism Mel Usher 17[56]
style="background-color: Template:Devizes Guardians/meta/color" | Devizes Guardians Conservationism, Localism Nigel Carter 11[57]
style="background-color: Template:Official Monster Raving Loony Party/meta/color" | Official Monster Raving Loony Party Satire Howling Laud Hope 6
style="background-color: Template:Animal Welfare Party/meta/color" | Animal Welfare Party Animal welfare Vanessa Hudson 1
style="background-color: Template:Pirate Party UK/meta/color" | Pirate Party Pirate politics Harley Faggetter 1
Cornish Nationalist Party Cornish Nationalism, Pan-Celticism Androw Hawke 1

No elected representation[edit]

Template:Refimprove section This is a list of notable minor parties. Many parties are registered with the Electoral Commission but do not qualify for this list as they have not received significant independent coverage.

Miscellaneous minor parties[edit]

Minor left-wing and far-left parties[edit]

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Minor right-wing and far-right parties[edit]

Minor centrist and pro-European parties[edit]

Minor religious parties[edit]

Minor English parties[edit]

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Minor Scottish parties[edit]

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Minor Welsh parties[edit]

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Minor Northern Irish parties[edit]

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Joke/satirical parties[edit]

Template:See also category

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