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This article lists political parties in the United Kingdom.

Contents

Brief history and overview

Prior to the mid-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 were associated with the newly emerging moneyed industrial classes, and 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.

These two parties 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 left-wing party by the newly emerging Labour Party, who represented an alliance between the 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 since a third party (recently, the Liberal Democrats) can prevent 50% of the votes/seats from going to a single party. The Liberals merged with the Social Democrats because they had very similar views and became the Liberal Democrats which is now a sizeable party whose electoral results have improved in recent years.

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. Other than the Respect coalition and Health Concern, the only other parties winning seats in the House of Commons at the 2005 general election were based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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.

Register of Political Parties

The Electoral Commission's Register of Political Parties[1] lists the details of parties registered to fight elections, and their registered name, in the United Kingdom. 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.

As of 15 March 2010 (2010 -03-15) it shows the number of registered political parties as 367 in Great Britain,[2] and 46 in Northern Ireland.[3]

  • 174 parties have their name registered for use only in England
  • 1 party has its name registered for use in England and Scotland.
  • 9 parties have their name registered for use in England and Wales.
  • 156 parties have their name registered for use in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • 17 parties have their name registered for use only in Scotland.
  • 10 parties have their name registered for use only in Wales.
  • In Northern Ireland, 46 parties are on the register, including the Conservative Party who will fight elections in the province under a new joint-ticket agreement with the Ulster Unionist party with the ballot paper description "Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force"
  • 6 parties are registered as "Minor Parties", who stand for elections to community councils (in Wales) or parish councils (in England) under slightly modified electoral legislation.

Major parties in the House of Commons

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

Political parties with elected representation at a national or international level

Party UK House of Commons members Scottish Parliament members National Assembly for Wales members Northern Ireland Assembly members European Parliament members Notes
Labour Party 350
(inc 29 as Lab Co-op)
46
(inc 9 as Lab Co-op)
26
(inc 4 as Lab Co-op)
N/A 13 Centre-left; historically allied to Trade unions; mixed market (Third Way) policies have replaced its earlier more socialist platform in recent years; supports greater European integration.
Conservative Party 193 17 12 0 25 Centre-right party which can be loosely divided into three categories, though with considerable overlap: The Thatcherites, who strongly support a free market and tend to be Eurosceptic, the economically moderate but socially conservative One Nation Conservatives, and the libertarian Conservative Way Forward, which is also pretty Eurosceptic.
Liberal Democrats 63 16 6 N/A 11 Traditionally centrist, had drifted slightly to the left since the emergence of New Labour while remaining socially progressive but now moved towards a tax-cutting agenda; strongly supports greater European integration. Promote social liberalism; opposing what they call the 'nanny state', while supporting the welfare state for the basic necessities of life.
Democratic Unionist Party 9 N/A N/A 36 1 More hardline Unionist party in Northern Ireland, has a socially right-wing political agenda, with historical ties to Protestant working classes, thus a centre-left economic history until recently.
Scottish National Party 7[4] 47 N/A N/A 2 Centre-left party in favour of Scottish independence.
Sinn Féin 5 N/A N/A 28 1[5] Irish Republican party in Northern Ireland, supports socialism; abstentionist.
Plaid Cymru - Party of Wales 3[4] N/A 15 N/A 1 Centre-left party in favour of Welsh independence.
Social Democratic and Labour Party 3 N/A N/A 16 0 Constitutional Irish nationalist party in Northern Ireland, has a centre-left and social democratic political orientation.
Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A Local party based in Kidderminster; Original aim was to restore the casualty unit at Kidderminster Hospital, and the National Health Service is still its primary focus, but the party has since diversified.
Respect Coalition 1 N/A 0 N/A 0 Far left[6] party active in England and Wales founded by George Galloway; concentrates on an anti-war platform. Ideology is socialism.
Ulster Unionist Party 1 N/A N/A 18 1 Unionist party in Northern Ireland which is traditionally an amalgam of the political spectrum, considered more moderate than the Democratic Unionist Party.
UK Independence Party 0[7] 0 0 0 13 Eurosceptic, conservative and populist party which favours withdrawal from the European Union, small government and economic liberalism.
Scottish Green Party 0 2 N/A N/A 0 Environmentalist party in favour of Scottish independence.
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 0 N/A N/A 7 0 Liberal party in Northern Ireland that aims to breakdown sectarian divisions between Catholics and Protestants. Has a neutral stance on the Constitutional issue of Northern Ireland's status and is linked with the Liberal Democrats
Progressive Unionist Party 0 N/A N/A 1 0 Loyalist party in Northern Ireland broadly sympathetic to the Labour Party, has links to a loyalist paramilitary, the Ulster Volunteer Force.
Green Party in Northern Ireland 0 N/A N/A 1 0 Environmentalist party in Northern Ireland.
Green Party of England and Wales 0 N/A 0 N/A 2 Generally centre-left, environmentalist party. Also favours British republicanism
British National Party 0 0 0 N/A 2 Nationalist, far right, party who support withdrawal from the European Union, halting immigration and Third position economics.

Minor parties in the United Kingdom

Electoral coalitions

  • Alliance for Democracy (UK), an electoral coalition formed for the 2010 general election by the English Democrats, Jury Team, Christian Party, Veritas, Popular Alliance, and United Kingdom First Party.
  • Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, an electoral coalition formed for the 2010 general election by trade unionists and far left political parties.

Minor English parties

Minor Scottish parties

Minor Welsh parties

Minor Northern Ireland parties

Minor far-left parties

Minor far-right parties

Minor religious parties

Joke parties

See Joke political parties in the United Kingdom

Defunct and historical parties in the United Kingdom

Defunct English parties

Defunct Scottish parties

Defunct Welsh parties

Defunct Northern Irish parties

Defunct far-left and communist parties

Defunct far-right and fascist parties

Defunct joke parties

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Party Finance - The Electoral Commission : Regulatory issues : Political parties : Registers : Register of political parties
  2. ^ "Register of political parties". Electoral Commission. 14 June 2009. http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  3. ^ "Register of political parties (Northern Ireland)". Electoral Commission. 14 May 2009. http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm?ec={ts%20%272009-05-14%2000%3A33%3A15%27}. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  4. ^ a b The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru work as a group in the House of Commons
  5. ^ Sinn Féin have one MEP from a UK constituency and another from the Republic of Ireland.
  6. ^ Galloway denies quitting Respect
  7. ^ Calkin, Sarah (7 March 2009). "Tory? UKIP? Now I'm just an inde says MP Bob". Echo News (Newsquest Media Group). http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/4179128.Tory__UKIP__Now_I_m_just_an_inde_says_MP_Bob/. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Animals Count Party website
  9. ^ Akwagyiram, Alexis (3 December 2006). "Activists welcome animal rights party". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6204262.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  10. ^ UK Libertarian Party Website
  11. ^ "No Candidate Deserves My Vote!". Electoral Commission. http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm?frmGB=1&frmPartyID=167&frmType=partydetail. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Register of political parties". 10 March 2010. http://registers.electoralcommission.org.uk/regulatory-issues/regpoliticalparties.cfm?frmGB=1&frmPartyID=956&frmType=partydetail. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  13. ^ Wheeler, Brian (2 April 2009). "How to start your own party". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7963814.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  14. ^ Wheeler, Brian (6 January 2004). "24 hour party people". BBC News Online Magazine. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3369463.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Pfeifer, Sylvia (14 March 2004). "It's Your Party and you can log on if you want to". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1456783/Its-Your-Party-and-you-can-log-on-if-you-want-to.html. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Your Party runs online survey for general election". New Media Age. 4 November 2004. http://www.nma.co.uk/news/your-party-runs-online-survey-for-general-election/630.article. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  17. ^ "Britain's new party goes online". BBC News. 15 March 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3514354.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  18. ^ Woods, David (4 April 2005). "Starting a new political party". Unlock Democracy. http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?p=80. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "General Election Results". Your Party. Internet Archive. http://web.archive.org/web/20060108205146/www.yourparty.org/content/article.jsp?id=10996. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "List of Political Parties either renamed or deregistered since 2002". 16 December 2009. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/63167/Renamed-or-Deregistered-Parties.pdf. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Registered with the Electoral Commission as of September 2008
  22. ^ Devizes Guardians at electoralcommission.org.uk
  23. ^ "Mum's Army". Take a Break. http://www.takeabreak.co.uk/mums-army. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  24. ^ "Magazine's Mum’s Army party stands in local elections". Press Gazette. 28 April 2006. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=33916&sectioncode=1. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  25. ^ O'Brien, Catherine (19 May 2006). "Mum's Army". You Magazine (Daily Mail). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-386957/Mums-army.html. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  26. ^ "Mum’s Army marches on". Croydon Guardian. 9 February 2006. http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/685199.mums_army_marches_on/. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  27. ^ Miller, Andrew (11 April 2006). "Your borough needs YOU!". Crewe Chronicle. http://www.crewechronicle.co.uk/crewe-news/local-crewe-news/2006/04/11/your-borough-needsyou-96135-16936461/. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  28. ^ Rossington, Ben (23 February 2006). "Mum's Army on the march". Blackpool Gazette. http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/blackpoolnews/Mum39s-Army-on-the-march.1363756.jp. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  29. ^ BBC NEWS UK | England | Gloucestershire | Battle for control in Cheltenham
  30. ^ People Against Bureaucracy Group website
  31. ^ "At-a-glance: Party-by-party guide". BBC News. 4 June 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8060102.stm#others. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  32. ^ Southampton First website
  33. ^ "Centre-right now left without solid representation in Scottish Parliament (letter)". The Scotsman. http://news.scotsman.com/letters/Centreright-now-left-without-solid.3285450.jp. Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  34. ^ Wheeler, Brian (2 April 2009). "How to start your own party". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7963814.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  35. ^ Wheeler, Brian (6 January 2004). "24 hour party people". BBC News Online Magazine. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3369463.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  36. ^ Pfeifer, Sylvia (14 March 2004). "It's Your Party and you can log on if you want to". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1456783/Its-Your-Party-and-you-can-log-on-if-you-want-to.html. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  37. ^ "Your Party runs online survey for general election". New Media Age. 4 November 2004. http://www.nma.co.uk/news/your-party-runs-online-survey-for-general-election/630.article. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  38. ^ "Britain's new party goes online". BBC News. 15 March 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3514354.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  39. ^ Woods, David (4 April 2005). "Starting a new political party". Unlock Democracy. http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?p=80. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  40. ^ "General Election Results". Your Party. Internet Archive. http://web.archive.org/web/20060108205146/www.yourparty.org/content/article.jsp?id=10996. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  41. ^ Amos, Annabel (28 April 2005). "How will Northampton grow?". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). http://www.bbc.co.uk/northamptonshire/content/articles/2005/04/28/election_how_will_northampton_grow_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  42. ^ "United Kingdom Unionist Party - Statement of Accounts for 2006" (PDF). Electoral Commission. 22 May 2007. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/electoral_commission_pdf_file/0006/20220/ukup_25534-18973__E__N__S__W__.PDF. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 

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