List of political parties in the United Kingdom

Template:Politics of the United Kingdom Political parties in the United Kingdom lists political parties in the United Kingdom.


Brief history and overview

Prior to the mid-19th century British politics 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 and the Anglican Church.

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 Trade Unions and various socialist societies.

Since then the Conservative and Labour Parties have dominated British politics, and have alternated in government ever since. The UK is nearly but not quite a two-party system however. The Liberals merged with the Social Democrats because they had very similar views and became the Liberal Democrats which are now a sizeable third party whose electoral results have improved in recent years.

The UK's First Past the Post electoral system leaves small parties disadvantaged. The only minor parties represented in Parliament are regionally-based.

In recent years, 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, minor parties have had some amount of 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.

The following political parties are active in the United Kingdom:

Major parties

Three parties dominate politics in the House of Commons. They all operate throughout Great Britain, and also comprise most of the British Members of the European Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh Assembly.

  • The Conservative Party, centre-right to right-wing (traditionally right-wing) The Conservatives currently have 197 seats.
  • The Labour Party, centre to left (traditionally centre-left to left)The Labour Party currently has 356 seats.
    • Co-operative Party (all Co-operative Party MPs are also Labour MPs as part of a long-standing electoral agreement)
  • Liberal Democrats, centre to centre-left. The Liberal Democrats currently have 62 seats.

Minor parties

Parties with representation in the House of Commons

Parties with representation in the Scottish Parliament

Parties with representation in the Welsh Assembly

Parties with representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly



Neutral on the Constitutional Status

Other parties with representation in the European Parliament

Other parties

Far left parties

Regional parties

Far right parties

Joke parties

Religion-based parties

Single-issue parties

Miscellaneous parties

Defunct and historic parties

Far left parties

Regional parties

Far right and fascist parties

Miscellaneous parties

See also

External links


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