The Liberal Democrats, often shortened to Lib Dems, is a centrist political party in the United Kingdom that promotes liberal policies. It was started on 2 March 1988 by joining the Liberal Party, which had been a powerful political party in Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Social Democratic Party, which had been formed from the Labour Party in 1981. The two parties had already been working together for seven years.
The Liberal Democrats are strong supporters of the European Union, as well as environmentalism and they are in favour of creating a new British House of Commons which is elected using proportional representation. They also disagree with Britain being a part of conflicts like the Iraq War.
The party has 18 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons, 105 out of 793 seats in the House of Lords, 16 out of 73 British seats in the European Parliament, 5 out of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament and 1 out of 60 seats in the Welsh Assembly. The party was in a coalition government with the Conservative Party and the former party leader Nick Clegg was the Deputy Prime Minister until the May 2015 general election.
In elections, the party usually gets the most votes in places like northern Scotland, south-west London, south-west England and mid-Wales. Members of the party are mostly more middle-class people that went to university.
Policies[change | change source]
Most Liberal Democrats believe in the following things:
- The House of Commons should be elected using proportional representation.
- There should be elections held for the House of Lords.
- There should be more forms of renewable energy as well as cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.
Former party leaders[change | change source]
- Paddy Ashdown (July 1988 – August 1999)
- Charles Kennedy (August 1999 – January 2006)
- Menzies Campbell (January 2006 – October 2007)
- Vince Cable (October 2007 – December 2007) *
- Nick Clegg (December 2007 – May 2015)
- Tim Farron (July 2015 – June 2017)
- Vince Cable (July 2017 – July 2019)
- Jo Swinson (July 2019 – December 2019)
Asterisk (*) means that this person was an interim leader, meaning he was just standing in as leader because the previous leader resigned.
Notes[change | change source]
- The party does not contest seats in Northern Ireland, although its sister party, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, does.
References[change | change source]
- "Breaking: The new Party President is..." LibDemVoice. December 31, 2019. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- "Mike Dixon" Archived 24 October 2019 at the Wayback Machine. Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
- "Registration summary". Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "The Liberal Democrats Annual Report". Electoral Commission.
- Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "United Kingdom". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics [2 volumes]: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-313-39182-8. Archived from the original on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Brexit". Liberal Democrats. 17 April 2018. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
- Elgot, Jessica (28 May 2017). "Tim Farron: Lib Dems' pro-European strategy will be proved right". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- Mark Kesselman; Joel Krieger; William A. Joseph (2018). Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas. Cengage Learning. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-337-67124-8. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- "Britain's anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats name Jo Swinson as new leader". Reuters. 22 July 2019. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- "Centrism Panel". The Oxford Union. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- Warry, Richard (15 May 2017). "Guide to the parties: Liberal Democrats". BBC News. Archived from the original on 21 September 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- "Lib Dems aim for centrist voters with tax platform". Financial Times. 13 March 2016. Archived from the original on 19 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- Daddow, Oliver; Jones, Bill; Norton, Philip (2018). "Chapter 5 – Political ideas: the major parties". Politics UK (9th ed.). Routledge. ISBN 9781134856893.
- Alistair Clark (2012). Political Parties in the UK. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 86–93. ISBN 978-0-230-36868-2. Archived from the original on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Sister Parties". Liberal Democrats. Archived from the original on 31 July 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Style guide". Liberal Democrats. 23 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "Liberal Democrats". Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
- "Lords by party and type of peerage". UK Parliament. August 2014. Archived from the original on 12 June 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Open Council Data UK – compositions councillors parties wards elections". Open Council Data. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Current State of the Parties – UK Parliament. Retrieved on 13 May 2015.
Other websites[change | change source]
- Liberal Democrats' official website
- Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Welsh Liberal Democrats
- London Assembly Liberal Democrats
- Liberal Democrat History Group
- An archive of Liberal/SDP/Liberal Democrat electoral manifestos from 1900–present
- Guardian Unlimited Politics: Liberal Democrats
- Lib Dem Blogs, an aggregator of Liberal Democrat blogs
- Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats / HSLD's page on the party's official website