The UK's Many Political Parties Explained
The United Kingdom has over ten parties in Parliament. So what are Britain's political parties and what do they stand for?
The recent Brexit vote and its aftermath have brought the various political parties of the United Kingdom to the attention of the wider world. The extent to which Britain's political parties cooperate, or not, will determine the country's future. What do these parties stand for, anyway?
Jules Suzdaltsev wades into U.K. political waters for today's Seeker Daily report.
Like the United States, the U.K. has two major political parties that tend to share and alternate power. The largest party by vote is the Conservative Party -- technically the Conservative and Unionist Party -- led by prime minister David Cameron.
The Conservatives, Britain's right-leaning party, received around 37 percent of the vote in the 2015 general election. The party generally endorses moderate economic principles and Euroskepticism, or opposition to the European Union.
The next largest party, with about 30 percent of the vote in the last election, is the left-leaning Labour Party. Headed by Jeremy Corbin, Labour promote workers' rights and the kind of democratic socialism principles found in Nordic countries.
Unlike the U.S., however, Britain has a dozen or so minor political parties that influence public policy and hold seats in the parliamentary body known as the House of Commons.
For instance, Labour is allied with the center-left Co-operative Party, which holds 25 seats in Parliament. The ascendant U.K. Independence Party -- which led the "Leave" campaign in the Brexit vote -- promotes anti-immigration and free market platforms. On the other side of the political spectrum, the progressive Liberal Democrats support government safety nets for housing and medical care.
Other political groups in the U.K. include various green parties focused on environmental policy, and groups dedicated to Scottish or Irish independence. The Brexit vote has triggered a massive shake-up in U.K. politics and some foresee the imminent demise of the two-party dominance of Conservative and Labour.
Britannica: Conservative Party
Britannica: Labour Party
Liberal Democrats: About