UK – EU Parliamentary Elections

Political Background The UK long backed European integration in theory, but has always been less certain about involvement itself. Winston Churchill backed a United States of Europe, but when the European Coal and Steel Community was started his successor as PM, Clement Attlee described it as made of “Six countries, four of which we had […]

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). For most of Northern Ireland’s political history it has been dominated by the UUP. Formerly a branch of the Conservative Party, the UUP still most closely resembles the British Conservatives ideologically, with an ideology that is more economically and socially liberal than the harder line DUP. The party ran in electoral […]

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP is Northern Ireland’s dominant unionist party. The party emerged from non-conformist Protestantism in the early 1970s, as The Troubles were starting. For most of its history it has been led by Reverend Iain Paisley who founded the radical Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. The party is perhaps the most […]

Sinn Fein (lit. ‘We Ourselves’)

Sinn Fein (lit. ‘We Ourselves’). Sinn Fein is the only political party in the European Parliament to have a presence in two member states, as the party campaigns across Ireland, as part of its insistence that Ireland remains is or should be one country. Sinn Fein is a party name which echoes throughout 20th century Irish history. […]

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Scottish National Party (SNP). The SNP is a Scottish separatist party. The party won a majority of seats in the Scottish parliament in 2011 and hence forms the Scottish government. The party traditionally tried to avoid questions of left and right, but moved clearly to the left in the early 80s. In recent years it […]

Green Party

Green Party. Technically the UK does not have one Green Party, but three (with separate Green Parties in Northern Ireland and Scotland). Nonetheless the three cooperate quite closely. The only party with seats in the European Parliament is the English and Welsh Greens however. The Greens are fairly weak in the UK due to Britain’s […]

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems technically only date from 1988, but are the representative of one of Britain’s oldest traditions. For much of its history the Liberals, who predated the Lib Dems, were the predominant opposition to the Conservatives. The Liberals were surpassed by Labour in the early 1920s and then slowly collapsed as they […]

Labour Party

Labour Party. The Labour Party is Britain’s dominant centre-left political force. Founded in 1900 out of the trade union movement, to which it has a formal link to this day. The party is responsible for building much of the British welfare state and especially Britain’s universal healthcare system, the NHS. The party has traditionally relied […]