Liberal Democrats (British political party)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
Save to active project

Liberal Democrats (British political party)

Liberal Democrats, British political party created in 1988 by the merger of the Liberal party with the Social Democratic party; the party was initially called the Social and Liberal Democratic party. The Social Democratic party, which was formed in 1981 by politically centrist members of the Labour party, joined with the Liberals in 1981 in an electoral alliance, and in 1983 they won 23 seats in the House of Commons. In 1987 the alliance won 22 seats, and the next year the parties merged. In the 2001 and 2005 parliamentary elections the Liberal Democrats won 52 and 62 seats respectively. The 2005 result was the largest number won by the group since the predecessor Liberals gained 158 seats in 1924. Although the party lost several seats in the 2010 elections (despite increasing its overall share of the vote), it entered the government in coalition with the Conservatives, who had secured only a plurality. Nonetheless, the party remains something of a minor party in British politics, its centrist position threatened by Tony Blair's movement of the Labour party away from socialist positions in the 1990s and David Cameron's moderation of the Conservative party in the 2000s. Its ability to win seats also has been hampered by Britain's lack of proportional representation. Although the party secured a referendum on an alternative voting method through its participation in a coalition with the Conservatives, voters rejected the proposal in 2011. Nick Clegg has been party leader since Dec., 2007.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Liberal Democrats (British political party)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?