Liberal Democrats

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Group.png Liberal Democrats  
(Political party)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Liberal Democrats.png
Predecessor• UK/Liberal Party
• UK/Social Democratic Party
Formation3 March 1988
LeaderLiberal Democrats/Leader
SubpageLiberal Democrats/Leader
Liberal Democrats/Trade Spokesperson
Liberal Democrats/Treasury Spokesperson

The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems), originally founded as the Social and Liberals Democrats, are a liberal political party in the United Kingdom. The Lib Dems are currently led by Vince Cable and have 11 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, 96 members of the House of Lords, 16 members of the European Parliament, five Members of the Scottish Parliament and one member in the Welsh Assembly and London Assembly. At the height of its influence, the party served as junior partners in a coalition government with the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2015.


In 1981, an electoral alliance was established between the UK Liberal Party, a group which was the direct descendent of the 18th-century Whigs, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a splinter group from the Labour Party. In 1988, the parties merged as the Social and Liberal Democrats, adopting their present name a year later. Under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown and then Charles Kennedy, the party grew during the 1990s and 2000s, focusing its campaigns on specific seats and becoming the third largest party in the House of Commons. Under its leader Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats were junior partners in David Cameron's Conservative-led coalition government; Clegg served as UK Deputy Prime Minister. The coalition damaged the Liberal Democrats' electoral prospects: the party was reduced from 57 to 8 seats at the UK/2015 General Election.[1]


Positioned in the centre ground of British politics, the Liberal Democrats are ideologically liberal. The party calls for constitutional reform, including a transition from the first-past-the-post voting system to proportional representation. Emphasising stronger protections for civil liberties, the party promotes socially liberal approaches to issues like LGBT rights, education policy and criminal justice. Different factions take different approaches to economic issues as a classical liberal faction promotes greater economic liberalism while others endorse a social market economy. The party is pro-Europeanist, supporting continued UK membership of the European Union and greater European integration; it previously called for adoption of the Euro currency. Other policies have included further environmental protections and drug liberalisation laws while it has also opposed certain UK military engagements like the 2003 Iraq War.

The party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and Liberal International. The Liberal Democrats are historically strongest in northern Scotland, southwest London, southwest England and mid-Wales.[2]


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  1. "Election results: Nick Clegg resigns after Lib Dem losses". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css has no content.
  2. "SDP and Liberal Democrats"
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