There are many established UK political parties. However, their views on many issues range, and have ranged internally for many years. This blog post will highlight the policies of the major UK political parties.
UK Political Parties: An Overview
There are hundreds of political parties registered in the UK. However, only a few stand for election across several constituencies. Many of these only stand in specific regions, whilst others stand in every constituency.
Their views differ on issues including the economy, immigration, foreign policy, and other issues.
The Conservative Party
Following in the footsteps of conservatism, the Conservative Party is one of the largest UK political parties. Their policies include low taxation to increase competition in the market. They support a meritocracy, a system in which those best suited to lead should lead.
As with conservatism, the Conservative Party believe that humans are flawed and can make bad decisions. Therefore, they support law and order, and increased spending on the police and the power of the justice system.
In recent years, the Conservatives have supported Brexit, opposed a second Scottish independence referendum, supported a roll out of universal credit, and supported the construction of the HS2 rail line.
The Labour Party
Another of the biggest UK political parties, the Labour Party has historically aligned more with socialism. It has historically supported policies in touch with the working class. Its current leader, Keir Starmer, looks to find middle ground between social democracy and the Third Way.
In an article published in September 2021, Starmer said he would “build an effective partnership of state and private sector to prioritise the things that we have seen really matter: health, living conditions, working conditions and the environment.” Thus, the historical support of nationalisation by Labour has been left in the dust.
This is in stark contrast to policies supported at the last general election, which included nationalised internet and railways, an increase to the minimum wage, scrapping university tuition fees and reducing the voting age to 16.
The Liberal Democrats
The Social Democratic Party merged with the Liberal Party in 1988. The Liberal Democrats experienced their first time in power in 2010 as part of the historic coalition. Their support has since dwindled, however their policies still remain popular with many voters today.
Subscribing to the ideas of liberalism, their underlying principles are of individual freedom and the power of the free market.
Their most notable policy in recent years was opposing Brexit, something they would cancel if they won the 2019 general election. However, they only picked up 12 out of 650 seats. Other policies included £130bn investment in infrastructure, replacing First Past the Post with a more proportional system, and introducing a legal and regulated cannabis market.
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party are the most successful of the regional UK political parties, holding 48 out of 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons. Their main policy is to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. They merge the ideas of socialism and liberalism.
They also pledge to end austerity and give additional powers to the devolved Scottish government. They have also criticised the Conservative government’s rollout of universal credit, labelling it as ‘fundamentally flawed’.
Reform UK are one of the newest of the UK political parties. Formerly called the Brexit Party, it looks to reform large parts of the UK’s economic and social aspects. These include introducing proportional representation to Westminster elections, reducing taxation and introducing ‘smart regulation’. They also pledge to fight “woke nonsense”, instead focusing police resources on fighting violent criminals.
Find out more about the UK political parties
You can find out more about the policies of major and minor UK political parties as part of our Summary Grids. Available with a Study Politics membership, you can access all of our A Level Politics resources in one place.