Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. Eligibility varies by country, the voting-eligible population should not be confused with the total adult population. Age and citizenship status are among the criteria used to determine eligibility, but some countries further restrict eligibility based on sex, race, or religion. After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1980s. In general, low turnout is attributed to indifference, or a sense of futility. According to Stanford University political scientists Adam Bonica and Michael McFaul, there is a consensus among political scientists that "democracies perform better when more people vote."Low turnout is considered to be undesirable. As a result, there have been many efforts to increase voter turnout and encourage participation in the political process. In spite of significant study into the issue, scholars are divided on the reasons for the decline.
Its cause has been attributed to a wide array of economic, cultural and institutional factors. Different countries have different voter turnout rates. For example, turnout in the United States 2012 presidential election was about 55%. In both Belgium, which has obligatory attendance, Malta, which does not, participation reaches about 95%. In Belgium there is obligatory attendance, misinterpreted as compulsory voting The chance of any one vote determining the outcome is low; some studies show that a single vote in a voting scheme such as the Electoral College in the United States has an lower chance of determining the outcome. Other studies claim that the Electoral College increases voting power. Studies using game theory, which takes into account the ability of voters to interact, have found that the expected turnout for any large election should be zero; the basic formula for determining whether someone will vote, on the questionable assumption that people act rationally, is P B + D > C, where P is the probability that an individual's vote will affect the outcome of an election, B is the perceived benefit that would be received if that person's favored political party or candidate were elected, D stood for democracy or civic duty, but today represents any social or personal gratification an individual gets from voting, C is the time and financial cost involved in voting.
Since P is zero in most elections, PB is near zero, D is thus the most important element in motivating people to vote. For a person to vote, these factors must outweigh C. Experimental political science has found that when P is greater than zero, this term has no effect on voter turnout. Enos and Fowler conducted a field experiment that exploits the rare opportunity of a tied election for major political office. Informing citizens that the special election to break the tie will be close has little mobilizing effect on voter turnout. Riker and Ordeshook developed the modern understanding of D, they listed five major forms of gratification that people receive for voting: complying with the social obligation to vote. Other political scientists have since added other motivators and questioned some of Riker and Ordeshook's assumptions. All of these concepts are inherently imprecise, making it difficult to discover why people choose to vote. Several scholars have considered the possibility that B includes not only a personal interest in the outcome, but a concern for the welfare of others in the society.
In particular, experiments in which subject altruism was measured using a dictator game showed that concern for the well-being of others is a major factor in predicting turnout and political participation. Note that this motivation is distinct from D, because voters must think others benefit from the outcome of the election, not their act of voting in and of itself. There are philosophical and practical reasons that some people cite for not voting in electoral politics. Robert LeFevre, Francis Tandy, John Pugsley, Frank Chodorov, George H. Smith, Carl Watner, Wendy McElroy, Lysander Spooner are some moderately well-known authors who have written about these reasons. High voter turnout is considered to be desirable, though among political scientists and economists specializing in public choice, the issue is still debated. A high turnout is seen as evidence of the legitimacy of the current system. Dictators have fabricated high turnouts in showcase elections for this purpose. For instance, Saddam Hussein's 2002 plebiscite was claimed to have had 100% participation.
Opposition parties sometimes boycott votes they feel are unfair or illegitimate, or if the election is for a government, considered illegitimate. For example, the Holy See instructed Italian Catholics to boycott national elections for several decades after the creation of the state of Italy. In some countries, there are threats of violence against those who vote, such as during the 2005 Iraq elections, an example of voter suppression. However, some political scientists question the view that high turnout is an implicit endorsement of the system. Mark
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors; the Conservative Party was founded in 1834 from the Tory Party—the Conservatives' colloquial name is "Tories"—and was one of two dominant political parties in the nineteenth century, along with the Liberal Party. Under Benjamin Disraeli it played a preeminent role in politics at the height of the British Empire. In 1912, the Liberal Unionist Party merged with the party to form the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the 1920s, the Labour Party surpassed the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rivals. Conservative Prime Ministers — notably Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher — led governments for 57 years of the twentieth century.
Positioned on the centre-right of British politics, the Conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Different factions have dominated the party at different times, including One Nation Conservatives and liberal conservatives, while its views and policies have changed throughout its history; the party has adopted liberal economic policies—favouring free market economics, limiting state regulation, pursuing privatisation—although in the past has supported protectionism. The party is British unionist, opposing both Irish reunification and Welsh and Scottish independence, supported the maintenance of the British Empire; the party includes those with differing views on the European Union, with Eurosceptic and pro-European wings. In foreign policy, it is for a strong national defence; the Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe and sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Gibraltan branches of the party are semi-autonomous.
Its support base consists of middle-class voters in rural areas of England, its domination of British politics throughout the twentieth century has led to it being referred to as one of the most successful political parties in the Western world. The Conservative Party was founded in the 1830s. However, some writers trace its origins to the reign of Charles II in the 1670s Exclusion Crisis. Other historians point to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s, they were known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites" and never used terms such as "Tory" or "Conservative". Pitt died in 1806. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was used for a new party that, according to historian Robert Blake, "are the ancestors of Conservatism". Blake adds that Pitt's successors after 1812 "were not in any sense standard-bearer's of true Toryism"; the term "Conservative" was suggested as a title for the party by a magazine article by J. Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review in 1830.
The name caught on and was adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto; the term "Conservative Party" rather than Tory was the dominant usage by 1845. The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886, the party formed an alliance with Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. Young Winston Churchill denounced Chamberlain's attack on free trade, helped organize the opposition inside the Unionist/Conservative Party.
Balfour, as party leader, followed Chamberlain's policy introduced protectionist legislation. The high tariff element called itself "Tariff Reformers" and in a major speech in Manchester on May 13, 1904, Churchill warned their takeover of the Unionist/Conservative party would permanently brand it as: A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable confederation. Two weeks Churchill crossed the floor and formally joined the Liberal Party. )He rejoined the Conservatives in 1925.) In December, Balfour lost control of his party, as the defections multiplied. He was replaced by Liberal Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman who called an election in January 1906, which produced a massive Liberal victory with a gain of 214 seats. Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith enacted a great deal of reform legislation, but the Unionists worked hard at grassroots organizing. Two general elections were held in one in January and one in December; the two main parties were now dead equal in seats.
The Unionists had more popular votes but the Liberals kept control with a coalition with the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Liberal Unionis
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights; the Labour Party was founded in 1900, having grown out of the trade union movement and socialist parties of the nineteenth century. It overtook the Liberal Party to become the main opposition to the Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming two minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in the 1920s and early 1930s. Labour served in the wartime coalition of 1940-1945, after which Clement Attlee's Labour government established the National Health Service and expanded the welfare state from 1945 to 1951. Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, Labour again governed from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1979. In the 1990s Tony Blair took Labour closer to the centre as part of his "New Labour" project, which governed the UK under Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010.
After Corbyn took over in 2015, the party has moved leftward. Labour is the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having won the second-largest number of seats in the 2017 general election; the Labour Party is the largest party in the Welsh Assembly, forming the main party in the current Welsh government. The party is the third largest in the Scottish Parliament. Labour is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Progressive Alliance, holds observer status in the Socialist International, sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament; the party includes semi-autonomous Scottish and Welsh branches and supports the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland. As of 2017, Labour had the largest membership of any party in Western Europe; the Labour Party originated in the late 19th century, meeting the demand for a new political party to represent the interests and needs of the urban working class, a demographic which had increased in number, many of whom only gained suffrage with the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1884.
Some members of the trades union movement became interested in moving into the political field, after further extensions of the voting franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time, with the intention of linking the movement to political policies. Among these were the Independent Labour Party, the intellectual and middle-class Fabian Society, the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and the Scottish Labour Party. At the 1895 general election, the Independent Labour Party put up 28 candidates but won only 44,325 votes. Keir Hardie, the leader of the party, believed that to obtain success in parliamentary elections, it would be necessary to join with other left-wing groups. Hardie's roots as a lay preacher contributed to an ethos in the party which led to the comment by 1950s General Secretary Morgan Phillips that "Socialism in Britain owed more to Methodism than Marx".
In 1899, a Doncaster member of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Thomas R. Steels, proposed in his union branch that the Trade Union Congress call a special conference to bring together all left-wing organisations and form them into a single body that would sponsor Parliamentary candidates; the motion was passed at all stages by the TUC, the proposed conference was held at the Memorial Hall on Farringdon Street on 26 and 27 February 1900. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of working-class and left-wing organisations—trades unions represented about one third of the membership of the TUC delegates. After a debate, the 129 delegates passed Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." This created an association called the Labour Representation Committee, meant to co-ordinate attempts to support MPs sponsored by trade unions and represent the working-class population.
It had no single leader, in the absence of one, the Independent Labour Party nominee Ramsay MacDonald was elected as Secretary. He had the difficult task of keeping the various strands of opinions in the LRC united; the October 1900 "Khaki election" came too soon for the new party to campaign effectively. Only 15 candidatures were sponsored. Support for the LRC was boosted by the 1901 Taff Vale Case, a dispute between strikers and a railway company that ended with the union being ordered to pay £23,000 damages for a strike; the judgement made strikes illegal since employers could recoup the cost of lost business from the unions. The apparent acquiescence of the Conservative Government of Arthur Balfour to industrial and business interests intensified support for the LRC against a government that appeared to have little concern for the industrial proletariat and its problems. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats—helped by a secret 1903 pact between Ramsay MacDonald and Liberal Chief Whip Herbert Gladstone that aimed to avoid splitting the opposition vote between Labour and Liberal candidates in the interest of removing the Conservatives from office.
In their first meeting after the election the group's Members of Parliament decided to adop
Green Party of England and Wales
The Green Party of England and Wales is a green, left-wing political party in England and Wales. Headquartered in London, since September 2018, its co-leaders are Jonathan Bartley; the Green Party has one representative in the House of Commons, one in the House of Lords, three in the European Parliament. In addition, it has various councillors in UK local government and two members of the London Assembly; the party's ideology combines environmentalism with left-wing economic policies, including well-funded, locally controlled public services within the confines of a steady state economy, it supports proportional representation. It takes a progressive approach to social policies such as civil liberties, animal rights, LGBT rights and drug policy reform; the party believes in nonviolence, basic income, a living wage, democratic participation. The party comprises various regional divisions, including the semi-autonomous Wales Green Party. Internationally, the party is affiliated to the European Green Party.
The Green Party of England and Wales was established in 1990 alongside the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party in Northern Ireland through the division of the pre-existing Green Party, a group, established as the PEOPLE Party in 1973. Experiencing centralising reforms spearheaded by the Green 2000 group in the early 1990s, the party sought to emphasise growth in local governance, doing so throughout the 1990s. In 2010, the party gained its first MP in former leader Caroline Lucas, who represents the constituency of Brighton Pavilion; the Green Party of England and Wales has its origins in the PEOPLE Party, founded in Coventry, Warwickshire, in February 1972. PEOPLE was renamed The Ecology Party in 1975, in 1985 changed again to the Green Party. In 1989 the party's Scottish branch split to establish the independent Scottish Green Party, with an independent Green Party in Northern Ireland developing shortly after, leaving those branches in England and Wales to form their own party; the Green Party of England and Wales is registered with the Electoral Commission as the Green Party.
In the 1989 European Parliament elections, the Green Party of England and Wales polled 15% of the vote with 2.3 million votes, the best performance of a Green party in a nationwide election. This gave it the third largest share of the vote after the Conservative and Labour parties, although because of the first-past-the-post voting system it failed to gain a Member of the European Parliament; this success has been attributed to both the increased respectability of environmentalism and the effects of the development boom in southern England in the late 1980s. Seeking to capitalise on the Greens' success in the EP elections, a group named Green 2000 was established in July 1990, arguing for an internal reorganisation of the party in order to develop it into an effective electoral force capable of securing seats in the House of Commons, its proposed reforms included a more centralised structure, the replacement of the existing party council with a smaller party executive, the establishment of delegate voting at party conferences.
Many party members opposed the reforms, believing that they would undermine the internal party democracy, amid the arguments various key members resigned or were dismissed from the Greens. Although Green 2000 proposals were defeated at the party's 1990 conference, they were overwhelmingly carried at their 1991 conference, resulting in an internal restructuring of the party. Between the end of 1990 and mid-1992, the party lost over half its members, with those polled indicating that frustration over a lack of clear and effective party leadership was a major reason in their decision; the party fielded more candidates than it had done before in the 1992 general election but was deemed to have performed poorly. In 1993, the party adopted its "Basis for Renewal" program in an attempt to bring together conflicting factions and thus save the party from bankruptcy and potential demise; the party sought to escape their reputation as an environmentalist single-issue party by placing greater emphasis on social policies.
Recognising their poor performance in the 1992 national elections, the party decided to focus on gaining support in local elections, targeting wards where there was a pre-existing support base of Green activists. In 1993, future party leader and MP Lucas gained a seat on Oxfordshire County Council, with other gains following in the 1995 and 1996 local elections; the Greens sought to build alliances with other parties in the hope of gaining representation at the parliamentary level. In Wales, the Greens endorsed Plaid Cymru candidate Cynog Dafis in the 1992 general election, having worked with him on a number of environmental initiatives. For the 1997 general election, the Ceredigion branch of the Greens endorsed Dafis as a joint Plaid Cymru/Green candidate, but this generated controversy with the party, with critics believing it improper to build an alliance with a party that did not share all of the Greens' views. In April 1995 the Green National Executive ruled that the party should withdraw from this alliance due to ideological differences.
As the Labour Party shifted to the political centre under the leadership of Tony Blair and his New Labour project, the Greens sought to gain the support of the party's dissafected leftists. During the 1999 European Parliament elections, the first to be held in the UK using proportional representation, the Greens gained their first Members of the European Parliament and Jean Lambert. At the inaugural London Assembly Elections in 2000, the party gained 11% of the vote and returned three Assembly Members, althoug
Kingston upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames known as Kingston, is an area of southwest London, England, 10 miles southwest of Charing Cross. It is the administrative centre of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, identified as a major metropolitan centre in the London Plan. Kingston is about 33 feet above sea level, it is notable as the ancient market town. Kingston was part of a large ancient parish in the county of Surrey and the town was an ancient borough, reformed in 1835. Since 1965 Kingston has been a part of Greater London, it has been the location of Surrey County Hall from 1893, extraterritorially in terms of local government administration. Most of the town centre is part of the KT1 postcode area, but some areas north of Kingston railway station have the postcode KT2 instead; the 2011 Census recorded the population of the town itself, comprising the four wards of Canbury, Grove and Tudor, as 43,013. Kingston was called Cyninges tun in AD 838, Chingestune in 1086, Kingeston in 1164, Kyngeston super Tamisiam in 1321 and Kingestowne upon Thames in 1589.
The name means ` the king's manor or estate' from the Old English words tun. It was the earliest royal borough; the first surviving record of Kingston is from AD 838 as the site of a meeting between King Egbert of Wessex and Ceolnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury. Kingston lay on the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia, until in the early tenth century when King Athelstan united both to create the kingdom of England; because of the town's symbolic location, several tenth-century kings were crowned in Kingston, Æthelstan in 925, Eadred in 946 and Æthelred in 978. Other kings who may have been crowned there are Edward the Elder in 902, Edmund in 939, Eadwig in 956, Edgar in about 960 and Edward the Martyr in 975, it was thought that the coronations were conducted in the chapel of St Mary, which collapsed in 1730, a large stone recovered from the ruins has been regarded since the 18th century as the Coronation Stone. It was used as a mounting block, but in 1850 it was moved to a more dignified place in the market before being moved to its current location in the grounds of the guildhall.
For much of the 20th century, Kingston was a major military aircraft manufacturing centre specialising in fighter aircraft – first with Sopwith Aviation, H G Hawker Engineering Hawker Aircraft, Hawker Siddeley and British Aerospace. The renowned Sopwith Camel, Hawker Fury, Hurricane and Harrier were all designed and built in the town and examples of all of these aircraft can be seen today at the nearby Brooklands Museum in Weybridge. Well known aviation personalities Sydney Camm, Harry Hawker and Tommy Sopwith were responsible for much of Kingston's achievements in aviation. British Aerospace closed its Lower Ham Road factory in 1992; the growth and development of Kingston Polytechnic and its transformation into Kingston University has made Kingston a university town. Kingston upon Thames formed an ancient parish in the Kingston hundred of Surrey; the parish of Kingston upon Thames covered a large area including Hook, New Malden, Richmond, Thames Ditton and East Molesey. The town of Kingston was granted a charter by King John in 1200, but the oldest one to survive is from 1208 and this document is housed in the town's archives.
Other charters were issued by kings, including Edward IV's charter that gave the town the status of a borough in 1481. The borough covered a much smaller area than the ancient parish, although as new parishes were split off the borough and parish became identical in 1894; the borough was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, becoming the Municipal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. It had been known as a Royal borough through custom and the right to the title was confirmed by George V in 1927. Kingston upon Thames has been the seat of Surrey County Council since it moved from Newington in 1893. In 1965 the local government of Greater London was reorganised and the municipal borough was abolished, its former area was merged with that of the Municipal Borough of Surbiton and the Municipal Borough of Malden and Coombe, to form the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames. At the request of Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council another Royal Charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth II entitling it to continue using the title "Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames" for the new borough.
Kingston was built at the first crossing point of the Thames upstream from London Bridge and a bridge still exists at the same site. It was this ` great bridge'. Kingston was occupied by the Romans, it was either a royal residence or a royal demesne. There is a record of a council held there in 838, at which Egbert of Wessex, King of Wessex, his son Ethelwulf of Wessex were present. In the Domesday Book it was held by William the Conqueror, its domesday assets were: a church, five mills, four fisheries worth 10s, 27 ploughs, 40 acres of meadow, woodland worth six hogs. It rendered £31 10s. In 1730 the chapel containing the royal effigies collapsed, burying the sexton, digging a grave, the sexton's daughter and another person; the daughter was her father's successor as sexton. Kingston sent members to early Parliaments, until a petition by the inhabitants prayed to be relieved from the burden. Another chapel, the collegiate chapel of St Mary Magdalene, The Lovekyn Chapel, still exists, it was founded in 1309 by a former mayor of London, Ed
Christian Peoples Alliance
The Christian Peoples Alliance, CPA is a Christian democratic political party in the United Kingdom. The party was founded in its present form in 1999, having grown out of a cross-party advocacy group called the Movement for Christian Democracy; the first leader of the party was Ram Gidoomal. Alan Craig took over from him in 2004 and resigned in 2012, he was replaced by Sidney Cordle, the current leader. The roots of the party can be traced back to a movement founded in 1991 by Christians — both Protestants and Catholics — known as the Movement for Christian Democracy, it was founded in Westminster at a rally which drew an attendance of 2,000 people, with the motivation of providing an answer to increasing secularism. The three founding members were David Alton, Derek Enright and Ken Hargreaves, who were Members of Parliament representing the Liberal and Conservative parties respectively. While the tradition of Christian democracy parties was well established in many other parts of Europe, it was not introduced into Britain until the MCD movement of the 1990s.
The movement existed as a cross-party advocacy group of sorts and although there were rumours in the media of it becoming a fledged political party it never materialised. However, out of the movement its chairman, Dr Alan Storkey, vice-chairman, David Campanale, led an internal consultation of MCD members that led to the formation of the Christian Peoples Alliance by leading MCD activists in 1999. Elements of proportional representation at local government level, brought about after the devolution of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, saw the party gain confidence. By 2000, Ram Gidoomal had become leader of the party, a businessman and banker, appointed a CBE, he is a Briton of Asian background. Gidoomal stood for election for the London mayoral election, 2000. Gaining 98,549 votes at the first attempt, the party surprised some, finishing fifth, ahead of the Greens in first preference votes; the campaign was committed to winning more jobs for Londoners, leading to The Times claiming, based on multiple choice results from a website run by New Statesman: "if Londoners elected a mayor purely on how his or her policies match the electors' views the winner would be Ram Gidoomal".
In November 2000, a candidate supported by the Christian Peoples Alliance stood at the Preston by-election, finishing seventh. Following on from this, the party continued its activities in London in such as deprived working class areas like Canning Town in the London Borough of Newham; the Mayflower Declaration laid out the party's policies. It was at Canning Town in 2002 that Alan Craig became the first Christian Democrat elected in Britain, as a member of the local Newham council; the party voiced its opposition to the prospect of the Iraq War, deeming it "illegal and immoral" — a position by which it has stood. After the London mayoral election, 2004, Gidoomal stepped down as party leader to be succeeded by Craig; the party stood members for the 2005 general election with little success, yet a "blind candidating" contest run by BBC's Newsnight programme placed the party manifesto policies second. The party had more success in 2006. In the following year, the party had two members elected at parish council level for Aston cum Aughton in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham.
In the same year, it gained encouragement from Scottish Catholic bishops Keith O'Brien and Philip Tartaglia for its social stances, including marriage, rights for unborn children and supporting the Church in the adoption debate. The party defended the Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali after comments made in the media regarding Islam; the CPA campaigned against the building of Abbey Mills Mosque in West Ham, planned by an alleged radical sect, the party stated it was an "unwanted landmark" and would undermine community cohesion. More than 255,000 British people supported the stance in a petition on the Downing Street website; as part of a party pact with the Christian Party, Craig stood for the London mayoral election in 2008 as "The Christian Choice", gaining 3% of the vote. This was followed with 249,493 votes at 1.6 % of the total. Craig resigned as leader in October 2012 and joined the UK Independence Party. Annual accounts submitted to the Electoral Commission show an income of £11,000 for 2013.
Since 2007, the party has been affiliated to the European Christian Political Movement, an association of Christian Democrat parties, think tanks and politicians across Europe. The party has campaigned on a range of issues, winning success in 2000 when it organised a petition against government plans to require Asian visitors to the UK to place a £10,000'bond'. In 2000 and 2004 in London, it put inner-city regeneration and fighting discrimination as its top policy priorities, its policies to cut energy-use and road congestion through a motorway coach-network won acceptance at government level. Its policies in support of marriage and church schools have become popular currency among secular parties; the CPA has opposed the reclassification of cannabis, When Craig became leader he introduced policies in favour of linking Christianity to the European Union Constitution, building more church schools and supporting traditional Christian morality. He has led campaigns backing the UNISON steward at Newham Council who faced disciplinary action.
Craig has campaigned against proposals to demolish parts of Queen Street Market in favour of "non-invasiv
Liberal Democrats (UK)
The Liberal Democrats are a liberal political party in the United Kingdom. They have 11 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, 96 members of the House of Lords, one member 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 formed a coalition government with the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2015 with its leader Nick Clegg serving as Deputy Prime Minister, it is led by Sir Vince Cable. In 1981, an electoral alliance was established between the Liberal Party, a group, the direct descendent of the 18th-century Whigs, the Social Democratic Party, a splinter group from the Labour Party. In 1988 this alliance was formalised as the Liberal Democrats. Under the leadership of Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, the party grew during the 1990s and 2000s, focusing its campaigning 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 a coalition government headed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, with Clegg serving as Deputy Prime Minister.
The coalition damaged the Liberal Democrats' electoral prospects: the party was reduced from 57 to 8 seats at the 2015 election. Positioned in the centre ground of British politics, the Liberal Democrats are ideologically liberal. Emphasising stronger protections for civil liberties, the party promotes liberal approaches to issues like LGBT rights, education policy, criminal justice. Different factions take different approaches to economic issues; the party is pro-Europeanist, supporting continued UK membership of the European Union and greater European integration. It calls for electoral reform with a transition from the first-past-the-post voting system to one of proportional representation. Other policies have included further environmental protections and drug liberalisation laws, while it has opposed certain UK military engagements like the Iraq War; the party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and Liberal International. The Liberal Democrats are strongest in northern Scotland, southwest London, southwest England, mid-Wales.
The Liberal Democrats were formed on 3 March 1988 by a merger between the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party, which had formed a pact nearly seven years earlier as the SDP–Liberal Alliance. The Liberal Party, founded in 1859, were descended from the Whigs and Peelites, while the SDP were a party created in 1981 by former Labour Party members, MPs and cabinet ministers, but gained defections from the Conservative Party. Having declined to third party status after the rise of the Labour Party from 1918 and during the 1920s, the Liberals were challenged for this position in the 1980s when a group of Labour MPs broke away and established the Social Democratic Party; the SDP and the Liberals realised that there was no space for two political parties of the centre and entered into the SDP–Liberal Alliance so that they would not stand against each other in elections. The Alliance was led by Roy Jenkins; the two parties had their own policies and emphases, but produced a joint manifesto for the 1983 and 1987 general elections.
Following disappointing results in the 1987 election, Steel proposed to merge the two parties. Although opposed by Owen, it was supported by a majority of members of both parties, they formally merged in March 1988, with Steel and Robert Maclennan as joint interim leaders; the new party was named Social and Liberal Democrats with the unofficial short form The Democrats being used from September 1988. The name was subsequently changed to Liberal Democrats in October 1989, shortened to Lib Dems; the new party logo, the Bird of Liberty, was adopted in 1989. The minority of the SDP who rejected the merger remained under Owen's leadership in a rump SDP. Michael Meadowcroft joined the Liberal Democrats in 2007 but some of his former followers continue still as the Liberal Party, most notably in a couple of electoral wards of the cities of Liverpool and Peterborough; the then-serving Liberal MP Paddy Ashdown was elected leader in July 1988. At the 1989 European Elections, the party received only 6% of the vote, putting them in fourth place after the Green Party.
They failed to gain a single Member of the European Parliament at this election. Over the next three years, the party recovered under Ashdown's leadership, they performed better at the 1990 local elections and in by-elections—including at Eastbourne in 1990 which saw the first success by a Liberal Democrat standing for parliament. They had further successes in Ribble Valley and Kincardine & Deeside in 1991; the Lib Dems did not reach the share of national votes in the 1990s that the Alliance had achieved in the 1980s. At their first election in 1992, they won 17.8 % of twenty seats. In the 1994 European Elections, the party gained its first two Members of European Parliament. Following the election of Tony Blair as Labour leader in July 1994 after the death of his predecessor John Smith, Ashdown pursued co-operation between the two parties becaus