United Kingdom - Political parties

Party descriptions and CMP left-right scores
Party Type 92 97 01 05 10 Average
Con Conservative 27.9 25.7 14.9 14.5 17.5 20.1
Labour Social Democratic -30.4 8.1 5.6 -3.1 -1.5 -4.3
LD Liberal -22.1 -5.9 0.3 3.2 4.7 -4
UKIP Special Issue 35 35
BNP Nationalist
SNP Ethnic-Regional -13 -13 -13 -13
PC Special Issue
SF Communist/Special Issue -8 -8 -8
DUP Ethnic-Regional 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6
SDLP Social Democratic

The table shows the periodical scores on left-right position as given in the Comparative Manifesto Project (Volkens, Andrea, et.al., 2010). The scores range from -100 (left) to +100 (right).

Type: Tentative grouping of political parties and alliances based on information provided in the Comparative Manifesto Project and from party descriptions in Europa World Yearbook, Encyclopædia Britannica and in election reports from the European Journal of Political Research and/or Electoral Studies.

Con - Conservative Party

Founded 1870 as Conservative Central Office. During much of the twentieth century the Conservative (or Tory) Party was known as the "natural party of government", a position in part founded upon the party's reputation for pragmatism and economic competence. Aims to uphold the Crown and the Constitution; to build a sound economy based on freedom and enterprise; to encourage personal responsibility and a wider spread of ownership of property; to look after those most in need; to ensure respect for law and order; to improve educational standards and widen parents’ choice; to strengthen Britain’s defences, maintain its interests and increase its influence abroad. Today, they are also noted for their broadly Eurosceptic stance. The party is the oldest extant political party in the world.

Labour - The Labour Party

Founded in 1900, originally as an alliance of trade unions and socialist organizations. The party is the principal representative of the working class in British politics. It describes itself as "a democratic socialist party", however, under Tony Blair's leadership (beginning in 1994) the party has adopted a number of neo-liberal policies. Aims to achieve a dynamic economy, serving the public interest, with a strong private sector and high quality public services; a just society, with full equality of opportunity; an open democracy, guaranteeing fundamental human rights and governmental accountability and a healthy environment; committed to co-operating with European institutions, the UN, the Commonwealth and other international bodies to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all; also committed to pursuing these aims with trade unions, co-operative societies, voluntary organizations, consumer groups and other representative bodies.

LD - Liberal Democrats

The party was formed in 1988 by the merger of the Liberal Party and the short-lived Social Democratic Party. In the middle ground between the dominant Labour Party and the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats occupy a centre-left, libertarian position.

UKIP - UK Independence Party

Founded 1993. UKIP is a conservative, eurosceptic party which advocates withdrawal from the European Union.

BNP - British National Party

Founded in 1982 as a breakaway faction from the National Front.

SNP - Scottish National Party - (Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba)

The SNP was formed in 1934 from the merger of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party. It is a centre-left, nationalist political party that has sought to make Scotland an independent state within the European Union. The SNP's policy base is, by and large, in the mainstream European social democratic mould. The SNP retains close links with Plaid Cymru.

PC - The Party of Wales - (Plaid Cymru)

Plaid Cymru was founded in 1925. It is a centre-left party in favour of the establishment of an independent Welsh state, as well as the promotion of the Welsh language and its associated culture. Traditionally attracts supporters in the rural Welsh speaking areas.

SF - Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin is most commonly associated with a political party that emerged from a 1970 fissure in the Irish republican movement, also referred to as Provisional Sinn Féin. The party is left wing, republican and nationalist, and this iteration of Sinn Féin is linked to the Provisional IRA. Most of their policies are intended to be implemented on an 'all-Ireland' basis, which further emphasises their central aim of creating a united Ireland. Elected MPs of Sinn Féin practice abstentionism.

DUP - Democratic Unionist Party

Right-wing unionist party of Northern Ireland, which was established in 1971 by Ian Paisley, and Desmond Boal. The party is conservative and opposes the Belfast Agreement. It is the largest political party in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest party in the British House of Commons.

SDLP - The Social Democratic and Labour Party - (Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre)

Formed in the early 1970s SDLP is the smaller of the two major nationalist parties in Northern Ireland. It is a centre-left, social-democratic party.


Political Organizations (United Kingdom). 2009. In Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved October 2009 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/gb-gbn.dir.157

United Kingdom, political parties (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Electoral Studies (Elsevier), election reports on UK.

European Journal of Political Research (European Consortium for Political Research), reports on UK.

Budge, I.; Klingemann, H.-D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Tanenbaum, E., with Fording, R.C.; Hearl, D.J.; Kim, H.M.; McDonald, M. and Mendez, S. (2001). Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, H.D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Budge, I.; McDonald, M. (2006). Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Volkens, Andrea; Lacewell, Onawa; Regel, Sven; Schultze, Henrike; Werner, Annika (2010): The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR), Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB): http://manifesto-project.wzb.eu/