How the British Political Parties and the Party System has Evolved the Last 100 Years

How the British Political Parties and the Party System has Evolved the Last 100 Years


Great Britain has started using the party system within their politics for the last hundred years only and prior to that, they use to follow the system of Kingship and Hierarchy. With the passage of time and increasing awareness among the English people, they started understanding democracy and the significance of managing a state in a democratic manner and since then, political parties have been ruling the states as the public representatives and are selected through public elections and votes. Kingship is still a part of UK’s dynasty and the king and queen do exist but they have limited powers and are liable to the democratic head at the end of the day (Lee, 2005). Therefore, a hundred years is also not a very small period and the British party system has majorly evolved during this entire period. This short essay aims at outlining the overall history of the evolution of the British party system within a period of hundred years in a brief manner.

Looking back into the eighteenth century, the use of terms like Whig and Tory represented a little understanding and learning of politics but there seemed to appear no specified divisions of sections of parliament and no traces of any political party or organization were found. It was later in the nineteenth century during which the reforms were introduced and the modern system of political parties was actually initiated. Since then, party system of British parliament based of the fact that there should be minimum two parties competing each other within the House of Commons, having an adequate amount of followers under them so that an alternative government can be formed by them whenever needed (Butler, 2016). For the purpose of selecting the ruling party, general elections are conducted and the party with majority votes is then posed as the government of Britain for the upcoming tenure of four years while the minority party is posed as the opposition ready to form an alternative government whenever required.

The majorly represented political parties within Great Britain over the period have been the Conservative Party, the Labor Party, and the Liberal Democrats. The4re have been several other parties as well that continued to emerge and collapse over a period of hundred years in British political history but the above-mentioned groups remained prominent as well as permanent since the beginning. The Fascists party also earned a little significance back then but they disappeared soon after World War II and the British Communist party have also given up on electing candidates for the parliament since 1950 (La Palombara, 2015).

After the occurrence of World War I, Labor party did replace the Liberal party that used to be a strong and prominent force throughout the early nineteenth century while being an official opposition party to the conservative party’s government and rule. Labor party, in the beginning, was just a collaboration of different socialist groups and trade unions until 1918 and later it turned out to be a strong political party with the collaboration of various other trade unions, branches of socialist societies, cooperative societies, and trade councils, etc. This party came up with the objectives of human development, the betterment of social and economic conditions within the state, protection of human rights as well as the resolution of international disputes, etc. All of these aims and objectives attracted the population majorly in the time of crises and human deterioration as the world was fully enveloped with continuous wars and the waste of human lives. In this manner, the labor party was able to form two short-terms labor governments during the period of World War I but remained a minority party. Later, they formed a coalition with Churchill’s government during World War II. They came back in power during 1945 with massive support and majority votes and fulfilled all of their aims and objectives in an effective manner (Rosenbaum, 2016).

Since then, the Labor party continued to rule over Britain for the maximum tenures and their performance as a government kept on increasing and becoming more effective through the period. There were few years during this period when the conservative party took over like in 1951 but their unsatisfactory performances kept putting them at a decline. It would have been a continuous and glorified rule of Labor party over Britain only if the Liberal Democrats would not have intervened after 1979. They took over a lot of the votes of Labor party and created a clear chance for the Conservative party to win the rule until they revived back in 1997 with a massive win against both the conservative party and the liberal democrats. The Labor party has been in power since then and is effectively managing all the governmental affairs as well as is keeping the population satisfied with their performances (Thorpe, 2005).

To be short and condensed, British party system has faced a range of ups and downs over the entire period of hundred years under observation and the exchange of power from one party to other and vice-versa depicts that the population of Britain have been highly active and have taken significant decisions as well as majorly contributed to the democratic procession within their state. The rule of Britain has mainly resided with the Labor party most of the time which depicts that people over here highly believe in the aims and objectives of human development, betterment and growth of societies, and continuous evolution of their nation on all the cultural, social and economic basis. Hence, the intellectual and highly integral setting of governments from the labor party and their continuously improving performances in the betterment and growth of the United Kingdom have rightly impressed their people and supports their claim of being the best political party within the state of United Kingdom as well as in comparison to the political parties in other nations. Therefore, the current progress and development of Great Britain is highly associated with the trend of the political party system and democracy and specifically with the efforts of the labor party while being in the government.


Butler, D., 2016. Twentieth-century British political facts, 1900-2000. s.l.:Springer.

La Palombara, J. a. W. M., 2015. Political Parties and Political Development.(SPD-6).. s.l.:Princeton University Press..

Lee, S., 2005. Aspects of British political history 1914-1995.. s.l.:Routledge..

Rosenbaum, M., 2016. From soapbox to soundbite: party political campaigning in Britain since 1945.. s.l.:Springer..

Thorpe, A., 2005. A history of the British Labour Party.. s.l.:Palgrave..