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- This article refers to the British political party. For similarly named parties in other countries, see Liberalism.
The Liberal Democrats, often shortened to Lib Dems, is a political party in the United Kingdom that promotes liberal policies. It was started on 2 March 1988 by joining the Liberal Party, which had been a powerful political party in Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Social Democratic Party, which had been formed from the Labour Party in 1981. The two parties had already been working together for seven years.
The Liberal Democrats are strong supporters of the European Union, as well as environmentalism and they are in favour of creating a new British House of Commons which is elected using proportional representation.
The party has 57 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons, 79 out of 738 seats in the House of Lords, 11 out of 72 British seats in the European Parliament, 16 out of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament and 5 out of 60 seats in the Welsh Assembly. The party is in a coalition government with the Conservative Party and the party leader Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister.
Most Liberal Democrats believe in the following things:
- - Britain should get rid of its type of nuclear weapons.
- - Going to university should not cost students any money.
- - The House of Commons should be elected using proportional representation.
- - There should be elections held for the House of Lords.
- - There should be more forms of renewable energy as well as cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.
- - Same-sex marriage should be legal.
- - Progressive taxation
- Nick Clegg - Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Vince Cable - Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
- Ed Davey - Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
- Michael Moore - Secretary of State for Scotland
- Danny Alexander - Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Elected officials within the party
- Malcolm Bruce - Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
- The Lord McNally - Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords
- Tavish Scott - Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Kirsty Williams - Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Former party leaders
- Paddy Ashdown (July 1988 - August 1999)
- Charles Kennedy (August 1999 - January 2006)
- Menzies Campbell (January 2006 - October 2007)
- Vince Cable (October 2007 - December 2007) *
- Nick Clegg (December 2007 - present)
Asterix (*) means that this person was an interim leader, meaning he was just standing in as leader because the previous leader resigned.
- Liberal Democrats' official website
- Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Welsh Liberal Democrats
- London Assembly Liberal Democrats
- Liberal Democrat History Group
- An archive of Liberal/SDP/Liberal Democrat electoral manifestos from 1900–present
- Guardian Unlimited Politics: Liberal Democrats
- Lib Dem Blogs, an aggregator of Liberal Democrat blogs