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The Liberal Democrats, often shortened to Lib Dems, is a centrist 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 18 out of 650 seats in the House of Commons, 105 out of 793 seats in the House of Lords, 16 out of 73 British seats in the European Parliament, 5 out of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament and 1 out of 60 seats in the Welsh Assembly. The party was in a coalition government with the Conservative Party and the former party leader Nick Clegg was the Deputy Prime Minister until the May 2015 general election.
Most Liberal Democrats believe in the following things:
- 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.
- The United Kingdom should stay in the European Union.
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 – May 2015)
- Tim Farron (July 2015 – June 2017)
- Vince Cable (July 2017 – July 2019)
- Jo Swinson (July 2019 – December 2019)
Asterisk (*) means that this person was an interim leader, meaning he was just standing in as leader because the previous leader resigned.
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- Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics [2 volumes]: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 343. . https://books.google.com/books?id=LmfAPmwE6YYC&pg=PA343. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Brexit". 17 April 2018. https://www.libdems.org.uk/europe.
- Elgot, Jessica (28 May 2017). "Tim Farron: Lib Dems' pro-European strategy will be proved right". https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/28/tim-farron-liberal-democrat-pro-european-strategy-proved-right.
- Mark Kesselman; Joel Krieger; William A. Joseph (2018). Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas. Cengage Learning. p. 71. . https://books.google.com/books?id=zA9EDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA71. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- "Britain's anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats name Jo Swinson as new leader". Reuters. 22 July 2019. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-liberaldemocrats/britains-anti-brexit-liberal-democrats-name-jo-swinson-as-new-leader-idUKKCN1UH1TK. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- "Centrism Panel". https://www.oxford-union.org/node/1982.
- Warry, Richard (15 May 2017). "Guide to the parties: Liberal Democrats". BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39852084. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- "Lib Dems aim for centrist voters with tax platform". https://www.ft.com/content/b586117c-e889-11e5-9fca-fb0f946fd1f0. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- Daddow, Oliver; Jones, Bill; Norton, Philip (2018). "Chapter 5 – Political ideas: the major parties". Politics UK (9th ed.). Routledge. . https://books.google.nl/books?id=XGRRDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT181&dq=Lib+Dems+%22left+of+centre%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiG4cPAopnmAhXRKFAKHTArAlYQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Lib%20Dems%20%22left%20of%20centre%22&f=false.
- Alistair Clark (2012). Political Parties in the UK. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 86–93. . https://books.google.com/books?id=NsAcBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA86. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Sister Parties". https://www.libdems.org.uk/sister_parties. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Style guide". Liberal Democrats. 23 March 2017. https://www.libdems.org.uk/styleguide. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "Archived copy". https://www.libdems.org.uk/.
- "Lords by party and type of peerage". UK Parliament. August 2014. http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords/composition-of-the-lords/.
- "Open Council Data UK – compositions councillors parties wards elections". Open Council Data. http://www.opencouncildata.co.uk/index.php. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Current State of the Parties – UK Parliament. Retrieved on 13 May 2015.
- 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