Conservative Party (UK)

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Conservative and Unionist Party
Image:Conservative logo 2006.JPG
Leader David Cameron
Founded 1830
Headquarters 25 Victoria Street
London, SW1H 0DL
Political Ideology Conservatism, Unionism, Neoliberalism
Political Position Centre-Right
International Affiliation International Democrat Union
European Affiliation Movement for European Reform, European Democrat Union
European Parliament Group ED, within EPP-ED
Colours Blue
Website www.conservatives.com
See also Politics of the UK

Political parties
Elections

The Conservative Party (officially the Conservative & Unionist Party) is currently the second largest political party in the United Kingdom in terms of sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), and the largest in terms of public membership. It is also the most successful political party in history in terms of election victories[citation needed]. The current leader is David Cameron, who as Leader of the Opposition heads the Shadow Cabinet. The party's political stance is traditionally centre right.

The Conservative Party is descended from the Tory Party of the eighteenth and nineteenth Centuries. Its members are still commonly referred to as Tories and the party is still often referred to as the Tory Party.

Though the Conservatives were in government for two-thirds of the twentieth century and were often referred to as the 'natural party of government', they have been in opposition in Parliament since losing the 1997 election to the Labour Party under Tony Blair.

Contents

[edit] Name

The Party's official, though infrequently used, name is The Conservative and Unionist Party. This originates from the 1912 merger with the Liberal Unionist Party, and is an echo of the party's policy (1886-1921) of maintaining the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, in opposition to Irish nationalist and republican aspirations. Scotland's Unionist Party was independent of the Conservatives until 1965. Similarly the Ulster Unionist Party supported the Conservatives for many decades in the House of Commons and traditionally took the Conservative whip post. However, and in contrast to Scotland, this arrangement broke down in the aftermath of the Sunningdale Agreement in 1972. The Conservative Party is now formally organised in Northern Ireland, separately from the Ulster Unionist Party.

[edit] Organisation

The internal organisation of the Conservative Party is a contrast between the grassroots constituency groups who dominate in the election of party leaders and the members of the Conservative Central Office who lead in financing, the organisation of elections, and drafting of policy. The leader of the Parliamentary party provides the core of daily political activity and forms policy in consultation with his cabinet and administration. This decentralised structure is an unorthodox one; in the legal case of Conservative and Unionist Central Office v Burrell (Inspector of Taxes) [1982] 1 WLR 522, the Court of Appeal in effect ruled that there was no such organisation as the Conservative and Unionist Party in law. [1]

As with Labour, party membership has long been declining. Yet with the sharp fall in Labour party membership in the last ten years and a recent rise in Conservative party membership after the election of David Cameron as leader, the Conservatives have more members (around 300,000) than the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats combined (around 200,000 and 70,000 respectively). The party however does not publicly provide verifiable membership figures and this makes the claim difficult to confirm.

According to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission it had income in the year ending 31 December 2004 of about £20 million and expenditure of about £26 million (see [2]).

The electoral symbol of the Conservative party is a stylised oak tree, replacing the former freedom torch. The present motto, adopted by the Party on 6 December 2005, is "Change to Win – Win for Britain". The official party colours are red, white and blue, though blue is most generally associated with the party -- in contrast to the red of the Labour Party. [In the Cumbrian constituencies of Penrith and the Border and Westmorland and Lonsdale the party adopts yellow as its colour after the coat of arms of the Earls of Lonsdale].

[edit] History

The Conservative Party traces its origins back to the "Tories" who supported the Duke of York (later King James VII&II) during the exclusion crises of 1671-1681. The Tories more often than not formed the government from the accession of King George III (in 1760) until the Great Reform Act of 1832. George Canning first used the term 'Conservative' in the 1820s and it was suggested as a title for the party by John Wilson Croker in the 1830s, and was later officially adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel.

The widening of the franchise in the nineteenth century forced the party to popularise—some would say vulgarise—its approach under Lord Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own Reform Act in 1867. After 1886, the Conservatives allied with Liberal Unionists and under the statesmen Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour held power for all but three of the following twenty years. The party suffered a landslide election defeat in 1906 when it split over tariff reform.

The Conservatives served with the Liberals in the all-party coalition government during World War I, and the coalition stayed together under Liberal PM David Lloyd George (with half of the Liberals) until 1922. Eventually, internal pressure forced the breakup of the Coalition, and the Conservatives came again to dominate the political scene in the inter-war period, albeit from 1931 in a 'National Government' coalition. It was this wartime coalition government under the leadership of Winston Churchill that saw the UK through World War II. However, the party lost the 1945 general election in a landslide to the resurgent Labour Party.

Upon their election victory in the 1951 general election, the Conservatives accepted the reality of Labour's 'welfare state' and its industry nationalisation programme, even though Churchill, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home continued to promote relatively liberal trade regulations and less State involvement through the economic boom of the 1950s.

Edward Heath's 1970-1974 government was most noted for its attempt and failure in battling the increasingly militant trade unions, and its "success" in taking Britain into the European Economic Community; Macmillan's earlier bid to join the EC in early 1963 had been blocked by French President Charles de Gaulle. As an example of the Conservative's divided stance on the issue, Churchill argued strongly for a 'United States of Europe' (See [3]), although he was against British membership of any federal European state and specifically the EEC [4]). Since accession, British membership in the EU has been significantly and heatedly debated over the decades by succeeding Conservative party leaders.

Margaret Thatcher won her party's leadership election in 1975. Following victory in the 1979 general election, the Conservatives pursued a monetarist economic programme. More generally, the party adopted a free-market approach to government and focussed on the privatisation of public utilities. Here, from the free-market Conservative viewpoint, the party experienced a political high point as Thatcher led the Conservatives to two landslide election victories in 1983 and 1987. However, she was also deeply unpopular in certain sections of society, in part due to the high unemployment caused by her economic reforms and also for what was seen as a heavy-handed response to issues such as the Miners' strike. Yet it was Thatcher's introduction of the Community Charge, known by its opponents as the poll tax, which contributed to her political downfall. Her increasing unpopularity and unwillingness to compromise on policies perceived as vote losers allowed internal party tensions over European policy to lead to her standing down from the premiership in 1990.

[edit] Conservatives after Thatcher

John Major won the ensuing leadership contest in 1990, and also won an unexpected election victory in his own right in 1992. Major's government experienced only a brief honeymoon as the pound sterling was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism on 16 September 1992, a day thereafter referred to as "Black Wednesday". Soon after, approximately one million householders faced repossession of their homes during a recession that saw a sharp rise in unemployment. The party subsequently lost much of its reputation for good financial stewardship despite the ensuing economic recovery, and was also increasingly accused in the media of sleaze. An effective opposition campaign by the Labour Party led to a landslide defeat in 1997. It was Labour's largest ever parliamentary victory.

William Hague, leader of the party from 1997 to 2001, portrayed himself at first as a 'moderniser' with a common touch. However by the time of the 2001 general election, he had changed focus to concentrate on declaring that only the Conservative Party could "Save the Pound". Though a strong debater in the House of Commons, he was still seen by some as a political lightweight and by many voters as "a bit of a wally"[5]. He was widely mocked for his claim that he drank 14 pints (approximately 8 litres) of beer in a day in his youth. He also received ridicule for attending the Notting Hill Carnival and regularly wearing a baseball cap in public, in what were seen as poor attempts to appeal to young and ethnic minority voters. [6] Shortly before the 2001 election, he became mired in controversy over a speech in which he accused Labour of turning Britain into a "foreign land", after which critics within his party accused him of pandering to bigots [7]; similar attacks were leveled at Hague over his refusal to sack Conservative MP John Townend, after the latter made a speech in which he termed the British "a mongrel race"[8]. The 2001 election resulted in a net gain of just one seat for the Conservative Party and William Hague resigned soon after (he had privately set himself a target of 209 seats, Labour's performance in 1983, a target which he missed by 43).

Iain Duncan Smith (2001-2003) (often known as IDS) was a strong Eurosceptic. But Euroscepticism did not define Duncan Smith's leadership—indeed it was during his tenure that Europe ceased to be an issue of division in the party as it united behind calls for a referendum on the proposed European Union Constitution. However, before ever facing the public at a general election, Duncan Smith lost a vote of no confidence by MPs who felt he was unelectable. Michael Howard, Member of Parliament (MP) for Folkestone and Hythe, then stood for the leadership unopposed on 6 November 2003.

Under Howard, in the 2005 general election, the Conservative Party increased their total vote share by around 0.6% (up to 32.3%) and—more significantly—gained a net of 33 parliament seats. This was caused by a combination of a large fall in the Labour vote and tactical unwind by Liberal Democrat voters (many of whom were no longer willing to back the Labour Party in marginal seats). This helped reduce the Labour majority from 167 to 66; the Conservative party actually won the largest share of the vote in England. The day after the election, on May 6, Howard announced that he did not feel it was right to continue as leader because of the defeat in the general election, also saying that he would be too old to lead the party into another election campaign and would therefore step down, while first allowing time for the party to amend its leadership election rules.

Further information: Conservative Party (UK) leadership election, 2005

[edit] David Cameron

David Cameron won the subsequent leadership campaign. Cameron beat his closest rival, David Davis, by a margin of more than two to one, taking 134,446 votes to 64,398, and announced his intention to reform and realign the Conservative Party in a manner similar to that achieved by the Labour Party in opposition under Tony Blair. Recent British opinion polls often put Cameron ahead in terms of personal attractiveness over both Prime Minister Tony Blair or Blair's most likely successor Gordon Brown, but find him lacking in political substance and trustworthiness. [citation needed]

[edit] The Conservative Party today

The Conservative Party, as the largest in the British Parliament after the Labour Party, provides the Official Opposition to the Labour Government of Tony Blair. Labour currently holds a majority of 66 in a House of Commons of 353 Members of Parliament. The Conservatives now stand 198 MPs.

[edit] Current policies

Conservatives are generally supportive of reduced government intervention in most matters. Today, they are also noted for their broadly Eurosceptic stance. Many commentators believe that their failures in UK politics from 1997 were partly as a result of continued internal tension between Europhiles (such as Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine) and Eurosceptics (such as John Redwood and William Hague). However, the Conservative party has in recent years largely come to terms with these issues, or has at least ceased to argue quite as publicly over what remains a contentious internal issue.

Since the election of David Cameron as leader, debate has increasingly focused on the environment, the improvement of government services such as the National Health Service (NHS), and schools, and other "quality of life" issues. This has drawn fire from other parties and some sections of the media who perceive this change of focus to be merely cosmetic in nature. Cameron has also spoken of recognising that there is 'more to life than money', and of the need to help the disadvantaged by 'building a stronger society'.

Conservatives hold a varying record of opposition and support on parliamentary devolution to the national and English regions of the UK. They opposed devolution to Wales and Scotland in 1999, whilst supporting it for Northern Ireland. They also did not support the unsuccessful attempt at devolution of power to North East England in 2004. However, since the New Labour government introduced devolution, the Conservatives have pledged not to reverse the situation to its pre-1997 status. Recently the Conservatives have begun to take a stance on the West Lothian Question, and support the idea that only English MPs should vote on policies which affect only England. The current devolution status quo allows House of Commons MPs in Scottish constituencies to vote on matters which only affect England, but does not allow Commons English MPs to vote on matters affecting Scotland, since the new Scottish Parliament controls almost all legislation affecting Scotland alone. [9]

[edit] Economic policy

During much of the twentieth century the Conservative Party was known as the "natural party of government", a position in part founded upon the party's reputation for pragmatism and economic competence. But the party's reputation for economic stewardship was dealt a blow by Black Wednesday in 1992, in which billions of pounds were spent in a futile effort to keep the pound within the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) system at an overvalued rate. Combined with the recession of the early 1990s 'Black Wednesday' allowed Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to claim from the Conservatives the mantle of economic competence. Many on both the left and right have since argued that New Labour's embrace of market forces and public sector modernisation amounted to little more than stealing the Conservative Party's economic clothes.

Though Thatcher's reforms of the 1980s broke Britain's cycle of long-term decline, even while substantially increasing unemployment, the Conservatives have yet to regain their reputation for economic competence since Black Wednesday. Recent Conservative election campaigns have focused much more on the low-salience social or cultural issues of crime, the EU and immigration. The party has now pledged to match Labour spending plans. This is a reversal of their position in 1997.

Following the 1997 general election, the Conservative Party opposed Labour's flagship policy for economic stability: the decision to grant the Bank of England independent control of interest rates. Economists had long advocated independent central banks as a means of depoliticising monetary policy and overcoming the problem of time inconsistency (a situation in game theory which shows how a policymaker who cares about both low unemployment and low inflation will achieve neither). Moreover, in the 1990s a number of countries (e.g. New Zealand) pursued such reforms to great effect. However, the Conservatives initially opposed independence for the Bank of England on the grounds that it would be a prelude to the abolition of the pound and membership in the European single currency, and also expressed concern over the removal of monetary policy from democratic control. In the end the popularity of this move amongst economists and the financial community, along with its success at keeping down inflation, has led the Conservatives to accept Labour's policy.

The Conservative Party under David Cameron has redirected its stance on taxation, still committed to the general principle of reducing direct taxation whilst arguing that the country needs a "dynamic and competitive economy", with the proceeds of any growth shared between both "tax reduction and extra public investment".

Perhaps the most notable Conservative economic policy of recent years has been opposition to the European single currency. Anticipating the growing Euroscepticism within his party, John Major negotiated a British opt-out from the single currency in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, although several members of Major's cabinet (Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and Stephen Dorrell) were personally supportive of EMU participation. Following Major's resignation after the 1997 defeat, each of the four successive Conservative leaders (William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron) have come from the Eurosceptic wing of British politics, and these men have positioned the party firmly against future EMU integration. This policy is broadly popular with the British electorate, although voters typically rank Europe as an issue of low importance compared to education, healthcare, immigration and crime. This may partly explain why the Conservatives were not unable to convert their most popular policy into election victories between 1997 and 2005.[citation needed]

[edit] Social policy

Image:ScarboroughConservativeClub.jpg
Scarborough Conservative Club.

In recent years, 'modernisers' in the party have claimed that the perceived historical association between social conservatism and the Conservatives (manifest in policies such as tax incentives for married couples, the removal of the link between pensions and earnings, and criticism of public financial support for those who do not work) have played a role in the electoral decline of the party in the 1990s and early 2000s. For example, David Willetts has criticised what he termed "the war on single parents", whilst former Conservative Party Chairman Brian Mawhinney observed that the party had "created the impression that if you weren't in a traditional nuclear family, then we weren't interested in you". Since 1997 a debate has continued within the party between 'modernisers' such as Michael Portillo, who believe that the Conservatives should modify their public stances on social issues, and 'traditionalists' such as William Hague and David Davis, who believe that the party should remain faithful to its traditional conservative platform. This resulted in William Hague's and Michael Howard's pre-election swings to the right in 2001 and 2005, as well as the election of the stop-Kenneth Clarke candidate Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. Theresa May famously remarked that the result of all this was that the Conservatives were perceived as "the nasty party". Since the election of Cameron the 'modernisers' appear to have been given more of a voice on social policy.

The 2005 election saw the first black Conservative MP, Adam Afriyie, elected in Windsor.

Changes in official Conservative Party attitudes on certain issues have not been universally welcomed. The prominent conservative journalist Peter Hitchens has described them as "useless", for what he sees as their persistent acquiescence to prevailing liberal (and Labour) orthodoxy. He has also been critic of David Cameron.[10]

[edit] Foreign policy

For much of the twentieth century the Conservative party has taken a broadly Atlanticist stance in relations with the United States, favouring close ties with the United States and similarly aligned nations such as Canada, Australia and Japan. The Conservatives have generally favoured a diverse range of international alliances, ranging from North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the Commonwealth of Nations.

Close US-British relations have been an element of Conservative foreign policy since World War II. Winston Churchill during his 1951-1955 post-war premiership built up a strong relationship with the Eisenhower Administration in the United States. Harold Macmillan demonstrated a similarly close relationship with the Democratic administration of J.F. Kennedy. Though the US-British relationship in foreign affairs has often been termed a 'Special Relationship', a term coined by Winston Churchill, this has often been observed most clearly where leaders in each country are of a similar political stripe. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher built a close relationship with American President Ronald Reagan in his opposition to the former Soviet Union, but John Major was largely unsuccessful in his personal contacts with former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Out of power and perceived as largely irrelevant by American politicians, Conservative leaders Hague, Duncan-Smith, and Howard each struggled to forge personal relationships with US Presidents.

David Cameron has recently sought to distance himself from George W. Bush and his neoconservative foreign policy, and has called for a "rebalancing" of US-UK ties [11]. Potential Republican 2008 presidential candidate John McCain spoke at the 2006 Conservative Party Conference [12].

[edit] On the European Union

No subject has more divided the Conservative Party in recent history than the UK's relations with the European Union (EU). Though the principal architect of Britain’s entry into the then-Common Market (later European Community and European Union) was Conservative PM Edward Heath, and both Winston Churchill and Harold MacMillan favoured some form of European union, the bulk of contemporary Conservative opinion is opposed to closer economic and particularly political union with the EU. Divisions on Europe came to the fore under the premiership of John Major (1990-1997) when the slow process of integration within the EU forced party tensions to the surface. A core of Eurosceptic Members of Parliament took advantage of the small Conservative majority in Parliament to oppose Government policy on the Maastricht Treaty. By doing so they undermined the Major's ability to govern.

In recent years the Conservative Party has become more clearly Eurosceptic, as the Labour Government has found itself unable to make a positive case for further integration and as Eurosceptic or pro-withdrawal parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party have made strong showings in UK elections to the European Parliament. David Cameron and William Hague) have stated their intention to renegotiate portions of key EU treaties and return a number of powers back to the UK; opinion polls regularly identify Conservative policy on Europe as more popular with the public than that of either the Labour or Liberal Democrat parties. Under current EU law, the degree to which a Conservative Government could implement policy change regarding the EU would depend directly on the willingness of other EU member states to agree to such policies.

The Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and its European Democrat Union. In the summer of 2006 the Conservatives became founding members of the Movement for European Reform, following Cameron's pledge to end the fourteen-year-old partnership between the largely Eurosceptic Tories and the more Euro-integrationist, Christian Democratic European Peoples Party (EPP). Within the European Parliament, however, the Tories remain members of an informal bloc called the European Democrats (ED), which is committed to sit in a coalition arrangement with the EPP as the EPP-ED group until 2009.

Beyond relations with the United States, the Commonwealth and the EU, the Conservative Party has generally supported a pro free-trade foreign policy within the mainstream of international affairs. The degree to which Conservative Governments have supported interventionist or non-interventionist Presidents in the US has often varied with the personal relations between a US President and the British Prime Minister.

[edit] Internal factions

There are three main political factions within the modern Conservative Party:

One Nation Conservatives were the dominant faction in the twentieth Century until the 1970s, providing Conservative Prime Ministers such as Stanley Baldwin, Harold MacMillan and Edward Heath. The name itself comes from a famous phrase of Benjamin Disraeli. The basis of One-Nation Conservatism is a belief in social cohesion, and its adherents support social institutions that maintain harmony between people of different interest groups, classes, and -- more recently -- people of different races or religions. These institutions have typically included the welfare state, the BBC, and local government. Some are also supporters of the European Union, perhaps stemming from an extension of the cohesion principle to the international level, though others are strongly against the EU (such as Sir Peter Tapsell). Prominent One-Nation Conservatives in the contemporary party include Kenneth Clarke, Malcolm Rifkind and Damian Green; they are often associated with the Tory Reform Group. The intellectual basis of One Nation Conservatism can be found in the work of Edmund Burke and his emphasis on social institutions ("little platoons") as the foundations of society, as well as his opposition to radical politics of all hues.

The second main faction in the Conservative party is the free market, or Thatcherite wing. This wing achieved dominance after the election of Margaret Thatcher as party leader in 1975. The Thatcherite political goal mainly concerns reducing the role of the government in the economy, and to this end they support cuts in direct taxation, the privatisation of public services and a reduction in the size of the welfare state. Matters of social policy are not so clear cut. Although Thatcher herself was socially conservative and a practising Methodist, her supporters harbour a range of social opinions from the libertarian views of Michael Portillo to the traditional conservatism of William Hague and David Davis. Many Thatcherites are also Eurosceptic, since they view many European regulations as unwelcome interference in the free market and a threat to British sovereignty (rare Thatcherite Europhiles include Leon Brittan and Quentin Davies). Many take inspiration from Thatcher's famous anti-EU Bruges speech in 1988, in which she declared that "we have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level". Thatcherites also tend to be Atlanticist, dating back to the close friendship between Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher herself claimed philosophical inspiration from the works of Burke and Friedrich Hayek, especially the latter's defence of free-market capitalism.

The Faith, Flag and Family or Cornerstone Group is the third main faction within the Conservative Party. The name stems from its support for three British social institutions: the Church of England, the unitary British state and the family. To this end, they emphasise England's Anglican heritage, oppose any transfer of power away from the United Kingdom -- either downwards to the nations and regions or upwards to the European Union -- and seek to place greater emphasis on "traditional" family structures to repair what they see as a broken society in Britain. Most oppose high levels of immigration into the UK, and some members have in the past professed controversial opinions on issues of race and ethnicity in modern Britain[13] [14]. Some members also support capital punishment. Prominent MPs from this wing of the party include Andrew Rosindell, Anne Widdecombe and Edward Leigh—himself a prominent Roman Catholic, notable in a faction marked out by its support for the established Church of England. Alan Duncan once referred to this wing as a "Taliban tendency" within the party. The conservative English philosopher Roger Scruton represents the intellectual wing of the Cornerstone group: his writings rarely touch on economics and instead concentrate on providing conservative perspectives on political, social, cultural and moral issues.

Sometimes two factions have united to oppose the third. Thatcherite and Cornerstone MPs rebelled over Europe (and in particular Maastricht) during John Major's premiership; and Cornerstone and One Nation MPs united to inflict Margaret Thatcher's only defeat in parliament, over Sunday trading.

Not all Conservative MPs can be easily placed within one of the above groupings. For example, John Major was the ostensibly "Thatcherite" candidate during the 1990 leadership election, but he consistently promoted One-Nation Conservatives to the higher reaches of his cabinet during his time as Prime Minister. These included Kenneth Clarke as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Michael Heseltine as Deputy Prime Minister.

[edit] Associated groups

Further information: List of organisations associated with the British Conservative Party

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

  • Geoffrey Wheatcroft (2005), The Strange Death of Tory England

[edit] External links

[edit] Official party sites

[edit] Internal party policy groups

[edit] Other


Political parties in the United Kingdom
Represented in the House of Commons (646) :

Labour (354) | Conservatives (198) | Liberal Democrats (63) | DUP (9) | SNP (6) | Sinn Féin (0#) | Plaid Cymru (3) | SDLP (3) | Ind KHHC (1) | Independent (1) | Independent Labour (1) | Respect (1) | UUP (1)

Represented in the House of Lords (741) :

Labour (213) | Conservatives (210) | Cross-bencher (196) | Liberal Democrats (79) | Greens (E&W) (1) | Bishops (26) | Non affiliated (13) | Conservative Independent (1) | Independent Labour (1) | Independent (1)

Represented in the Scottish Parliament (129):

Labour (50) | SNP (27) | Conservative and Unionists (17) | Liberal Democrats (17) | Scottish Greens (7) | SSP (4) | Solidarity (2) | SSCUP (1) | Independent (5)

Represented in the National Assembly for Wales (60):

Labour (29) | Plaid Cymru (12) | Conservatives (11) | Liberal Democrats (6) | Forward Wales (1) | Independent (1)

Represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly (108) [Suspended]

DUP (32) | UUP (24) | Sinn Féin (24) | SDLP (18) | Alliance (6) | PUP (1) | UKUP (1) | Independent (2)

Represented in the London Assembly (25):

Conservatives (9) | Labour (7) | Liberal Democrats (5) | Greens (E&W) (2) | One London (2)

Represented in the European Parliament (72 out of 732):

Conservatives (ED, 26) | Labour (PES, 19) | Liberal Democrats (ELDR, 12) | UKIP (ID, 10) | Greens (E&W) (EGP, 2) | SNP (EFA, 2) | DUP (ED, 1) | Plaid Cymru (EFA, 1) | Sinn Féin (EUL, 2) | UUP (ED, 1) | Independent (NA, 2)

Notes #Sinn Féin have six elected members, but as abstentionist have no representation
Sinn Féin's second seat is held in the Republic of Ireland
Minor parties:

BNP | Socialist Labour | Liberal | English Democrats

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Conservative Party (UK)

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