Skip to main content

The Presidentialization of Party Politics in the UK

  • Chapter
The Presidentialization of Political Parties

Abstract

Although constitutional reforms undertaken since 1997 have created new substate legislative and executive bodies (most notably in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) the UK remains a unitary state, with ultimate political authority and sovereignty continuing to reside in the parliament of the UK at Westminster. This chapter concentrates on the two main relevant parties of UK government in the postwar period, the Conservative Party (CP) and the Labour Party (LP). Given that the Liberal Democrats (LDP) are now a junior partner in the UK coalition government, brief coverage of this party is also offered. Between 1945 and 2010 the Conservatives governed alone for 35 years. Labour governed for the other 30 years, although for a short period (1977–78) they had the support of the small Liberal Party in a parliamentary pact. Until the formation of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition in 2010, at Westminster this was “the only formal deal done between parties” (Norton, 2011, p. 243). The chapter also concentrates on the period from 1990 onwards, and provides a useful starting point, namely the removal from office of Britain’s longest-serving prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. The declining hold of the two-party system is highlighted. Through a (necessarily brief) historical overview of their origins and development, the second section outlines the genetic features of the Conservative and Labour Parties.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2015 Richard Hayton and Timothy Heppell

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Hayton, R., Heppell, T. (2015). The Presidentialization of Party Politics in the UK. In: Passarelli, G. (eds) The Presidentialization of Political Parties. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137482464_8

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics