Backgrounder: Major British political parties in May 6 election

16:36, May 05, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The party system has been an important part of British politics since the 18th century. The following is an introduction to the three major political parties participating in Britain's May 6 general election.

Labour Party

The Labour Party is the ruling party, and its current leader is Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Established in 1900 and formerly known as the Labour Representation Committee, the party changed to its current name in 1906. It was the ruling party from 1945-1951, 1964-1970 and 1974-1979.

With its "New Labour, New Britain" slogan, the party won the 1997 election, and was reelected in May 2001 and May 2005. In recent years, the party has been favoring middle-class issues and has somewhat alienated itself from the trade unions.

Under the new slogan of "New Labour, New Britain," the old objective to establish public ownership was removed from the party charter.

Its domestic agenda now includes less government intervention in the economy, strict control of public expenditure and maintaining macroeconomic stability.

Externally, it advocates active participation in international cooperation and regards maintaining good relations with the EU and the United States as the two pillars of British foreign policy.

It advocates that Britain should join the eurozone only when conditions are ripe, and that the country should delay a referendum on a EU constitution treaty.

The Labour Party was the largest political party in Britain in 2001 with nearly 400,000 members. However, many quit the party after the Labour government led by Tony Blair helped the United States launch the Iraq war in 2003. As of 2004, party membership dropped to about 250,000.

【1】 【2】


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 26, a resident passes by a flower terrace decorated for the coming National Day. (Xinhua/Hang Xingwei)
  • The photo, taken on Sept. 26, shows the SWAT team ready for the joint exercise. (Xinhua/Wangkai)
  • Two metro trains in Shanghai collided Tuesday afternoon, and an identified number of passengers were injured in the accident, the Shanghai-based reported. Equipment failures were believed to have caused the crash on the Line 10 subway, Xinhua quoted local subway operator as saying.
  • An employee at a gold store in Yiwu, located in east China's Zhejiang province, shows gold jewelry on Monday.(Xinhua/Zhang Jiancheng)
  • Tourists ride camels near China's largest desert lake Hongjiannao in Yulin, north China's Shaanx Province, Sept. 24, 2011. Hongjiannao is shrinking as a result of climate change and human activities, and may vanish in a few decades. Its lake area, which measured more than 6,700 hectares in 1996, has shrunk to 4,180 hectares. Its water level is declining by 20-30 centimeters annually and its water PH value has risen to 9.0-9.42 from 7.4-7.8. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)
  • Actors perform royal dance at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Sept. 27, 2011. A ceremony commemorating the 38th South Korea Sightseeing Day was held in Gyeongbok Palace on Tuesday. (Xinhua/He Lulu)
Hot Forum Discussion