Although small parties have not historically been seen as significant actors in the UK, recent years have been marked by a rise in the number of small parties both seeking election and winning office at various levels (Copus et al., 2009; Rasmussen, 1991). In early 2011, a total of 382 so-called ‘political parties’ were registered with the Electoral Commission. Moreover, an increasing number of voters are casting a vote for such minor parties. In the 2005 general election, minor party candidates, excluding the Nationalist parties, secured over one and a quarter million votes in Britain, a 4.6 per cent vote share which represented an increase of 1.5 per cent on 2001 (Butler and Kavanagh, 2002; Kavanagh and Butler, 2005). In 2010, this continued to rise, small parties achieving almost 1.9m votes, and a vote share of around 6.4 per cent (Kavanagh and Cowley, 2010). Small parties often achieve more spectacular results outside Westminster elections. In the 2007 and 2008 English local elections, small parties and non-partisan candidates achieved around 10 per cent of the vote and in 2009 votes for non-mainstream candidates increased to around 18 per cent. In the 2009 European Parliament elections, small parties received around 6 million votes; a 39.8 per cent vote share and an increase of around 6 per cent on the previous 2004 European elections.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- Beyond the Mainstream
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number