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). In late 2017, a total of 314 so-called ‘political parties’ were registered with the Electoral Commission. Moreover, an increasing number of voters had cast 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 1.9 million votes, and a vote share of around 6.4 per cent (Kavanagh and Cowley, 2010). By 2015, boosted by almost 4 million votes for UKIP, small parties in Britain polled around 5.4 million votes, equating to a vote share of approximately 18 per cent, by far the best ever performance for non-mainstream parties (Cowley and Kavanagh, 2016: Appendix 2).
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- Beyond The Mainstream
Dr Alistair Clark
- Macmillan Education UK
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