The general election of 2017 saw Labour and the Conservatives win well over 80% of the popular vote and just under 90% of the seats in the House of Commons. Andreas Whittam Smith (2017), hedging his bets, proclaimed: ‘After three decades of splintering, two-party politics is back – sort of.’ Indeed, traditionally Britain was uncontroversially described as having a two-party system. Over the past 200 years, a two-party ‘duopoly’ has appeared to be the norm: first Whigs and Tories, then Liberals and Conservatives, and from the 1920s onwards Labour and Conservatives.
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