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The Electoral Geography of British Political Parties

Britain has moved from a two party system in 1951, when Churchill offered to absorb the Liberals into the Conservative Party as they were so weak, to a complicated multi-party system.

Parties are also now required to register before they can stand in elections and there are controls on the amount that can be spent in the national general election campaign and regulations about where funds come from (though election spending was always limited in Britain, especially compared with the US, and controlled at the constituency level – the Conservatives won the marginal seat of Ayr in 1987 spending £300 on the campaign, whereas Rockefeller running for Senator in West Virginia bought every boy in the state a baseball)

There have been significant changes in the electoral geography of party support.

These have occurred for three reasons:-

1. Changes in social patterns because of social mobility and because of movements of population</p

2. Changes in the extent to which parties are able to appeal to different groups of the population

3. New parties competing against the established parties in a constituency