In recent years the debate about party politics in the UK have been broadly discussed for several reasons, some argued that two-party politics in the UK is over and now it have been replaced by multi-party politics; in the other hand some argued that two party politics is not over and it may remain for the next years to come. This essay will discuss “The era of two-party politics in the UK is over.” Do you agree? If you do, what is replacing it: multi-party politics or no-party politics?
Political parties are now complex multilevel organizations, united by a common identity and, sometimes, shared objectives. ‘A party is not a community but a collection of communities, a union of small groups dispersed throughout the country and linked by co-ordinating institutions’ as Duverger described. Now, the question for the twenty-first century is whether we are witnessing a crisis of parties or merely a change in their structure.
Party politics in Britain date from the nineteenth century, and by 1900 systems of organization and electoral competition were well established. A dual system of Conservatives and Liberals was modified in the early twentieth century by the rise of the Labour party and a three-party system existed until about 1931 when the eclipse of the Liberals ushered in a new two-party system. In addition, after 1945 the two parties, Conservative and Labour, totally dominated until the 1970s when the Liberals revived and, in Scotland and Wales, nationalist parties enjoyed a short-lived boom. By the 1980’s two-party politics appeared spent as the Liberals allied to a new party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and gained 25.9 per cent of the Great Britain vote in the 1983 election, only just behind Labour.  So is revealed by history and facts that even when two-party politics remains and they still are a pillar in UK politics they suffer “up and downs” and that basis makes many scholars to believe that the political system is changing into multi-party system. However it does not mean a loss of power by the main parties that rule Britain. Today most of British history over the last 200 years has appeared to be a two-party duopoly Whigs and Tories, then Liberals and Conservatives and more recently Labour and Conservatives. But still a two-party system that appears to sustain. And as a matter of fact most of the seats in the House of Commons (and sometimes nearly all of them) have belonged to the two major parties since 1945. It could be argued, however, that “Britain’s two-party system was in part a product of an electoral system which severely penalizes third parties, particularly those (like the Liberal Democrats) whose support is not concentrated in particular areas”.