Newspapers and TV focus heavily on just two political parties ~ Conservative and Labour ~ but there are currently almost four hundred registered parties in the UK. These are regulated by the Electoral Commission, which assesses applications, checks annual accounts and monitors compliance with the law.
The application process is quite easy. A group of like-minded people must choose a unique name and logo for their party; write a constitution, procedures and policies; produce a financial plan; choose in which parts of the UK to stand; submit headquarters details; appoint a leader and other officials; sign a commitment to stand in at least one election; and pay the £150 application fee. It is then for the Electoral Commission to decide whether to grant registration.
Once a party has ceased being active, it must de-register. Nearly a thousand such parties are on the Commission’s website, dating only from 1999. The oldest political party in the UK was the Whig party, founded in 1678 and disbanded in 1868, and the newest, at the time of writing, is called Londependence (make London an independent state), which almost certainly stands no chance of matching the Whigs’ longevity.
(Image: MariSmithPix at pixabay.com)