The Liberal Democrat Party (‘LibDems’) was formed in 1988 as an amalgamation of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party. Today, however, they see themselves as a continuation of the Liberal Party, thereby laying claim to that Party’s history, going back to 1859. The merger served to boost their election results for a while, culminating in the coalition government of 2010-15 in which the LibDem leader (Nick Clegg) became Deputy Prime Minister along with some other LibDem members of the Cabinet.
However, the LibDems appeared ineffective in this situation and public support quickly faded. The Party has instead achieved much more success at local council level. For example, while their policy on re-entering the E.U. is not a vote-winner in a General Election, concern with potholes on local streets from a Party which is not entangled in everyday Parliamentary squabbles does garner support in local elections.
So whereas the Party had at its peak 18% of the national vote yielding 57 MPs (2010), it currently has around 3,000 local councillors, the third highest, with control of some councils overall. It also tends to do well in by-elections, achieving big swings from both Conservatives and Labour, as these generate focus on local as well as national issues.
(Image of LibDem 2015 campaign bus: Liberal Democrats at Flickr.com / CC BY-ND 2.0)