Is Britain a Two Party System?

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It is a very poorly worded question, as it directs us down one particular route either a Yes, or a No. Politics isn’t as simple as that as there is more to it than No it isn’t. So the better question I’ll be discussing is to what extent is Britain a Two Party system? One argument to say that it is a Two Party system is that Westminster politics has been dominated by Conservatives and Labour since the 1920s with one party either being the major party of Government whilst the other holds the position of the “official opposition” (in peacetime) with both the parties combined gaining 75% of the vote holding over 90% of the seats at Westminster at the 1992 election typical of many recent elections. Although there has been the rise and fall the third party the now Liberal Democrats in their many forms it has always failed to win the amount of seats required to challenge either of the two parties. It is worth noting that the Liberal Democrats are disadvantaged by the first past the post system (FPTP) as the system means the party can’t turn votes into seats as well as the Labour and Conservative parties. Although in saying that the Lib Dems have managed to make it into Government, although it is questionable how much they have achieved in Government. Also this is more of a blip on the political landscape than a regular occurrence however if the third party can continue with such a high percentage of the vote (23% in 2010;which is only a few percentage points less than labour), it will force similar hung parliament outcomes meaning that a lot of power is held with the third party. This whole idea reinforces the idea of a two- party system as a third party finds it difficult to break through the barrier into proper Government yet it does make it more multi-party than that of the American system with the only real chances being with the Democrats and Republicans. Yet
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